RMT Tube station staff: Vote No to management’s inadequate offer

Posted in Tubeworker's blog on Wed, 18/01/2006 - 11:50,

Vote to Keep Up the Fight

RMT is asking its members to accept an offer from management which amounts to giving up our fight against staffing cuts for a few small concessions. Tubeworker urges readers to vote “No”.

If we accept this – if we call off our fight – then management will go through the motions of a ‘safety validation’ which might restore one SA here, one SS there, but which will not reverse the drastic cuts in staffing levels. Why would they reverse them if we take the pressure off?!

You don’t have to vote how the Executive wants you to – look at the example of DLR.

At least the Executive has made clear that if we reject this deal, they will organise more action. And the fact that the ballot of other grades is going ahead indicates that this is serious. But what we needed was to step up the action, not call it off.

The action we have taken so far were our first ever stations-only strikes. And station staff showed that we were up to the fight. Where it was strong, it was very very strong. On some groups, there was virtually no scabbing; on others, RMT memberhip has increased to its highest level in memory.

There are weak areas too. That’s what happens when the union keeps people in the dark about the issues for a year. But that can be put right – with more information, and with staff from the groups with bad rosters visiting other groups and explaining to their workmates why we need to fight. If we explain the issues, (some) people can be persuaded not to scab. Reps and activists have already convinced people who came in last time to strike next time.

The union should try to pull everyone up to the level of the strongest, rather than drag us down to the level of the weakest.

The RMT has made mistakes in this dispute so far, eg, striking on New Year’s Eve, not producing a leaflet for the public, not properly co-ordinating drivers to refuse to work on safety grounds. But that can not become an excuse to give up on a fight that still needs to be fought.

Management’s offer and what it means:

  • Restore half a dozen full-time SA posts on two groups. Nothing on any other groups.
  • Carry out a ‘safety validation’ process that might restore some other posts (or might not), and that reports several weeks after the new rosters have been imposed. Safety validating the stable door after the horse has bolted.
  • Some other minor concessions.

It’s not good enough.

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