Power control workers on London Underground began an eight-day strike on Tuesday 1 July.
Workers are resisting attacks on terms and conditions, and want conditions for formerly-outsourced workers to be levelled-up. Members of the RMT, TSSA, and Unite unions are participating in the strike.
London Underground station staff are also discussing the possibility of taking further action in their ongoing jobs dispute, as talks have found LU bosses desperate to weasel out of a commitment they made not to cut pay for workers affected by their planned reorganisation of the staffing model. The RMT union remains opposed to the company’s plan to cut 953 jobs and close 270 ticket offices.
As Solidarity went to press, cleaners employed by ISS on London Underground were back in talks with their management, as RMT members resist the introduction of “biometric fingerprinting” machines the company wants workers to use to book on for shifts.
A boycott of the machines by workers has pushed back implementation several times. Cleaners’ reps say they believe strikes will be necessary to get ISS to abandon the plan.
RMT removes support for People's Pledge
The RMT union held its AGM in Bristol 22-27 June.
A resolution calling on the Labour Party to make a clear general election commitment to bringing the railway back into public ownership carried unanimously.
Delegates resolved that RMT should use all available channels to press for this demand, and work with fellow unions in the “Action for Rail” campaign in the run up to the General Election.
However, within the week, the shadow chancellor Ed Balls told the BBC’s Andrew Marr “I don't want to go back to the nationalisation of the 1970s” and “I don’t think we want to go back to the British Rail of the 70s”. “Let’s have a competitive process on a level playing field but without ideology. We’re not going to say this is about nationalisation or privatisation.”
A resolution to withdraw RMT support from the People’s Pledge carried after a convincing argument that the Pledge was wrong not only because it put RMT in alliance with many Tory, Unionist, and UKIP pro-cuts, anti-trade union MPs, but because it would likely help UKIP candidates get elected and the Conservative Party win the election.
An appeal to the AGM against a decision by the Council of Executives to remove all reference to the Labour Party from the rulebook fell.
After a lively exchange of views, delegates voted to support an essentially pro-Assad resolution on Syria that called on the AGM to express its solidarity with the General Federation of Trade Unions of Syria, a nominally independent organisation that is funded by the government and closely linked to the ruling party.
An appeal against a decision by the Council of Executives on fracking (hydraulic fracturing) was lost. The AGM voted not to support “Green Bans”, a remarkable form of environmental activism initiated by the progressive Builders Labourers Federation in Australia in the 1970s, and regarded by many as one of the most imaginative and creative workers’ actions in the past 50 years.
In the decision, the AGM also agreed to uphold a double-edged policy to oppose fracking and at the same time support the transportation of any by-product of fracking.
Ritzy workers strike again
Workers at the Ritzy cinema have now taken seven days of strike action and are calling for a complete boycott of the Picturehouse chain.
They are striking again on Sunday 6 July. Their union, BECTU, has called a national demonstration of all cinema workers for in solidarity on Thursday 17 July, 1 pm BFI South Bank to 4 pm GLA Tower Bridge.