Power workers’ strike on London Tube 100% solid, says RMT

RMT press release, issued today

THE FIRST of two 36-hour strikes by RMT shift ‘tester’ technicians responsible for finding and fixing faults on the London Tube’s power supply is 100 per cent solid, the network’s biggest union said today.

And it warned that if employer EDF Energy Powerlink is to avoid a second strike in two weeks’ time the company should negotiate seriously over their claim for pay parity with non-shift colleagues.

The union also raised concerns that managers, some of whom have not worked ‘on the tools’ for many years, were being left to deal with power-supply faults on dozens of different types of high-voltage equipment involving currents of up to 22,000 volts.

The strike, by 25 highly skilled technicians who voted for action by margins of more than ten to one, began at 17:59 on Sunday night (November 16) and will finish at 07:59 tomorrow (Tuesday November 18). A ban on working beyond scheduled duties also began yesterday.

“Our members have shown EDF Energy Powerlink very clearly how they feel about their claim for pay parity, and it is time for EDF to get off its high horse and talk,” RMT general secretary Bob Crow said today.

“The shift testers are simply seeking parity with non-shift colleagues who received a £3,000 rise for flexibility that is also demanded of shift workers, but whose basic pay is now £4,000 less.

“The shift testers have already seen their work-life balance turned upside down with a massive change in shift patterns, and now they expect their employer to display some flexibility too.

“Rather than recklessly letting loose managers who have been off the job for years on potentially lethal high-voltage kit, the company should be looking for ways to end this dispute

“We are happy to meet the company anywhere, any time to resolve this, but they cannot expect anyone to take them seriously if they plead poverty,” Bob Crow said.

ends

Note to editors: Shift testers are responsible for the highly skilled work of finding and fixing faults at London Underground’s 240 power sub-stations and maintaining the power supply.

In ballots that closed on October 28, RMT members voted by 21 to two for strike action and by 22 to one for action short of strikes. The second strike 36-hour strike is scheduled to start at 19:59 on Sunday December 7.

From Sunday, and (November 16), and until further notice the shift testers will also remain unavailable for work after the end of any turns of duty unless there is a direct and imminent danger to human life.

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