Talks 'Progress' at Snail's Pace

Posted in Tubeworker's blog on Mon, 22/06/2009 - 09:12,

Funnily enough, talks seem to slow down to a snail's pace when industrial action is finished and no further action is yet called. In the couple of days running up to our excellent two-day strike, management were prepared to sit down with union negotiators for so many hours each day it would break any Framework Agreement, but now it is over, they are much more elusive!

It is fair enough for the union to give time for talks before naming more action, but management need to know that if they can't be bothered to have meaningful negotiations, then Tube (and TfL) workers are ready and willing to take action again.

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The problem with taking up multiple issues in one ballot is that as soon as you get progress on one, the pressure is on to settle despite lack of progress on the others.

So the five-year pay offer - which was always just a case of management trying it on - has been cut to two years. But the issue with pay is not just the length of the offer but the amount of money on the table, and 1% remains a real-terms pay cut, whether it is the first year of a two-year or a five-year deal. Managers continue to abuse sickness and disciplinary procedures, several of our workmates remain sacked or suspended in appalling injustices, and the company is still refusing to accept its policy of 'no compulsory redundancies' even though it is in black-and-white print.

Having gone into a dispute on three issue (wisely or not), we need a win on all three, not just a small step on one of them. RMT is quite right to pursue the dispute, but with multiple issues potentially causing confusion, needs more than ever to keep on explaining the issues.

(Still, at least this time it is just three issues - jobs, pay and justice - rather than last-year's nine-issue 'casualisation' dispute!)

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