Rank and file control needed in Tube dispute

Submitted by AWL on 15 August, 2004 - 9:31

As we go to press, Tube workers still have to rely on rumour to guess what is happening in their dispute on pay, hours and jobs, which was due to be settled over four months ago, on 1 April this year.
Further strike action may be announced soon, but no-one knows yet.
The biggest Tube union, the RMT, has put in a claim for a 32-hour week and wage increases to bring Station Assistants up to £22,000 a year. London Underground bosses have counter-demanded large job cuts.
After much to-and-fro and delay, the RMT called a strike on 29-30 June, which was very well-supported and effective despite London Mayor Ken Livingstone saying were he a Tube worker he would cross the picket lines.
That was supposed to be the first step in an organised campaign. But the union has told its members nothing since then. The mood of confidence and militancy generated on 29-30 June is in danger of souring into demoralisation.
RMT leaders are due to meet London Underground bosses for talks again on 12 August. Whatever the outcome, a key necessity for a successful campaign will be democratic rank-and-file control over the dispute, through an elected dispute committee.

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