Aslef launch ballot; vote yes, build the fightback!

Posted in Tubeworker's blog on Fri, 31/07/2020 - 14:56,
A photograph of a ballot paper with a pencil marking an "X" in one of the boxes

Aslef has announced an industrial action ballot of their LU membership, closing on 17 September.

They wrote to LU seeking "unequivocal commitment to adhering to the agreed Machinery of Negotiation and Health and Safety Machinery and to confirm that they will not impose any changes to our members terms and conditions of employment or to the Trains Framework agreement or any other agreement reached with ASLEF at any level of the machinery without the specific agreement of ASLEF."

As the commitment wasn't forthcoming, they're now balloting. Tubeworker encourages all Aslef members to vote yes.

Aslef is right not to wait for attacks and then respond reactively. They're getting out on the front foot and balloting to press a positive demand. The demand itself is perhaps somewhat lacking in ambition, as merely demanding the bosses adhere to the existing collective bargaining machinery is hardly going to set the world alight. We should demand material improvements as well as defending what we already have.

As a sectional union with a compact and cohesive membership, Aslef has a pretty good record of hitting ballot thresholds and will likely do so in this ballot too. RMT faces greater challenges in terms of returning a ballot, with its much larger membership across all grades and jobs, but those challenges simply must be met. Other unions need to get on a war footing and launch their own disputes and ballots as soon as possible. Some creative thinking is necessary about how to take effective industrial action with many workers still furloughed and TfL's revenue already on the floor, but that's a challenge that must be risen to as well.

RMT has already demanded a commitment from LU that it won't propose cuts as part of the KPMG-led finance and governance audit. That commitment hasn't been forthcoming either... it's time for a cross-union fightback.

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