Disputes

Noise ballot success

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 10/09/2019 - 16:08

RMT Drivers on the Northern, Central, Victoria and Jubilee lines have returned a yes vote for action short of strike due to excessive track noise.

Tubeworker congratulates the workers who voted YES and bizarrely those who voted NO. Without them the ballot would not have made it over the ridiculous 50% threshold that the Trade Union Act imposes on unions.

Since the issue was first raised miraculously management say they have found an extra £10 million to "tackle the issue". Why they couldn't see problems with the Pandrol Vanguard system in the first place we don't know. Either way workers should not have to endure track noise any longer.

Tubeworker says the RMT should start the slow down in noisy sections immediately. Neither drivers of passengers should be suffering any longer. Station staff can use the opportunity to explain exactly why the service is being disrupted, and this kind of action will be very disruptive, lets use the opportunity to push the bosses back and put safety first.

Strike dates adjusted on Victoria and Central lines

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 22/08/2019 - 14:54

The dates for the Central and Victoria Line strikes have been adjusted to 3-4 September (20:00 to 20:00), after reps and activists argued that the initial dates (29-30 August) would be less impactful.

Although altering dates after initially announcing them can be a bit of a messy business, it seems like the new dates will be more effective.

It’s a good lesson in why meetings of rank-and-file reps and activists should be the forum for making these decisions in the first place.

Tubeworker topics

LU’s latest offer still unacceptable: ballot for action now!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sun, 18/08/2019 - 22:24

Ongoing pay talks have yielded a new offer from the company. They’re proposing a two-year deal, with a year one pay increase of RPI + 0.2%, with an RPI + 0.2% increase in year two minus the cost of implementing a 30-minute reduction in the working week.

This is entirely unacceptable for a number of reasons. Firstly, the pay increase itself is inadequate, and insulting in the context of pay rises of up to 74% handed to senior managers. Secondly, we can’t accept the idea that we should have to finance a reduced working week from our own wages rather than the company’s profits. Thirdly, a 30-minute reduction in the working week simply isn’t enough to be meaningful. We need hours of our week, not minutes. Finally, the offer doesn’t address our other demands, including equalisation of staff travel facilities, a minimum flat-rate pay increase, or the equalisation of the CSA grade.

For all these reasons, we have to push on with plans to ballot for action to win a better deal.

However, the offer is, in a small but significant way, progress. It represents the first concrete acknowledgment by our bosses that they can’t settle with us without making some concession on working hours.

Their acknowledgment of that gives us an opportunity to push forward. We have to increase the pressure by balloting for strikes.

Tubeworker topics

“Go it alone”?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 25/07/2019 - 11:16

Tubeworker isn’t linked to any one union on the job, and we argue consistently for unity and common action between all unions on LU.

That aspiration for unity means it’s always disappointing when one union puts out material attacking another in a way that’s divisive or even straightforwardly inaccurate. Robust criticism and debate about strategy and tactics is one thing; misleading workers about another union’s record is quite another.

There’s a new Aslef leaflet doing the rounds on the job that declares its “time to go it alone” on pay and conditions, allegedly because RMT isn’t prepared to fight for drivers! It attacks RMT for raising the demand for the consolidation of the CSA grade, and goes on to claim that RMT “agreed” the introduction of the CSA2 grade.

This is untrue. In fact, the post-Fit for the Future grading system was imposed by the company, despite union opposition. RMT fought against Fit for the Future in its entirety, and while some significant concessions were gained from management, ultimately that battle was lost and the new grades were imposed. It is outrageous for Aslef to claim RMT positively agreed to the creation of the CSA2 grade.

The Aslef leaflet says “we only care about drivers”. What an illuminating insight into the sectional mindset! Not “we only organise drivers”, or “we only represent drivers”, but “we only care about drivers”! In other words, other workers on the railway can get stuffed!

This approach is divisive and only benefits the bosses. We urge rank-and-file Aslef members to challenge their reps over the spreading of these inaccuracies. We’ll be far more powerful if we don’t “go it alone”, but rather fight together to take united action.

Tubeworker topics

Transformation ballot halted

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 23/07/2019 - 11:22

RMT’s ballot of workers in engineering, signals, and other departments to fight Transformation job cuts has been halted.

The result was due back on 16 July, but the union pulled the ballot before the announcement. The official reason is that RMT plans to expand the number of workers balloted.

Large ballots are difficult to win, but as the recent example from the fleet dispute against extended train prep shows, it can be done.

The ballot should be resumed as soon as possible.

