Workers: expect more tube strikes

RMT flag outside tube station

Some Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union members are starting to prepare for further strike action on the London Underground (LU) after the second of two planned 48-hour strikes was called off earlier in the month following what was described as a last-minute deal.

Workers on the underground network are finding it increasingly difficult to accept that the two month review period agreed between unions and management, of which only four weeks remains, will end in any concessions being offered according to sources familiar with the situation.

A Solidarity Federation militant who works on the tube said: "Most [RMT] reps and activists strongly believe management are going to press ahead with their plans and they are using the review period to get ready to to rail-road the same cuts in as soon as the truce is over."

"With LU increasingly open bragging that the RMT has capitulated and is now assisting with their modernisation plans we're stating the urgent need to re-mobilise on the shop floor in anticipation of the failure of talks and the company's re-launching of the cuts and closures," they continued.

Members of the RMT, representatives and activists are currently discussing a number disputes with both London Underground and Transport for London (TfL) including the 950 proposed job cuts combined with pay cuts on stations and the closure of ticket offices.

There are also live disputes over casualisation, pension capping on TfL and the victimisation of Mark Harding and other militants.

Earlier in the month RMT officials suspended further planned strike action after union members struck for 48hrs along with members of TSSA also receiving some support from principled ASLEF tube drivers who refused to cross picket lines.

If the union fail to win this dispute, militants are expecting London Underground to roll Fit for the Future – Stations to all grades on a grade by grade basis, weakening union members by drastically reducing staff numbers making it harder for members to take strike action.

With the RMT in a weakened state, militants expect LU to go even further on the offensive by capping the TfL pension, removing its final salary status and trying to wipe out the union. The victimisation of union representatives such as Harding and others is seen to mark the start of this process.

A core group of union members are promoting a "let's fight while we still have an army" approach, and taking the go for everything position of no job cuts, no ticket office closures, no victimisation of reps, no cap on TfL pension and core work by LU staff.

To achieve this they plan on supporting the lay rep negotiators in putting forward the above position in current ACAS agreed 8 week talks, setting strike dates soon to occur just after the agreed truce period, remobilising RMT reps and members and campaigning among supporters.

One RMT militant who spoke to libcom.org believes the union suspended the strike action on a strong note and LU will soon provide evidence of treachery in the talks to make it easy for the union to justify naming further strike dates to members.

"Now is not the time for union leaders, reps or members on the tube to shrink back from hard hitting industrial action. There can be no sitting on the fence now, nor can there be a settlement which does not involve removal of charges against members and reps during the strike," they said.

Comments

Steven.
Feb 28 2014 20:40

Further on this note, London Underground has just advertised a £16 billion contract to provide driverless trains on several lines for midway through the next decade. The main reason for doing this of course would be to undermine the organisation of tube drivers, which is very strong:
http://www.standard.co.uk/news/transport/tfl-advertises-16bn-contract-for-driverless-tube-trains-9160208.html

Bob Crow has previously always said that driverless trains just wouldn't work in London, as the network is too old, and importantly you cannot walk down the tracks if a train fails. However the way London Underground seem to be trying to work around this is saying that the trains would be manned, just not driven by people. So essentially less training would be needed to provide scabs. That said, it wouldn't necessarily be the end of the world for job organisation on the underground, as DLR workers have successfully shut down their driverless network by striking, as some workers are still necessary…

Steven.
Mar 1 2014 00:22

Well that was quick, according to the RMT jobs campaign Facebook page the RMT is now officially in dispute around this issue as well, which goes against previous promises from management to consult them before doing anything on this:
https://www.facebook.com/everyjobmatters

Steven.
May 5 2014 11:48

So, I think we pretty much broke this story first!

Anyway, the second of the new set of strikes has now been suspended, apparently following progress the union has made in negotiations:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-27282596

To me it looks like the main area of change seems to be that they have now agreed to protect earnings for those workers moved to different jobs, who previously were facing pay cuts of up to £12,000 per year.

Although if that understanding is incorrect please let me know.

The review of ticket offices is set to continue, however it seems like this outcome is predetermined (i.e. that all ticket offices will close)