by Socialist Party members on London Underground
Many RMT members in the London Transport region are dismayed at the calling-off of strike action on London Underground (see ‘Rail unions take joint action on London Underground’ at socialistparty.org.uk).
A week-long strike would have shown the resolve of our members to fight to defend our pensions, jobs, and conditions of service won over decades of struggle.
The decision to call off action without a meeting of all our reps, which is the way our region normally democratically operates, has blunted our action.
The regional leadership and reps should meet and resolve to build for future action decided by our reps and members, to fight the attacks on our members by a Tory government aided by a Labour London mayor.
Action over the last year by RMT members kept attacks at bay, but now more action is needed to push the bosses back. All the attacks on jobs, conditions and pensions remain on the table, albeit temporarily delayed. This must be met with future united strike action by the RMT and Aslef on London Underground.
Rail unions take joint action on London Underground
19th July 2023
by John Reid, Retired former RMT executive member
London Underground unions RMT, Aslef and Unite are taking action between 23-28 July to fight savage attacks on working conditions, pensions and jobs.
The London Underground is the only major metro system in the industrialised nations not to receive a subsidy.
The government is looking for £600 million of ‘savings’, which includes 600 jobs going on stations and hundreds of jobs going in other areas of work, including train drivers and engineering.
This will result in unstaffed stations, leading to less safe travel. Transport for London admits that 1,813 sexual offences were reported to the police in one year from 2021-22, and yet these enormous cuts are still being imposed. Maintenance cuts will lead to an unsafe system for staff and passengers.
After seven days of strikes by the RMT on stations, six all-grades, management finally agreed to review the cuts and their impact on weekend working. But no sooner did they agree a process to review them than they announced a further programme to cut another 200 station jobs and demand hundreds of workers apply for their own jobs. No protection of substantive earnings is on offer.
The attacks also include savage cuts in pensions. Strike action by the RMT held these attacks at bay for a year, but a timetable to move workers into the local government pension scheme is now imminent. Bosses are also ripping up agreements on sickness and attendance policies – a bullying manager’s charter.
Workers on the underground have won reasonable working conditions from years of struggle. The Tory government wants to defeat workers who have stood up against cutbacks from both Tory and Labour administrations. If the rail workers are defeated it will make other attacks further down the line easier. Fighting these attacks must go hand in hand with fighting the Tory minimum service levels legislation.
London Labour mayor Sadiq Khan has a choice: join with London Underground workers to fight these cuts and refuse to carry them out, or side with the Tory government to push them through.
It is good that RMT, Aslef and Unite are unified in action. This is a battle that our members and our class must win.
RMT to strike for a week on London Underground
12th July 2023
by Gary Harbord, RMT LU Train Grades secretary, personal capacity
The RMT transport union dispute on London Underground (LU) is entering a new period, with a week’s worth of strike action from 23 July.
Members across all grades will be taking rolling action, in an escalation of the dispute over terms and conditions, job losses and attacks to our pensions.
Aslef, the train operators’ union, has announced coordinated strike action on 26 and 28 July.
At a time when management are being awarded a £12 million bonus by the Labour London mayor Sadiq Khan, LU is unleashing a wholesale attack on all tube workers that will make the job unrecognisable in the future.
Passenger numbers are back to pre-Covid levels and there is no excuse for these detrimental changes. Fleet, stations, trains and engineering are all facing attacks to their terms and conditions, and job losses.
In a separate development, Transport for London is trying to impose an attendance policy that wouldn’t go amiss in Victorian Britain, giving managers a wish-list to harass and bully workers off sick.
A mass meeting of reps voted almost unanimously to escalate the action, and this was agreed by our national executive.
Crucially, this dispute will be member-led. These attacks are due to the £600 million cuts demanded by the Tory government, and pressure will continue to be put upon the mayor to demand that RMT members should not pay for the crisis created by the Tories.