Stations and Metronet: Time to Fight Back

Posted in Tubeworker's blog on Sun, 25/09/2005 - 20:19,

- defend jobs - stop outsourcing - defend pensions -

Despite a few small concessions, the ‘new’ draft stations rosters are completely unacceptable. They will result in the displacement of staff; reduce staffing levels on stations, and so increase the level of stress, assault, and low morale.

It seems to us at Tubeworker than we should not be wasting our time trying to tinker with the rosters. LUL should withdraw these rosters and come back with rosters that give us a proper 35 hour week with no job cuts or displacements.

The trade unions have been too quiet on this issue, and it is high time that we started preparing for a dispute. LUL want the rosters in by the end of January 2006. We need to be balloting very soon.
Some people have got their heads stuck in the sand. They think that since the bombings LUL could never attack staff numbers so harshly.

Nothing could be further from the truth. LUL is dead set on getting these cuts implemented.

The time to fight is now. In three months’ time it will be way too late.

The RMT should declare a dispute. Functional reps should withdraw from any negotiations over the details of the rosters, and get back on the stations organising for action.

We need a well-thought-out, sustained campaign, not just one-off shows of strength.

The RMT needs to define what our demands are, ie. no displacements without agreement, no job cuts (except those explictly agreed in the deal ie. 200 SAMF posts), a 35 hour week for all without us having to pay for it.

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Metronet is waging war on its employees:

  • ‘outsourcing’ various functions ie. reprivatising stuff that has already been privatised;
  • ‘reorganisation’, bringing the loss of 285 jobs, including frontline, safety-related jobs;
  • barring new starters from joining the TfL Pension Fund;
  • failing to progress with the 35-hour week, and now trying to back out of it.

Enough is enough, and, not before time, RMT has decided to ballot Metronet members for strike action. Everyone should vote Yes.

To beat off this attack, the Metronet workforce will need to take effective action, not just protest gestures. Instead of a 24-hour strike, for which management will be able to rejig things to lessen the impact, we should be talking about, say, a week out.

With Metronet workers on strike, the Underground will not be able to operate safely, so LUL operational staff should be preparing to refuse to work on safety grounds.

We need regular mass meetings and workplace committees, so rank-and-file Metronet workers can drive this dispute and ensure that it is organised as effectively as possible.

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