The 33 agency workers who were dismissed from LU in January are still campaigning hard. They’ve been doing a ‘walkabout’ of London Underground stations and depots to spread the campaign.
The 33 are demanding to be taken on as LU employees. By taking an unprecedented stand against the agency workers’ usual plight of being discarded from employment, the 33 have catapulted agency workers’ claims to permanent jobs to the centre of RMT’s industrial demands on London Underground.
Agency working has been rife on LU engineering side since the mid- 1990s, to the extent that directly-employed LU track workers are the minority. Past unionisation drives have had some success in slowing the rot, but it has taken the tenacity of the 33 force the RMT to vigorously pursue this issue. Now, RMT has written to LU and London Overground demanding that ALL agency workers be brought in house.
The 33’s campaign has grown to a campaign that could change the lives of hundreds of insecure agency workers on LU. It will send a message that LU cannot discard any worker like trash. In making agency employment look messy and unattractive to LU, it will secure every LU worker’s job for the long-term by holding back LU’s desire to extend agency working.
When LU took over Silverlink Stations on the north of the Bakerloo Line, inheriting the contract with the Trainpeople Agency, LU’s eyes lit with ideas for spreading super-flexible working across the combine. But LU’s Bakerloo experiment blew up in their face. The agency staff refused to be abused; they organised. LU thought the 33 would go away quietly once it ended the contract with the agency; the 33 refused to go away. Every LU worker owes our job security to the 33’s refusal to be mistreated and scrapped as an agency worker.
Let’s repay the debt we owe to their bravery and vote ‘yes’ to take action when we get the chance. We’re fighting for the 33 and every agency worker on LU to work permanently and securely. Hold back the agency tide! Keep our jobs safe! Justice for the 33!