RMT is balloting Tube Lines workers at Northfields and Cockfosters depots for strikes to stop the introduction of a two-tier workforce, after Tube Lines announced plans to employ 35 new staff on fixed-term contracts.
The union position, quite rightly, is that all new jobs should be permanent. Allowing fixed-term contracts to become the norm leads to casualisation, with workers becoming disposable depending on when the bosses decide the need is greatest.
These 35 workers are being taken on, so the company claims, to enable 24-hour lifting of trains to replace damaged wheels due to problems with rail head contamination from leaf fall and wheel flats, which caused so much grief at the end of last year. RMT has been raising this issue for months, insisting that it is dealt with properly. This must mean an increase in permanent, properly-trained staff; taking on a handful of fixed-term staff is no solution at all.
The ballot closes on 4 July. Vote yes for strikes to win permanent jobs!