As London Underground prepares to impose “Fit for the Future” on three station groups from 7 February, and elsewhere from April, RMT has called a strike of all station staff from 21.00 on Saturday 6 February until 20.59 on Monday 8 February.
What we want
No member of station staff needs reminding what a nightmare “Fit for the Future” will be. We oppose the entire model, top to bottom. But even if we don’t force LU to abandon it, we can still win concessions. For example, we demand:
• Redrawn rosters to guarantee no-one works more weekends than presently
• Jobs put back into rosters and guarantees that vacancies will be filled
• No worsening of the existing Framework
• Protection of earnings for all SAMFs who cannot do the night working required by their new forced promotions into Supervisor grades
• Adequate training and remuneration for CSAs forced to undertake former ticket office work.
• Don't turn supervisors into bosses who discipline their workmates.
• Bring back seated roles on stations, as many staff can't stand up all day.
Can stations-only strikes be effective?
Yes. A solid strike of station staff will lead to station closures, particularly of Section 12 stations, hitting the company’s revenue hard. It won’t be a total shutdown, but if our strike is solid, we can cause chaos.
Even where stations don’t close, management will be sent into blind panic mode, digging out hi-vis for managers who haven’t done a proper day’s work in years, madly trying to get people familiarised. There’s no question is would throw management off balance.
Tubeworker has always called for the maximum possible unity of grades; we opposed the decision to de-escalate the dispute against "Fit for the Future" into a stations-only issue last summer, and we opposed the suspension of the planned all-grades strikes on pay/Night Tube on 27 January. We also opposed the suspension of "Every Job Matters" strikes on that date.
The current stations-only approach is not without risks. We have to work to make the upcoming strikes as solid as possible.
Other grades, particularly drivers, can show solidarity.
The 6-8 February strike must a precursor to ongoing action, aimed at disrupting the implementation of “Fit for the Future” and forcing concessions from the company.
We should consider creative forms of action: how about a day where everyone books on two hours late for their shift? How about the late turns booking off two hours early? How about staff on groups where the “Fit for the Future” rosters are imposed “reclaiming” some of our weekend rest days by striking? There are lots of possibilities. Unions could use hardship funds to help out members who end up taking more action than others because of how their duties fall.
Everything should be considered. The only thing that should be ruled out is doing nothing. Let’s start with a solid strike on 6-8 February and keep the pressure on.
An all-grades fight
It’s frustrating that the all-grades unity with which the “Every Job Matters” campaign was launched in 2013 has now broken down. That needs rebuilding. A management on attack on one grade should be seen as an attack on all of us.
In the immediate term, other grades should support the stations action. Drivers can refuse to drive if they feel stations aren’t staffed to safe levels. They should insist on assisted dispatch.
RCIs, who were not balloted as part of the most recent "Every Job Matters" strike ballot, should refuse to cover CSA or SS work on stations during strike days.
Admin and other staff should do "ICSA" work (which is not compulsory), and engineers can refuse to book on at stations which aren't properly staffed and supervised by qualified supervisors.
This is not about other grades taking action “for” station staff. It’s about all of us resisting an attack on us as a workforce.
Pay/Night Tube: Reject The Deal!
LU is still insisting that the pay offer, the Night Tube settlement, and “Fit for the Future” are all linked.
Tubeworker believes the pay offer is shoddy and should be rejected on its own terms. We were against the 27 January and 16/18 February strikes being called off.
If LU insists on making it contingent on accepting “Fit for the Future”, there’s even more reason to reject it. We cannot allow our bosses to tell us we can only get a pay rise if we agree to huge job cuts on stations!
Unions may soon begin referendums of members on the deal; Tubeworker encourages you to vote no.