London Underground union RMT has begun balloting for strikes to stop a management cuts plan that will lead to the closure of every ticket office on London Underground and the loss of nearly 1,000 jobs.
The ballot, which opened on 3 December, will close on 10 January. A mass meeting of around 200 RMT members on 26 November discussed a campaign of sustained industrial action, including creative forms of 'action short of strikes' as well as strikes. Janine Booth, RMT Executive member for the London Transport region, told the rally: "Our action will not be a token protest to show our opposition to job cuts which are then imposed. It will be planned, effective action designed to stop those job cuts being imposed."
The rally was also addressed by a representative of the smaller TSSA union, which is also considering balloting for action. RMT hopes that the other Tube unions - ASLEF and Unite - will also join the dispute. RMT says that the ticket office closures and staffing cuts will have a detrimental effect on the quality of service and passenger safety. running of tube services. Strikes could begin from 17 January.
As well as the industrial dispute, RMT is running a public, political campaign, leafleting passengers at stations across the network making the case against cuts. Meanwhile, RMT members on London Underground have voted by a 74% majority to strike in support of their demand for the replacement of agency labour with directly-employed, permanent posts.
This comes in the wake of a huge expansion in the use of agency work on the Tube's infrastructure maintenance over the last few decades, and LUL's refusal to take on 33 workers previously employed by the Trainpeople agency when it cancelled the agency's contract earlier this year.
Drivers on the Picadilly Line have also voted to strike on Thursday 5 December in a dispute over management bullying.
Brian Munro elected
Workers’ Liberty member Janine Booth, whose term of office on the RMT Executive finishes in January 2014, will be replaced by Brian Munro, a Bakerloo Line driver. Workers’ Liberty and Tubeworker, the rank-and-file bulletin we publish, supported Brian in the election, which he won by 1,714 votes to 1,276.
We offer our congratulations, and look forward to Brian’s term of office as an Executive member who will reflect the wishes of the rank and file at the highest level of the union.