Vote for strikes to stop “Transformation” cuts

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 20/06/2019 - 13:14

As TfL/LU push ahead with cuts planned under its “Transformation” process, RMT is balloting affected members for strikes and other industrial action. Workers affected include all ex-Tube Lines members, Palestra House (LUCC) Service Control, Signals, Skills Development, and Track Access Control.

The “Transformation” scheme, which has already claimed dozens of jobs in admin grades, threatens potentially thousands more. A planned three-day strike by fleet workers recently forced LU to back off from plans to extend train preparation schedules; strikes across affected grades could throw a spanner in the works of “Transformation”.

RMT must also plan to spread the dispute to other grades if initial action by the affected workers doesn’t get results.

The ballot opens on 26 June, and close on 16 July. Resist the cuts: vote yes/yes!

Waste collection to be outsourced?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 20/06/2019 - 13:08

The Labour Party has a national policy commitment to end outsourcing when it goes into government. Great. But we already have a Labour mayor in City Hall. Not only is Sadiq Khan overseeing the continued outsourcing of cleaning, security, and cleaning, under his mayoralty, TfL and LU bosses are looking to outsource and privatise even more workers!

As part of the ongoing “Transformation” process of TfL/LU cuts, bosses plan to outsource waste collection services in outer London, currently done by directly-employed staff, to a private company. Workers’ terms, conditions, and jobs are at risk. (For more, see this RMT report here.)

RMT is now balloting for strikes against “Transformation” cuts. As fleet workers have recently shown, the threat of action can get results.

Tubeworker topics

Ballot on pay and conditions imminent

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 18/06/2019 - 11:58

RMT is now preparing to ballot members on LU for industrial action over pay and conditions. With all three other unions having also rejected LU’s latest offer, it’s likely they’ll ballot too.

Restrictive anti-union laws mean we need to get a 50% turnout and at least 40% of all those balloted voting yes to take legal action. So make sure your contact details are up to date with your union so your ballot paper gets sent to the right place.

We need to be prepared to take serious action. A token one-day strike is unlikely to be enough to budge the bosses. Guards on South Western Railway are currently striking for five days to defend their jobs; their resolve should inspire us!

Tubeworker topics

Why Tube cleaners plan to strike

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 04/06/2019 - 23:21

Tube cleaners in the RMT are preparing to ballot for strikes. Here, a cleaner tells Tubeworker why.


“Tube cleaners have been campaigning for many years against injustice. We're fighting for dignity, and equal conditions in our workplaces. Currently we have no company sick pay, which means cleaners who get sick are forced to come to work or face financial hardship. And we also have no free travel passes, unlike directly-employed staff working on the railway.

“The biggest demand we are fighting for is direct employment, for cleaning to be brought in house. I don't consider myself an ABM cleaner. I am a TfL cleaner, I am a London Underground cleaner. ABM will probably go in a few years, some other contractor will come along. But we are doing the same work, cleaning London Underground. We should be employed directly.

“There's hasn't been industrial action for several years; union members amongst cleaners have been waiting for this dispute for a long time. People were asking, “when are we going to have a real fight?” Non-members have also been enthused by the announcement that we're planning to ballot. Since the decision was announced, I've personally recruited six people. Cleaners want to join because they see us preparing for a strike.

“We're not planning to strike simply because we're pissed off. Action is an essential organising tool. A union is only as strong as its membership. By taking action, we build the union. We need support and guidance from the rest of RMT. Many cleaners have English as a second language and many not know their legal rights. Some feel scared and isolated. The wider union can provide us with direction and information to help us build the dispute, and support us when we take action. We need to be honest with members about what it will take to win.

“We have been making good links with other unions organising cleaners, such as the IWGB. We have attend picket lines and demonstrations with them, and we've been sharing ideas and tactics at events coordinated by the New Economics Foundation. It's good to meet cleaners from universities and hospitals and discuss what we have in common. We're part of the union movement so should support each other. If they strike, they know RMT members will have their back, and vice versa. Our voice is bigger if we combine, so unions organising outsourced workers to demand direct employment should join together in common campaigns.”

Tubeworker topics

Victoria Line drivers head for action

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 28/05/2019 - 17:21

RMT drivers on the Victoria Line look as though they may soon join their Central Line comrades in balloting for industrial action.

The issues are similar, focusing on management throwing their weight around in the depot. RMT has been arranging meetings of the relevant reps, but it’s crucial that these are quickly translated into action.

As the fleet dispute shows, industrial action is often the only language LU understands.

Tubeworker topics

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