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From The Socialist newspaper, 9 June 2021

London workers prepare to fight Khan's transport cuts

photo Petr Kratochvil/CC

photo Petr Kratochvil/CC   (Click to enlarge)

Berkay Kartav, London Socialist Party

The Tory government and Transport for London (TfL) have reached a new agreement to implement more savage cuts to the jobs, pay, and terms and conditions of TfL workers, in return for a further 1.08 billion bailout. This deal secures funding only until late 2021, and more attacks on the workforce will be on the horizon in seven months' time.

Outrageously, on top of the cuts already announced during the pandemic as part of a previous bailout, the new funding deal will lead to an additional 900 million worth of cuts this year alone.

In addition to imposing a pay freeze on workers employed directly by TfL, by next March TfL will make proposals to slash transport workers' pensions, which could mean higher pension contributions by workers and a higher retirement age.

Another condition for the financial package is implementing a plan for TfL to begin operating driverless trains on London Underground, starting with the Piccadilly and Waterloo & City lines. This is yet another attack on the militant workforce.

The transport union RMT is preparing to ballot its members and take industrial action to defend their jobs, pay, pensions and working conditions against the attacks launched by the Tories and accepted by Labour mayor Sadiq Khan, who also serves as TfL chair. Coordinated trade union action is vital to immediately counter these attacks.

But industrial struggle should also be linked with political struggle. We need a political strategy not only to defend RMT members' pay and conditions, but to go on the offensive and fight for environmentally friendly and affordable public transport.

TfL's broken funding model was not sustainable even before the pandemic. But with the sharp reduction in fare revenue, the funding crisis has been exacerbated.

What has Khan done other than pleading to the Tories for extra funding? Nothing. In fact, Khan and TfL have now made a commitment to self-funding by 2023, and they are expected to raise revenue by between 0.5 billion to 1 billion every year from 2023 onwards.

There can be no trust in Khan and the Labour Party to take a fighting stance to win the necessary funding for London's transport.

The Labour mayor has consistently attacked workers throughout the last five years, and continues to implement cuts on behalf of the Tories without offering any meaningful opposition. The deal he has signed up to is appalling, even by his own standards.

In May's elections, the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition (TUSC) - which the Socialist Party is part of, alongside the RMT and others - stood in the London elections to challenge Khan and offer a socialist alternative. The attacks on the transport workers and other sections of the working class show the burning need to build a new mass workers' party with a fighting socialist programme.

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Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 9 June 2021:


News

G7 tax deal won't challenge corporate power

Dea-John Reid murder: Jobs, homes and services, not racism

Tory school catch-up plan: Fight for the funding our schools and colleges need

Post-Brexit trade deals: Workers' mobilisation needed to stop corporate extortion

G7 green hypocrisy

New book - coming soon: The Struggle for World Socialism

G7 Can't solve poverty, Covid and climate change - join the struggle for Socialism


What we think

Tory splits and infighting growing


NHS

'Let's fight to win on NHS pay and funding'

We're building for 3 July NHS protests


Workplace news

Goodlord striker speaks out: How we unionised and fought the bosses

Revolt against 'social partnership' at Wales Trades Union Congress 2021

Douwe Egberts workers strike against pay cuts of up to 12,000 a year

London workers prepare to fight Khan's transport cuts

If unions give a lead, workers are fully prepared to fight and win victories

Fight for a socialist leadership in PCS, build a fighting, democratic union!

Workplace news in brief


Lessons from history

The 1971 Upper Clyde Shipbuilders occupation and work-in


Campaigns news

Cladding safety: Protests demand developers and government pay

"Rights are won not given" - London refugee wins housing debt campaign

Hundreds march to scrap Silvertown Tunnel project

Shame on Clarion - another exploitative landlord


Israel/Palestine

Palestinian self-determination - is the solution one state or two?


Readers' opinion

TV review: Mrs Thatcher vs the miners

Readers' Opinion


 

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