Members of the RMT union on the London Underground have voted by 76% in favour of strike action against job cuts, and by 88% in favour of action short of a strike.
As LU bosses seek to cut any corner possible in order to save money, 800 station workers' jobs are on the line. Such workers are vital to maintaining both the safety and quality of the service on the Underground, both of which will suffer massively if bosses succeed in laying the workers off. RMT general secretary Bob Crow said:
“Less than two weeks after the Potters Bar inquest delivered the damning verdict that cuts to maintenance works, staffing and inspection frequencies create the lethal conditions that lead to avoidable loss of life, LU management have clearly learnt nothing and are burning up safety agreements almost by the day in the dash for cuts.
“RMT members have sent a clear message in this ballot that they will not sit by while the tracks are turned into a death trap and our tube stations and platforms are left unstaffed and at the mercy of muggers, vandals and other criminal elements.
“Boris Johnson cannot wash his hands of the crisis that is unfolding on London Underground on his watch. While his managers are ripping up the safety regulations the Mayor himself is ripping up his promises to Londoners on safe staffing levels and no amount of bluster can get him off that hook. We will now use this mandate for action to build up a campaign of industrial, political and public pressure to block the all out assault on tube jobs and safety.”
Bob Crow: not on a worker’s wage!
The recent revelation that RMT leader Bob Crow has taken a 12% pay increase (bringing his pay to well over £100,000) is a gift for the right-wing press and their hate campaign against unions.
But we can't let the Tory papers dictate the terms of this debate; we should be making our own positive case for union officials to be paid the average wage of the workers they were elected by. Tabloid attacks on Crow are part of a general demonisation of him as a “militant” — a label we should all wear with pride. But his and other union leaders' staggeringly-high levels of pay are scandalous.