Success for Nottingham Riders Network
On Tuesday 30 April, Deliveroo responded to the Nottingham Rider Network - IWGB's demand letter. Beyond a load of the usual fluff, it became clear that NRN-IWGB had made steps forward: winning a hiring freeze, and an agreement to meet.
Unsure as to whether to continue with a strike, the committee took the decision to riders more widely. The response was a decision to call off a strike. The limited victory is good and must be celebrated. But the lesson time and again from Deliveroo, and from employers more generally, is that you win improvements, that you negotiate from a stronger position, by striking, and continuing to strike. When the pressure eases, so will progress, and eventually they will try to roll the gains back.
Couriers in Nottingham and elsewhere should not let themselves get too demoralised by this decision by Nottingham couriers. Nationally, and in Nottingham, Bristol, York, Horsham, London, and elsewhere, we are more organised than we were a few months ago. In many of those places we have won small victories. We can build from this to more sustained and impactful strikes, winning yet more gains, winning our bigger demands. The second issue of our bulletin, Puncture, should be out before mid-May.
Tube workers strike on jobs and safety
Train maintenance workers on London Underground will strike from 7 a.m. on 17 May to 7 a.m. on 20 May, to demand their bosses abandon a plan to extend train preparation schedules.
London Underground trains are currently "prepped" (i.e., have full safety checks performed) on a 24-hourly basis. Tube bosses want to extend this schedule by varying degrees across different lines - some to 96 hours, some to 28 days, and some to an "MOT"-style system that could see trains go months without being fully prepped. Tube union RMT argues that these plans will affect safety and could put passengers and other staff at risk, as well as posing a threat to train maintenance workers' jobs.
Workers are also undertaking action-short-of-strikes, including a refusal to lone work, a refusal to work without a fire warden present, and a refusal to deliver or participate in training for work outside of their substantive roles. Rank-and-file socialist bulletin Tubeworker has been arguing for the dispute to be broadened out to other grades of workers. Some RMT branches have already called for Tube drivers to be balloted for strikes on this issue.
Reclaim May Day for workers’ struggle!
Three strikes took place this May Day, 1 May: Addison Lee cab drivers at Luton Airport, organised by the IWGB; outsourced workers at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, organised by PCS; and drivers on the London Tramlink, organised by Aslef. May Day, International Workers' Day, has historically been a celebration of workers' struggle.
Unfortunately, the London May Day parade has shrunk to a small, desultory gathering mainly attended by ultra-Stalinist sects and cults, who march behind enormous banners of dictators. If the small trend of unions organising strikes on May Day continues, this could represent an opportunity to reinvigorate May Day as a celebration of struggle, rather than a day out for gulag fantasists.