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The Fightback Has Begun

Now we must co-ordinate the action Come to the meeting: 19 August, 6.30pm Friends House, Euston Road, opposite Euston station Speakers: Bob Crow, and reps from all the disputes

By Steve Hedley, RMT London Transport Regional Council Secretary

Massive congratulations are in order for the RMT members who have organised effective strike action recently.

Rickmansworth group station staff had a solid strike amongst members against compulsory transfers. Even TSSA members and non-members did not break the picket. Management had to resort to running trains through three unstaffed stations in a row saying that the new Rule Book does not specify the number of unstaffed stations that constitute a danger. The logical implication of this is that station staff are now not needed in order to run a safe service: this stupidity affects us all.

CBS Outdoor bill posters have had four days of rock-solid action at Blackhorse Road station depot over a final pay offer below the rate of inflation. Directors seemed close to tears when what amounted to a pay cut was rejected unanimously at mass meetings by the workers.

Charing Cross group staff stood their ground for a victimised colleague sacked for trying to stop an abusive drunk attacking him.

Cleaners have named new strike dates: from 05:30 on Thursday 21 August until Saturday 23 at 05:29, to continue their battle for the promised London living wage, dignity at work and basic human rights.

TubeLines workers are currently balloting for strike action on pay. With skyrocketing price rises - gas up 40%, electric up 15%, food and petrol going up almost daily, workers can’t afford to accept anything less than parity with their colleagues in Metronet who do the exact same jobs but for more money and enjoy the benefits of free travel and a TfL pension.

Waterloo group station staff are balloting on yet another sacking with a big yes vote expected from colleagues who know that they might well be next if they don’t stick together.

We are in the face of a management onslaught where all our grades are experiencing management abuse of the attendance procedure. People are being harassed for going sick, with phone calls being made to them in their sickbeds demanding to know when they will return to work.

Drivers, station staff, engineers, controllers and cleaners are facing the same outright bullying right across our region. This is not a series of unconnected events but clearly a strategy by management to reduce costs by intimidating the sick back to work. In one case, a manager sacked a member of staff after she had illnesses associated with pregnancy, incredibly justifying his actions by claiming that she might do it again! Many complaints of bullying and intimidation have been put in against the GSM on this group - he is an ex ASLEF rep whose name has become synonymous with outrageous treatment of staff. Needless to say, RMT is balloting East Ham group staff for action.

Meanwhile, RMT drivers are effectively being denied access to reps by LUL’s refusal to recognise the vast increase in RMT's membership and allocate more reps accordingly.

To win these disputes, we must co-ordinate our action to cause the greatest possible impact. Management can cope with disputes in isolated areas but not a whole region acting together. As your regional secretary, I implore you to attend the meeting and help the RMT help you.

Steve Hedley 07846-266934 stevehedley_18@hotmail.com