Support and build the "revenue action"

Posted in Tubeworker's blog on Sun, 09/02/2014 - 21:30,

Trawling through social media for comments on the strike, Tubeworker found the following (presumably from an ex-pat Aussie): "In Sydney, when the tube/bus/trains have an issue with their management they carry out industrial action. You know what they do? They run all the services but refuse to check tickets or take fares. All the barriers are open. Guess how quick their issues are resolved?"

So although this tactic is new to London, it has been successful elsewhere. But staff on the Tube have been concerned about both the method and legality of the action. This has allowed confusion (the Evening Standard reported that the action was for staff "not to answer enquiries for two hours") and intimidation from management (threats of immediate disciplinary action if we refuse to "do our jobs" or "breach our contracts")

Finally a definitive letter outlining the precise nature of the action was been sent to each individual station and revenue member of the RMT (how about it TSSA?!) — better late than never! That letter should have been in every station and revenue member's back pocket well in advance of the action, and union reps should have got round as many workplaces as possible to explain the action, the reasons behind it, and give people a confidence boost to carry it out.

Station staff have experience of opening gates and letting people through for free during specified hours — we've done it on New Year's Eve, when corporate sponsors have paid for free travel. We already know how this works. This time, we're choosing the hours! Some managers have threatened workers with disciplinaries on the basis that refusing to carry out revenue duties "breaches our contracts"... but going on strike also breaches our contracts! If your boss won't sack you for striking, you won't be sacked for taking part in an action-short-of-strike either.

If we are to enlist and maintain the support of the travelling public, we must be ready to adopt new methods such as the revenue strike. Our 4-6 February strike rocked the bosses, and although we all hope to win this dispute as quickly as possible, we could be in for a long fight. We'll need to experiment with novel and creative forms of action to supplement our all-out strikes, keep up a constant level of pressure on the bosses, and win support from the wider public.

Supporters of the Hands Off London Transport campaign used the hours of the revenue action to plan solidarity events. If the next revenue action is solid, we can hope for more such displays of support, that can help provide a different narrative to the media's claims that the London public are hostile to us. In turn, that support will embolden workers and boost confidence for the next all-out strike.

The right-wing media love to portray us as "dinosaurs", but like these impressively successful creatures we will endure, evolve, adapt, and survive (modern-day birds are considered to have evolved from dinosaurs).


The next "revenue actions" take place from 9.30 to 11.30am and 6.30pm to 8.30pm on Monday 10 February and Friday 14 February. The instructions from the union are as follows:

CSAs & SRT

• Where safe to do so, must open the gates using the SCU - you MUST NOT power them down. • If you are instructed to close the gates for crowd control, then you must comply with all safety instructions.
• Do not assist customers with ticket purchase at the front of POM/MFM.

SAMF

• Close all POMs and TOMs to avoid failures. Do not carry out any Window Ticket Selling, Banking, POM service, Consolidation or cash collection.

Revenue Control Inspectors

• Do not issue penalty fares, fares paid, or assist in any duty or activity which involves revenue collection.

Station Supervisors

• Must open the gates using the SCU - you MUST NOT power them down. Should there be a need to close the gates for crowd control, then you must comply with all relevant safety procedures and legislation.
• Do not assist customers with ticket purchase at the front of POM/MFM.
• Close all POMs and TOMs for customer use (to avoid failures. Do not carry out any Window Ticket Selling, Banking, POM service, Consolidation or cash collection.
• Issue no penalty fares, do not carry out fare evasion activities, ticket selling, assisting with POMs or restoring Customer Journeys.
• Do not allocate any staff to revenue duties.

Duty Station Managers/Group Station Managers

• Must open the gates using the SCU - you MUST NOT power them down. do not close the gates unless there is an immediate safety need and then you must comply with all relevant safety procedures and legislation.
• Do not assist customers with ticket purchase at the front of POM
• Close POMS to avoid failures. Do not carry out any Window Ticket Selling, Banking, POM service, Consolidation or cash collection.
• Issue no penalty fares, do not carry out any, ticket selling, assisting with POMs or restoring Customer Journeys.
• Do not allocate any staff to revenue duties.

For more info, see here

Comments

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sun, 16/02/2014 - 15:11

At least one branch has passed policy expressing its disappointment at the lack of support given to the revenue action, and calling for greater support for such actions in future.

Creative forms of industrial action will be vital to the sustained campaign we'll need to fight against management's cuts plans over the coming years. We need our union to back us up.

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