AWL tubeworkers have been arguing for some time that the unions should get on with action against casualisation and destaffing. So we are pleased that RMT and TSSA have said they will ballot. ASLEF, sadly, still deludes itself that drivers are somehow immune from management’s attacks: as if.
Union activists now need to be out talking to all workers, making sure they know the issues and the stakes. We need strong support and leadership from head offices, and we need our officials, including full-time release reps, to throw their energies into this dispute and talk it up not down. We should have a central strike committee of rank-and-file activists organising workplace canvassing, pumping out leaflets and responding to management’s propaganda. We need to take our case to the public.
TSSA has started its ballot, but RMT has still not named dates. TSSA members will get strike ballot papers before RMT members, surely an unprecedented event.
Unlike TSSA, RMT has to convince drivers to vote Yes. But it seems to have decided that the best way to do this is to delay and ‘buy time’. But this could be counter-productive. Delays do not alway convince more workers of the need to strike. Rather, the union risks giving the message that it does not feel confident and the issues are not that urgent. But the issues are that urgent, and the union should feel confident. Even if some drivers are not yet convinced, the union should go out and convince them.