London Underground signal workers have voted roughly 70% in favour of a new deal over the working week, pay and job cuts. The 30% “no” vote was significant for the RMT, where going against a recommended deal is not usual.
Signal operators and control staff were supposed to strike on New Year’s Eve and 4 January. RMT called off the action after the deal was struck.
The issues were:
- Shorter working week. Signal workers got their 35 hour week but there are strings — changes in duty lengths to give more “flexible” rostering, including 12-hour turns at weekends and relief staff duties changed with just 48 hours notice.
- Pay. Signal workers wanted parity with drivers. They have an increase but it is not parity. Signal operator grades have also been split into three levels. It is divisive to have different people paid different rates for doing the same job.
It is important now that signal workers organise themselves. They are not, at present organised as a group. They need to be, alongside participating in ordinary Underground RMT branches.