RMT members working on London Underground will from next week embark on indefinite industrial action in their fight to save jobs and services, writes Tim Lezard. The action starts at one minute past midnight on Wedneday, from when members will refuse t …

tube solidarityRMT members working on London Underground will from next week embark on indefinite industrial action in their fight to save jobs and services, writes Tim Lezard.

The action starts at one minute past midnight on Wedneday, from when members will refuse to do any overtime or take part in any development courses or assessments.

RMT acting general secretary Mick Cash said: “This next phase of action has been called for the clear and simple reason that London Underground has failed to engage in serious discussions over cash-led cuts to jobs, services and safety which ignore harsh realities like the 10% increase in violent assaults on the tube and which instead are based on a bankrupt Thatcherite ideology handed down by Boris Johnson as he gears up for a return to Parliament and a pitch for David Cameron’s job. Londoners’, with Tube staff at the forefront, are just pawns in that political grandstanding.

RMT has scrutinised the details and it is clear to us that many locations will be left without sufficient staff to safely and effectively run stations. For example Ladbroke Grove Cover Group will have its staffing level halved. All local stations will be lone worked through both peaks and even the busiest gateway stations will see cuts, despite an LUL commitment they will get more staff.

“In terms of ticket offices, the union has serious concerns over the company’s reliance on unproven, unreliable technology to replace them. Despite setting out these fundamental flaws, LUL refuse even to discuss their contingency plans should any aspect of their plans not unfold as intended proving that they are quite happy to take a reckless gamble regardless of the consequences.

RMT has repeatedly demanded meaningful talks with London Underground but the past four months has proved that that demand is falling on deaf ears. Worse than that, London Underground, pressurised by the Mayor, are now beginning to implement their proposals with the appointment of Area Managers tasked to drive the cuts agenda and the confirmation of voluntary redundancies. .

“A mass meeting of RMT underground members was organised last Friday to discuss our “Every Job Matters” Campaign. The clear view of those in attendance was that further action is the only solution to protect the interest of members and the travelling public. RMT gave London Underground a 48 hour deadline to pull back their implementation plans but this was totally ignored and as a result we are now into a new phase of industrial action and our members remain united and determined as we move the union campaign forwards.”

Following the last round of strike action, RMT has been in on-going discussions with London Underground, over several months, around their plans to slash jobs, reorganise station grades and close ticket offices. The union has tried to engage with the company in a constructive manner, even offering our own counter proposals, but they have refused to step back from implementing their plans.

After eight months of discussions not one job has been restored and we still face a decimation of station jobs. At present 953 job cuts are proposed with thousands of staff members facing the prospect of downgrading with a resulting loss of salary. Every ticket office would also close by the end of 2015.


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Tim Lezard

Campaigning journalist, editor of @Union_NewsUK, NUJ exec member; lover of cricket, football, cycling, theatre and dodgy punk bands

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