London Underground: Vote ‘yes’ in ballot to fight for fair pay increase

by John Reid, retired RMT NEC member

The RMT is an all-grades transport union that seeks strength through unity and action of all grades in London Underground (LU) to defend and improve our conditions.

We are not limited by narrow ‘craft interests’. That is why the ‘final offer’ from LU bosses of 5% is not acceptable. It would further increase the gap between the higher-paid members and the lower-paid. Even for higher-paid members, 5% represents a significant real-terms pay deduction. Over the last year, RPI has fluctuated between 13% and 9%. Only recently has this fallen to under 5%.

LU workers on strike
London Underground workers in four unions on strike.
Photo: Hannah Sell

On London Underground, for over a decade we have won inflation-proof pay increases through taking industrial action, and have delayed attacks on our pensions. But these savage cuts, backed by the Tory government and the Labour Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, remain on the table. Action by members also won back around 200 station jobs.

That is why it was a massive message to management when we achieved a ‘yes’ vote to defend jobs and pensions.

The latest ‘final’ offer should be rejected. And we must build a campaign throughout our membership to resist this threat to reduce our real wages at a time of high inflation. This offer should also be rejected because it contains a freezing of pay bands for some of the grades we cover. This, if implemented, would lead to a pay cut and reduced pensions for these members.

To win, we will require unified and sustained action, which would close down London. We are always told that a day’s strike costs the London economy £50 million-plus a day. In fact, the British Chamber of Commerce puts the figure as high as £300 million per day. This shows how important our members are to the London economy. The vast wealth of the London economy is robbed from the workers who create the wealth for big business and the parasitic bankers. The money is there to pay our members and other public service workers that kept the capital running during Covid and continue to keep it running.

Vote yes to take action to defend pay, and link the defence of pay to the defence of jobs, conditions and pensions.