RMT London Underground victory – Prepare for next round

by John Reid, Former RMT executive member

The RMT, by being prepared to take strike action on London Underground, has won an extra £30 million from Labour’s London mayor Sadiq Khan and the Greater London Authority. This will be a yearly amount.

Following a meeting of reps, the RMT National Executive Committee (NEC) will now consider the offer in detail.

Victoria picket line
Picket line at Victoria, Central London.
Photo: London SP

Senior management had told tube unions that the final pay offer was 5%, and Aslef settled for the offer.

However, the RMT rejected it, as did Unite and TSSA. Members voted to strike, and our reps steadfastly refused to call off action, indeed they threatened to shut down the Underground for a week through rolling action.

Suddenly, at the beginning of this action, £30 million extra funding was found. Once again, we have shown that militancy wins.

As a result of the determination of our members to fight, an extra £1,000 a year, at least, has been added to the vast majority of our members’ annual wage, plus an additional £200 and £400 p.a. to lower-paid grades. The blanket refusal to increase pay bands in line with the offer was removed.

However, increases to salary bands do not fully cover the additional £1,000 pay rise now being applied. This will mean that a few members will receive a small part of their 2023 pay rise as a non-consolidated payment. Further, pay bands will be capped at salaries of £99,500, and any payment above this will be paid on a non-consolidated basis.

The terms and conditions of these highly skilled and loyal RMT members have been won by years of unified struggle by the RMT, an all-grades union.

Therefore, while it was right to accept the offer, we should make it clear that, in the imminent 2024-25 pay claim, we will be demanding that the freezing of pay bands must be removed, and that all future pay increases are consolidated. We should also seek to further cut the gap between workers on lower and higher pay grades.

The battle continues in the coming pay year, and we need maximum unity for the upcoming battles. With the mayor and Greater London Assembly elections looming, and in a general election year, we must put clear demands on Khan and Keir Starmer, and be ready for fight for them.

We need all our strength to defend our pay, conditions, jobs and pensions. Unity is strength.