Fixed term contract CSA`s - Fight for your future!

Questions and answers for fixed-term contract CSAs about the upcoming strike ballots

Q: What are RMT's upcoming ballots?

RMT is launching two ballots for industrial action. One ballot, which covers all grades of LU staff, is for industrial action in our campaign for a decent pay settlement and proper compensation for moving to 24-hour running ("Night Tube"). The other three Tube unions, ASLEF, TSSA, and Unite, will also be balloting their members on these issues and we are working towards coordinated action.
The other ballot, which will be of station grades members only, is part of our "Every Job Matters" campaign against the company's "Fit for the Future" cuts.
RMT is balloting for strikes because our strength as workers is most fundamentally expressed when we withdraw our labour. Our management is hell-bent on imposing a paltry pay deal, ripping up agreements to bring in 24-hour running, and job cuts, displacements, and the imposition of anti-social rosters. They are not prepared to negotiate reasonably, and as such, our only recourse is to withhold the eight hours of labour we sell them each day.

Q: What has this got to do with me?

LU has hired you on a fixed-term contract so it can cynically use you while it transitions to its new staffing model. The future LU has in store for all station staff is a future with de-staffed stations, lone working, "cover weeks" where we could be sent to work almost anywhere without any notice, and a de-skilled workforce: CSA1s will be expected to perform ticketing duties on POMs previously performed by SAMFs in ticket offices for £6,000 more per year, and CSA2s will do gateline work currently done by CSA1s, again for £6,000 less.
Ask yourself if that sounds appealing. Ask yourself if you are looking forward to working in those conditions. These fights are about nothing less than the future of the job, and your future as a worker in it. RMT has pushed the company all along to give fixed-term CSAs permanent contracts; we will continue to demand that through our current strikes.
One of the upcoming ballots is part of our 2015 pay claim. A strong strike makes it more likely we will win a better pay deal. That could force the wages of the "lowest" station grades (the current CSA grade, and the proposed new "CSA1" and "CSA2" grades) up. Some fixed-term CSAs are worried about being offered CSA2 jobs when their contract expires, resulting in a £6,000 pay cut. It is possible that the company will try to do this, but the way to fight pay cuts is to strike for higher pay.

Q: Can I join the union and strike?

Yes. Every worker has a legal right to join a union. If you join the RMT, you will be included in our upcoming ballots. It is your right as a union member to participate in official industrial action, and it is illegal for the company to penalise you or discriminate against you in any way for being in a union, or for participating in strikes.
You have these rights from day one of your employment. Being a new starter, on probation, or on a fixed-term contract makes no difference. In previous strikes, many members struck during probation, and some even struck during their training. None of them suffered any detriment.

Q: I'm worried that, if I strike, the company will not keep me on when my contract expires, or give me a
permanent contract on worse terms and conditions. What should I do?

Our only strength is our collective action and solidarity. One of the upcoming ballots is part of RMT's dispute against job cuts. As part of this campaign, we are demanding more jobs, for existing
vacancies to be filled, and for all fixed-term contract CSAs to be given permanent posts at their current grades. The stronger the strike, the more chance we have of forcing the company to listen to us. You can help make the strike stronger by taking part in it.
Once again, it is illegal for any employer to discriminate against against a worker for being part of a union, or for taking part in official industrial action.
No-one can make promises about the future, and we realise there's a lot of uncertainty. The only guarantee we can make is that we give ourselves the best chance of getting what we want, including permanent contracts for fixed-term CSAs, if we stand together and fight.
RMT will not let LU take hostages or create casualties in these disputes. It is not in the culture of our union to settle disputes if there are outstanding issues of victimisation or discrimination against our members. If any fixed-term contract CSAs is victimised for their participation in strikes, they will have the full force of the RMT backing them up.

Q: If I keep my head down and don't strike, won't that mark me out as loyal, and a hard worker? Won't that make the company more likely to keep me on, and at a higher grade?

Bosses only make concessions when they feel under pressure. Ask yourself what is more likely to create more pressure: a mass strike, or individual fixed-term contract CSAs working through that strike and hoping to be noticed by their managers?
The very fact that the company has employed you on a fixed-term contract at all, and kept you in a state of nervous uncertainty about your future, should tell you something about the mindset of LU bosses. This isn't school; the teachers aren't going to reward good behaviour.
LU will make concessions, including creating more permanent jobs, if we force them to, by fighting them with every means at our disposal, including striking. You must choose whether you want to be part of that fight.
Striking is an act of resistance, and any kind of resistance requires bravery and resolve. We know that joining the fight isn't easy when there's so much uncertainty hanging over you. But if you join RMT and join the fight, you will be part of a mass organisation of working people fighting collectively for a better future for all of us. We will not abandon you, we will not leave you behind.
We cannot make promises about the future. If we fight, we may not win. But if we do not fight, or if some of us choose to leave the fight to others, we will surely lose.