Stations Job Cuts: What Now?

Posted in Tubeworker's blog on Wed, 20/04/2011 - 12:34,

It seems increasingly clear that the stations job cuts reviews will only retrieve a handful of station jobs. Management don't want to listen to the unions' case, and are unmoved by whatever solid arguments union negotiators throw at them. Why would they listen?! They don't care about 'customer service', safety or staff morale, and facing no strikes since November, they feel under little pressure.
The months since the job cuts were implemented have been hard work: anti-social rosters, the stress of too few staff, and incidents like the one at Putney Bridge (see article).
Tubeworker and others argued that the unions should have escalated strike action in order to stop the job cuts coming in. But RMT and TSSA did not call longer strikes before Christmas when they could have had real impact, and when the majority of RMT branches and our new Executive representative, Janine Booth, proposed a 48-hour strike in January, the union's Executive voted it down, and TSSA also shied off action.
Those who opposed striking in January said that if the reviews delivered little, then the unions could strike again. That time is now upon us - so will they advocate strikes? Tubeworker and others said in January that it was then or never: staff were unlikely to be willing to strike against job cuts after they had happened.
We could say 'We told you so', but we also need to work out what to do now. The unions could call more strike dates, capitalising on staff's anger, but there is obviously nothing like the appetite that produced last year's four spectacular strike days. But strike action might save some jobs out of these reviews.
We could put on 'action short of strike', such as refusing to comply with line cover or enhanced AFM functionality, all new practices designed to help management cut jobs. This could up the pressure on management while ACAS talks over the jobs reviews are taking place.
Tubeworker does not claim that we can continue our fight against job cuts now as if the momentum had never been broken. We think we should fight these appalling job cuts as long as we have a realistic chance of achieving something. To those who urged us to call off our action before and who recommend we call it off now, what do you argue as a strategy for saving jobs on the stations?

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