The tube workers’ dispute over staffing levels continues, with a further 24-hour strike planned over Sunday 28 and Monday 29 November. London Underground managers have gone on the offensive against the union with a series of victimisations against prominent reps. Eamonn Lynch, Arwyn Thomas and Peter Hartshorn have all been disciplined on trumped-up charges (Eamonn has been dismissed). RMT members in their areas have voted to ballot for strike action.
RMT London Transport’s London Calling newsletter reports on the status of the staffing levels dispute:
“RMT has been taking part in talks with London Underground at the arbitration service ACAS. Recently, this has taken the form of a ‘review’, where union reps have obtained information from LU managers about the facts and formulae behind the company’s jobcutting plans.
“This information provides more evidence that LU’s plans are irrational and dangerous. Health and safety reps have shown how safety standards would fall with the proposed, lower levels. And stations reps’ questions revealed that LU manufactured figures used to justify ticket office cuts by doubling the rate of ticket sales required to keep a ticket office open in any particular hour from 15 ticket sales per hour to 30! With the ‘review’ stage over, unions and management will restart negotiations aimed at resolving the dispute.
“RMT firmly believes that we are only making progress in talks because we are keeping up industrial action. To make the talks succeed — keep the action strong!”
“Less safe on poorly staffed stations”
The Greater London Assembly passed a motion opposing the job cuts on 20 October. Tube unions should fight for the elected GLA to impose its will on the unelected LU management!
“The London Assembly is opposed to Transport for London’s proposals to shed up to 800 ticket office and gateline jobs on London Underground. The number of stations which will be staffed by only one person working alone for some time will increase. Ticket machines alone are no replacement for the presence of trained Underground staff and the over reliance on ticket machines will disproportionately impact on those passengers who have a disability. This Assembly believes that passengers will feel less safe on poorly staffed stations particularly at early mornings and in late evenings. This Assembly urges Transport for London and its Chair, Mayor Boris Johnson, to review this decision and re-affirm reasonable and safe staffing levels right across the London Underground network to ensure passengers continue to receive excellent service from London Underground.”