RMT reps and activists were feeling rightly chuffed with themselves on the picket line at Morden train crew depot this morning (1 December).
A majority of members of both RMT and ASLEF showed support for the strike for the reinstatement of sacked train driver Alex McGuigan. LU had to run a special service in the morning peak. By late morning, reps estimated around 13 out of 50 drivers had booked on; the car park was no way near as busy as usual.
This shows what can be achieved when local reps put the work in on the ground, hand out leaflets and take time to talk to colleagues about the importance of a fight. The reps' work at Morden should be congratulated and is a model for building up trade union strength in every workplace.
LU has carried out a spate of unjust sackings - Vicki Hayward, Noel Roberts and Alex McGuigan amongst them - indicating that LU feels it can get away with bending its own rules while unions battle Fit for the Future on Stations. While we must not let our unions take their eye off the fight against stations job cuts, we must also make sure unions fight effectively against these unjust sackings.
The support for the Morden depot strike provides a good basis to escalate the fight against unjust sackings. There is a logic behind the idea of stepping up the fight to reinstate Alex with an all-drivers' ballot. There is also logic behind the idea of pulling the fights to reinstate CSAs, Vicki and Noel, into this campaign and working towards LU-wide action.
As the campaign escalates to new workplaces and grades, the work that built support at Morden will need to be replicated. That work has already been happening on stations; wherever Vicki Hayward visits workplaces and tells her story, workers are immediately asking, "what can we do?" and "when can we go on strike?"
Talking to people, listening to them, answering questions and giving union members a sense of involvement in industrial action is hard, time-consuming work. But Morden reps have proved it is essential.