Unite and Fight!

Posted in Tubeworker's blog on Wed, 19/08/2009 - 12:24,

All Tube workers know at heart that if all our unions took united action over pay and other issues, we could win so much more. All unions have rejected LUL's crap pay offer and should stand together to fight it; so far only RMT is doing anything.

Many ordinary members of every union are baffled as to why we even have a choice of unions, when the disunity so obviously weakens us and benefits management. Tubeworker firmly believes that we should all be in one union, that unions to unite. We came close to this in 1913 when the National Union of Railwaymen, RMT's forerunner, formed by merging different grades' unions into one. ASLEF and the TSSA's forerunner opted out. And we haven't made much progress since!

But while one railway union may seem a pipe-dream, working together is an immediate necessity.

LU were hit hard by the RMT’s strike action in June, but were able to weaken morale and score propaganda points by running partial services with the assistance of other unions. How much more hard-hitting we could have been if we had taken united action! Five days of joint RMT-ASLEF-TSSA action on National Express East Anglia has just shown what united action can achieve in winning concessions from a company, like ours, who are being hard in the face of unions. They have won a 3.5% pay rise over two years and rights for agency workers, amongst other gains.

We look forward to a strong, united campaign to defeat a pay offer that insults us all. So Tubeworker welcomes RMT's decision to put pressure on ASLEF and TSSA to take action over pay. But if ASLEF and TSSA don’t jump on board, and their recent behaviour doesn’t give us much hope, RMT should be clear from the outset that it will fight alone if necessary. Yes, we are stronger together, but a large, all-grades union is not weak on its own.

RMT should be giving members confidence, not making its preparedness to fight conditional on the leaderships of other unions. The best way of encouraging unity in action is to take the lead and encourage others to follow.

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