Submitted by Off The Rails on 15 June, 2007 - 5:03

What do you get for working faster and harder than you need to? The sack - if you're on the GrantRail/TrackWork contract with TubeLines, that is.

They were working to a 7½ year contract, but it was subject to annual review, and was completed in 3½ years. So, in the brave new world of Public-Private Partnerships and sub-contracting, up to 70 workers may get not a bonus or a Thanks To You, but a P45.

RMT has demanded that no new contractors are taken on while workers facing redundancy could do the work instead. But while GrantRail has indicated it is willing to agree to this, TubeLines has not. So skilled, experienced workers - some of whom have worked on the Tube for 15 years - face losing their jobs while new, inexperienced contract labour is taken on instead.

Rank-and-file union reps have been fighting hard, and successfully, to unionise contract workers. But situations like this throw them into a vicious circle - getting workers organised, improving their pay and conditions, only to see them kicked out and replaced by cheaper workers.

To break this cycle, the union must take immediate, decisive action against these redundancies. But initially at least, rank-and-file reps were disappointed by an apparently sluggish response from head office, with full-time officials unavailable to attend meetings with the company. Pressure from members, reps and their branch gave them a kick up the backside.

The union organised a protest outside TubeLines’ head office (pictured) and demanded a meeting with their top bosses.

Despite agreeing to that meeting, TubeLines allowed redundancies to go ahead and that very night, 31 workers were told not to bother coming to work from then on. Rumours have circulated since that TubeLines has identified 15, or 18 jobs for them. So, as OTR goes to press, the fight is still on. The union can and should put up a fight for a job for every worker involved.

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