The RMT is re-balloting nearly 10,000 of its members across London Underground and Transport for London for strike action around disputes centred on jobs, pay and breaches of disciplinary and attendance agreements. This ballot (which starts on 14 May) follows an earlier positive vote for strike action in a ballot which was subsequently ruled invalid by a court order from a legal action brought by Underground bosses. Management ‘s lawyers picked up on trivial errors in the balloting process.
It is a good thing that the re-ballot is now underway and RMT activists will need to go all out to ensure that there is another massive vote in favour of strike action and make sure our feelings are made loud and clear.
There are three areas of dispute:
Jobs : London Underground bosses are trying to tear up an agreement aimed at safeguarding jobs, and have refused to rule out compulsory redundancies. TfL is also threatening compulsory redundancies as part of a £2.4 billion cuts package.
Pay cuts: LUL has also refused to budge from an unacceptable five-year pay offer that gives no real-terms increase for four years, and which could even see pay cuts. TfL has so far failed to table any pay offer at all.
Bullying staff: LUL management have been breaching the agreed disciplinary and attendance procedures and have encouraged aggressive and punitive behavior by local managers.
If the bosses use the courts again, unofficial action may be our only option as a response. But this is a tactical call for any union, which would have to be made on an assessment about how much support there is among members for defiance of legal threats.
This underlines why every aspect of a dispute should be under the control and scrutiny of the rank-and-file workers whose jobs, pay and conditions are at stake.
Vote yes for strike action and action short of strike!