Hastily-convened 11th-hour talks between LU and the unions in the station staffing dispute produced an interesting development today.
Under the leadership of their General Secretary Manuel Cortes, TSSA suddenly sought private talks with the company, fracturing the unity that had existed thus far.
Something odd was clearly going on at TSSA HQ; first, at 16.34, the union's official Twitter account tweeted that "last minute" talks had "failed". Then, at 17.20, they were tweeting that LU had "made a new offer".
TSSA negotiators swiftly recommended to their reps that they suspend their strike in order to consider this.
What's the content of this "new" offer? It amounts to an offer of 50 additional jobs, taking the total of 150 that was already on the table to 200. Everything else in the "new" offer was either already agreed or already on the table.
It is, in short, a joke.
There's also a story circulating, picked up on and recycled by the BBC, that RMT reps "walked out" of talks. This is total nonsense. RMT put their demands, the company refused them. The talks ended. That's not "walking out", it's leaving when something is finished. TSSA then went behind RMT's back to concoct their new deal.
What happened to strength in unity, comrades?
Tubeworker is independent of any union, and has supporters, contributors, and readers from all the unions which organise on LU. But we are committed to telling the truth, and to effective, militant trade unionism. We will criticise any union when we feel criticism is deserved. And TSSA's "strategy", if it can be called that, is the opposite of effective and the opposite of militant.
Word has already reached Tubeworker HQ that many TSSA reps are telling their Regional Organiser, in no uncertain terms, that they do not want the strike suspended and fully support continuing with the action. Tubeworker urges all TSSA reps to do likewise, and urges TSSA members to lobby their reps to this effect.
There's more to be said about this unedifying episode, including a political examination of the role of the Labour mayor Sadiq Khan, and whether TSSA's status as a "left-wing" union, which supports the Labour left network Momentum, can be meaningful when it proposes calling off strikes in this way.
But that can wait. The key thing now is to build the action. Tubeworker urges all our readers in stations and revenue grades, whichever union they're members of, to participate in the strike.
See you on the picket lines!
We've seen this before so many times, with management cutting a deal with ASLEF to undermine RMT fighting for Drivers, now they've got their maths wrong if they think TSSA with a tenth of the members of RMT will undermine our strike.
It does speak again to the need of ONE Union for all rail workers, to stop bosses dividing us to conquer. What happened to the merger between a bankrupt TSSA and RMT? I'd heard it was the ego of the TSSA Gen Sec that prevented it but surely this dispute shows that it is only when we speak with one strong and united voice that the bosses truly listen to us!