Workers at various London Underground stations are balloting for strikes in a variety of disputes.
At Baker Street, workers are preparing to ballot to demand the reinstatement of CSA Mahoney, sacked after an outrageous abuse of the probation process. They are also demanding unnecessary disciplinary procedures against two workers, including the local RMT rep, be dropped.
On the Bakerloo South stations group RMT is preparing to ballot members for strikes against short staffing. The situation is now so acute that station staff report sometimes having to work on Oxford Circus’s busy exit gateline on their own during peak hours.
Short staffing is a growing epidemic across the whole job. Despite the 325 reversals we won to the “Fit for the Future” job cuts, there are simply not enough staff on stations to deal with the workload. As soon as any gaps appear in coverage, the staff that remain are having to bear the brunt. And with funding cut to the bone, management insist there’s no money to cover uncovered duties on overtime.
On the Special Requirements Team (SRT), staff are being used to do hourly security checks at stations such as Highbury and Islington, Canada Water, and Vauxhall. But these are fixed, regular station duties, rather than a “special requirement”. They should lead to additional jobs at the local station.
This, too, is a symptom of management’s penny-pinching; they want to (mis)use the SRT resource rather than create the additional jobs.
Our January 2017 strike on stations was magnificent, and proved to management that station staff have the power to stop the jobs. The concessions we won as a consequence were important. But since then, management have had nearly two years of industrial peace. Now’s the time to say: enough.
All of these issues are at various different stages, in terms of being progressed through the formal negotiating structures within the company. Some, like Baker Street and Bakerloo South, are on the verge of balloting for actions. Others are still being discussed.
But together, they are the first flickers of a potential fightback on stations; these sparks should be fanned into flames.
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