Get Ready For Pay Fight

by Steve Hedley, RMT London Transport Regional Council Secretary

Talks start soon about your next pay rise. You deserve a decent rise, and your union, RMT, is determined to fight for that.

You need 20% more money to fill up. The staples of life - bread, rice, milk, other food - are rocketing in price. According to the Daily Telegraph, food prices are accelerating at their fastest rate since records began, increasing the average family’s annual shopping bill by £750.

Gas is up nearly 40%. Even the tame BBC News runs critical reports on the profiteering energy companies paying out massive dividends to shareholders at our expense. The government refuses to levy a windfall tax on them; Gordon Brown refuses to help pensioners and the impoverished pay their bills. Age Concern tells us that this year, 750,000 more pensioner households could be in ‘fuel poverty’.

The business leaders, money men and politicians continue their lavish lifestyles unaffected by their own mistakes.

Our pay should not only meet these expenses but also bring a real improvement in our lives. Your union will demand a pay deal which meets the real increase in our cost of living and not just the RPI (Retail Price Index), which does not truly reflect the staggering extra amount that working people have to pay out.

We should reject any attempt to handcuff us with a multi-year deal that takes away our trump card of negotiating in the run-up to the Olympics.

Your union will campaign hard for a decent pay rise. We plan to win the battle of ideas, and are willing to strike if necessary.


by Vaughan Thomas, RMT London Transport Regional Council President

The media often accuses Tube workers of being overpaid and under worked.

But they fail to consider the unsocial hours: starting at 4.45am, finishing at 01.30; working weekends; being at work when our friends and family are out celebrating.

We don’t get paid these wages because Tim O’Toole and Boris Johnson are nice people. The only reason we get a half-decent wage is because we have a strong union that has fought for years to improve wages and conditions.

Capitalism is in crisis: banks collapsing, national economies in recession, rampant inflation, rising unemployment. As always when capitalism is squeezed, it’s workers who suffer. As Londoners we face the highest prices in the UK.

It’s crucial that all grades stand shoulder-to-shoulder to get a decent wage increase. LUL’s wage anniversary isn’t until next April, but there’s no time to waste. We won’t hang around for months while LUL considers ‘what they can afford’. Productivity has increased, we are carrying more passengers than ever, so we deserve a proper wage rise. And we should have it in April.

RMT will be organising special meetings to discuss what we want from the wage talks. Look out for the meeting notices, and let your reps know how you feel.

Whatever you do, Get Involved!