Speech to mass meeting

These are the notes of my speech to RMT's mass meeting about the jobs/pay/justice dispute at the start of July:

Three things: 1. recognise the effectiveness and importance of the strike 2. argue that we can not settle for what is on the table now 3. stress that what we do next must be what you as reps - and your members - want us to do

1. A fantastic 48 hours

  • regained our dignity by standing up to management
  • despite small amount of scabbing (whihc always happens), it was solid and effective
  • we caused massive disruption - not because we like to but because we had to
  • all this despite barrage of pressure eg. management propaganda; negative press coverage
  • public not as hostile as you may think - hundreds of messages of support via website; handful of abusive ones; tube strike support group set up
  • thanks and respect to all in this room who worked so hard via branch, strike committee, etc
  • had an effect - management use to us calling off strikes at the last minute; this time we saw it through; they made concession both before and after the strike

2. Concessions not enough. Previous speakers covered issues of Jobs and Justice, so on pay ...

  • 1.5% is a real-terms pay cut, year 2 even worse
    • food and non-alcoholic beverages going up 7.8%
    • fuel 9.7%
    • gas 23.5%
    • leisure 5.6%
  • inflation figure lower than this because prices of new cars and flat-screen TVs going down
  • you can probably get through the next year without a new car or flat-screen TV, but not without food and fuel
  • no offer from managements on our claims for improved conditions eg. guaranteed job on medical redeployment; more family-friendly policies; staff travel facilities
  • we are told that other workers are having to 'tighten their belts', but recent pay awards:
    • HBOS 4.25%
    • Lloyds TSB 4%
    • Hitachi 4.2% from 1 January + 3% from 1 April
  • LU tells us it 'can't afford' to give us a decent pay rise - but it can afford:
    • 163 x salaries over £100k
    • Tribunal payouts averagining £4,300 per day
    • TfL paying consultants £15m in one section alone

3. So we can't settle, so what should we do?

  • Previous speakers explained how industrial action brings progress
  • If enough people in this room say we should go ahead with more strikes, then that's what we should do
  • Can't make people do that if they are not willing
  • Options:
    • wait and see how further talks go? Danger: lose momentum
    • action short of strikes?
    • referendum?
  • I've spoken/listened to lots of you, and got different feedback from different areas
  • The main thing is that you all have your say - say what you don't want the union to do, but also say what you do want the union to do.
  • RMT is not - or should not be - an elected dictatorship
  • Should discuss different ideas today, then vote on what to do
  • My view: What we can not do is accept what we are being offered now