Thinking outside the box in Tube fight

Submitted by Matthew on 15 January, 2014 - 12:40

Tube workers will strike on 4-6 and 11-13 February in a fight to stop ticket office closures and job losses.

A worker and RMT activist spoke to Solidarity about the dispute.

It’s definitely positive that we got a solid yes vote. Between now and the strikes we need to organise in the workplace to give people confidence.

We’re already showing we have a strategy and a plan, and that includes some types of action which are outside the experience of the employer.

The revenue strike is about thinking outside the box, and maximising the impact of the action. There’s a political impact with this action, as it’ll be popular with passengers, and it gives members the opportunity to take part in action which is accessible and doesn’t require them to lose too much straight away. It’s also something relatively new and experimental. We may find other new forms of creative action.

It’s also significant that we’re starting each strike at midday, which spreads a 48-hour strike across three days. Again, that’s about maximising impact. Essentially we’re talking about guerrilla tactics. It’s a war with the employer, and we want to use tactics and strategies that are harder for the bosses to defend against. We should be looking to escalate after the two 48-hour strikes.

The public campaign is about reaching out to people who might not automatically engage with workers’ struggles, but who understand this as an attack on public transport and don’t want services cut, don’t want an unsafe transport system, and don’t want to use this supermarket model that London Underground managers seem to want. What happens in Tesco when the automatic self-service machines don’t work? You still need someone to come and assist you.

The public campaign is also about showing our members that the wider public is on their side. It’ll give workers greater confidence if there are supporters leafleting at stations, or passengers walking through saying they support what we’re doing.

We also need a public campaign to counter the propaganda that’ll come through the right-wing media, and show working-class people that cuts are not the only option.

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