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26 December 2010
Boxing Day tube strike successful
Interview with a London Underground train driver for the Socialist Party website:
Why have tube drivers in the union Aslef taken this action?
Management decided to run a Sunday level tube service on Boxing Day this year, instead of the reduced, bank holiday level service that is normally run on this day. The drivers were strongly opposed to this, and voted by a majority of nine to one to strike on Boxing Day.
Why did management insist on a Sunday level service?
Four strikes over the last four months by the RMT and TSSA unions have successfully paralysed the tube network, and this has hit the managers' mileage targets.
One of the reasons why they wanted Sunday level working on Boxing Day was to get the mileage back up towards their target figures.
How intransigent have the bosses been?
During negotiations, under pressure from the threat of strike action the bosses did agree to reduce the number of staff that would be required on Boxing Day. But there were unacceptable strings attached. In particular, they refused to give a guarantee that trains will not be run on Christmas Day in the future and drivers wanted this guarantee.
How successful has the Boxing Day strike been?
It's been very successful, the tube network is largely paralysed with most lines not running or barely running. Many RMT members have refused to cross the Aslef picket lines.
Will there be further strike action by Aslef on this issue?
As this strike was specifically about Boxing Day, it's unlikely that there will be more strikes in the near future on this particular issue. But this strike has again shown the strength of the tube workers' unions, and also their even greater strength when they support each other.
Continued support like this is the way forward in future action - and the RMT and TSSA unions are likely to need to resort to more strikes in 2011.
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