Tube workers ballot for action

Rail union RMT members on London Underground will be receiving ballot papers in the next few days and will be asked to vote ‘yes’ for strike action to defend jobs. Around 800 jobs are under threat. A resounding ‘yes’ vote will be a blow to our managers who are hellbent on further attacking jobs, conditions, pay and pensions, to destroy our hard won conditions.

Reg Johnstone, RMT

Our union and our members have won reasonably good conditions on pay, pensions and annual leave by boldly standing up for our rights. If we cower in the present climate then management will come for more jobs, attack our annual leave and our pensions and will freeze our pay. There are even rumours that they will introduce driverless trains, presumably to go through unstaffed stations.

In their budget, the Con-Dem government are saying that we have to pay for the recession that was made by their friends and backers in the City of London and in the banking system. We are now being asked to bail out this system, by accepting job cuts, VAT tax increases, a reduction in our pensions and benefits and on top of this a two year pay freeze.

The government have also announced that people are having the temerity to live too long and if we persist we will be forced to work until we are 70.

If we allow the government to get away with these policies, we will see our wages and ‘social wage’ reduced by between 10% and 15% over the next two years. At the same time the payment of grotesque bonuses continues, Network Rail recently paid out £2.25 million, mainly to their already overpaid directors.

RMT leader Bob Crow has put forward that the TUC should call an emergency meeting. This meeting should set a date for a mass national demonstration in London in the autumn. This should be a step to a public sector general strike in October to coincide with the announcement of specific cuts in public spending.

The workers’ movement has two arms, the industrial and the political. Our political wing has turned into the gangrenous Labour Party. We must build a new workers’ party armed with a socialist programme.

This will provide the growing industrial movement with a socialist alternative to the capitalist profit system. In the last general election, the RMT sponsored candidates from the Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition, and this kind of initiative must be built upon through the anti cuts movement and the forthcoming industrial struggles.

  • RMT members working for the failed maintenance company Tubelines, were on strike for two days last week. Transport for London has now had to take over Tubelines but the union is still fighting job cuts and worsening working conditions. After last week’s very successful action, when some train drivers refused to take trains out on safety grounds, there will be a further 48-hour strike on 14-16 July.

Camden trades council rally against the cuts:

Monday 12 July, 7.30pm, Camden town hall, Judd Street, London NW1. There will be speakers from the RMT.