Tube dispute: keep up the pressure

Submitted by AWL on 25 February, 2014 - 8:28

Tube unions RMT and TSSA suspended a strike planned for 11-13 February after London Underground management retreated slightly from the plans to implement massive job cuts and close every ticket office on the network.

A 4-6 February strike rocked bosses and Tory Mayor Boris Johnson, shutting down the vast majority of London Underground services. The strike forced an arrogant management and City Hall regime, which had been referring to the plans as a fait accompli, into a limited but real climb-down.

The agreement for which the strike was suspended commits management to a station-by-station review of ticket offices, and guarantees a two-month truce period, during which management will not seek further implementation of their plans. Further negotiations between unions and management are currently taking place.

The rank-and-file bulletin Tubeworker, published by Workers’ Liberty, is arguing for unions to keep the pressure on management. It is calling for unions to declare new strikes for April, when the “truce” period ends, to signal to management that they will strike again if the talks fail to yield real concessions.

Tubeworker believes an ongoing and escalating timetable of action will be necessary if bosses refuse to budge, and is fighting for unions to make funds available for strike pay to allow lower-paid, part-time, and other less-well-off workers to take sustained action.

The bulletin is also arguing for increased communication between unions and members, ensuring that members are kept informed of what goes on in the talks and are able to hold their negotiators and representatives to account.

Tubeworker supporters are also campaigning for the RMT’s current strike committee to become broader and more representative, involving workers from all areas and grades involved in the dispute, so it can more effective hold union leaders to account and make sure they take their cues from the grassroots.

Tubeworker’s proposals for the way forward also include calling on unions to remain clear about the demands of the dispute, and to hold a firm line against any and all job cuts rather than sliding into compromise.

Workers’ Liberty members will be working with others to support the Hands Off London Transport campaign (handsofflondontransport.wordpress.com), a coalition of trade unionists, disabled activists, student unionists, and others which will organise direct action in support of a publicly-funded, democratically-controlled, well-staffed Tube network.

• For daily updates from Tubeworker, see here

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