'RMT London Calling': Solid Stand for Safe Staffing!

Click '1 attachment'/ file name to download the post-strike issue of our newsletter, featuring 'the strike in pictures'. Read the lead article below.

RMT salutes the solid support of members for the joint action with sister union TSSA on Monday evening and Tuesday. Respect also to those members of ASLEF who respected picket lines and joined the action. Together, we have successfully turned the spotlight on cuts to safe staffing levels and ratcheted up the pressure on both London Underground management and Boris Johnson to drop their job-cutting plans.

RMT and TSSA members picketed around 100 workplaces, including many dozens of stations. The action reduced the service to a bare minimum and closed loads of stations. Pickets distributed tens of thousands of leaflets to passengers. Despite being inconvenienced, most passengers understood and supported our action. This has also been reflected in opinion polls, and in the large volume of messages of support sent to RMT.

London opposes these staffing cuts. A majority of Greater London Assembly (GLA) members oppose the job cuts. The day after the strike, the Tories walked out of a GLA meeting to stop it passing a resolution to withdraw the cuts. This proves that it is the job-cutters who are undemocratic. It also proves that we are winning the argument for safe staffing levels, and that if we keep up the pressure, we can successfully defend them.

We are now continuing our campaign with an indefinite overtime ban for both unions. LU relies on overtime to cover for its deliberate understaffing of stations, so as we refuse to do it, stations will close, work will not get done, and the company will have to face the consequences of de-staffing.

The unions are also considering adding other forms of action, or reviewing the action they have already called. So please make sure that your rep knows your views and ideas.

RMT has repeated its calls for meaningful talks to begin but has made it clear that it is impossible to have constructive discussions while cuts are already being smuggled in via the back door, and while the job cuts programme (OSP) is still going ahead. LU must withdraw the job cuts.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:

“RMT and TSSA members have shown through their solid support for this week’s strike action, and the indefinite overtime ban, that they will not sit idly by while staffing levels are hacked to the bone and management turn the tube system into a death trap through their dash for cuts.

“LU bosses have admitted through the course of the strike that there are far worse cuts to come this autumn and we already have examples of fleet and track maintenance schedules being ripped apart. “The LU claim that they are not planning to run unstaffed stations have been exposed as bogus. We already have examples of stations being run unstaffed on a regular basis in contravention of all safety practice and that scandal will escalate as management try and smuggle their cuts in via the back door though the non-filling of vacancies.

“Staffing levels are already at critical point and the talks must be reconvened on the basis that the backdoor introduction of cuts without negotiation and without agreement is brought to a halt. This on-going dispute is about the long-term future of a safe and secure tube system – these finance-driven, piecemeal cuts are a disaster waiting to happen.”