TfL bosses claim that all the job cuts will be amongst 'backroom', admin staff - as though that makes it OK. If they meant that some of the overpaid fat cats at the top would be shown the door, then we could live with that, but that is most certainly not what they mean. In the firing line instead will be people who are part of all our joint effort to keep London's transport running, in finance, IT, human resources, procurement, legal and administration.
TfL says these jobs must go because of a £2.4billion 'black hole' in its financing. The government could fill that hole with an awful lot less money than it has already lavished on the banks - the institutions which, after all, brought about the economic crisis to start with.
TfL bosses would give no more detail of the financial problems to union officials. What have they got to hide? If the company is looking for solutions, it should open the books and let us have a look! We feel confident that workers could pore through the balance sheets and come up with some ideas. Top three on the list would be: undoing the fragmentation wrought by PPP and other privatisations; trimming the fat from the fat-cat salaries and bonuses; and demanding decent public funding for a public service.
The unions must fight these job cuts. As the recession sees thousands of jobs go every day, someone has to stand a stand and call a halt to the jobs carnage. We have the level of organisation and industrial muscle to put up a fight, so that's what we must do. We are in a stronger position than, for example, workers at Woolworths, for whom striking seemed pointless as the shops were shutting anyway. By contrast, London's transport is not a bankrupt private company and is not closing down. If we fight back, this could even help to unionise and galvanise workers in admin grades and so make us even stronger.
So it is disappointing to see that RMT's opening line is to declare that it will resist compulsory redundancies. Instead, it should pledge to resist the job cuts per se. It is not OK to lose 1,000 jobs so long as everyone goes voluntarily. What about those left behind with twice the workload? What about the frontline staff with less 'backroom' support? And what about extra unemployment?!
We will undoubtedly have to strike to stop this jobs carnage. Immediately, the unions should call protest actions, mobilising workers and winning public support.