Tube Strike: April 2012

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GB

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RMT press release

TUBE UNION RMT today confirmed 72 hours of strike action following a four to one vote in a ballot of Tube Lines staff in support of a dispute over pensions and benefits justice.

Following a decision of the union’s executive all RMT members have been instructed to take strike action as follows: to stop work at 16:00hrs on Tuesday 24 April 2012 and return to work for shifts starting after 16:00hrs on Friday 27 April 2012.


RMT has been demanding that all Tube Lines staff, including ex-Alstom staff at Stratford Market depot and the Emergency Response Unit, be allowed to join the TfL Pension Scheme and receive the same travel concessions as those who work for LUL, including former Metronet staff. The union call for justice has been on the agenda ever since London Underground took over Tube Lines as part of the rescue operation after the failure of the tube privatisation project


Parity would bring Tube Lines staff free travel within London and 75 per cent of the cost of travel on the mainline railway – the concession that all Tube staff, including ex-Metronet people, already get.


Tube Lines staff are responsible for both maintenance and upgrade work on the Jubilee line, Northern line and Piccadilly line. They also provide a number of services across the network including the Emergency Response Unit (ERU), Distribution Services and Trans Plant meaning that the action by staff will have a serious and widespread impact across the system as well as raising serious safety concerns if management attempt to run services without proper emergency cover. RMT reps will be closely monitoring the safety environment.


RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:


“RMT members have delivered a massive mandate for action following a straightforward demand for parity with other Tube staff. This dispute is about justice and about ensuring that all groups of staff under the umbrella of London Underground receive the same rights and benefits and our members have no choice but to strike to secure those basic rights.”


“We have gone through all the negotiating channels but Tube Lines has refused to budge and have refused to engage in meaningful talks and that pig-headed approach has raised the temperature on the shop floor and has resulted in this strike action being called.


“Former Metronet employees have been allowed back into the TfL Pension Fund (TfLPF) and now also have the same travel facilities as other LUL employees.


“Tube Lines is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Transport for London and there is simply no excuse for refusing to give equal pension and pass rights.


“The union remains ready to talk, and the strong mandate for this industrial action shows Tube Lines and TfL the depth of anger there is over this blatant lack of fairness and justice.”



ENDS
 
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Tomonthetrain

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I can see the point of Bob Crow in that it is wholly unfair that one set of staff get less benefits then other staff because of the failed privatisation attempt. One lot gets all the perks whereas the others don't, where is the fairness of that? It causes significant loss of team working and I for one agree with their point of view.
 

calc7

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Time to find my nearest Boris Bike docking station.
 

Oswyntail

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"Fairness" I can understand. But "Justice" is rather an OTT word to apply I think. RMT are not defending the blooded barricades of freedom.
 

Xenophon PCDGS

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"Fairness" I can understand. But "Justice" is rather an OTT word to apply I think. RMT are not defending the blooded barricades of freedom.

It always seems the policy to include emotive words such as the one that you describe in press releases, as it is viewed as adding something extra to their case, when viewed.

Very many years ago in the early 1960's, I remember a rather staunch trades union leader making reference to his members "aspirations" and someone saying that the vast majority of the normal membership of the union concerned would not know what an "aspiration" was...:roll:
 

Ivo

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For once, I think Bob has a point. But surely a fairer - if more controversial - means of bringing parity would be to reduce the benefits the others get? For one thing, what do they need (or do to warrant) a Priv [equivalent] for?

But to strike for 72 hours is way too far. Striking at all is unreasonable, neevr mind for this kind of period!
 

GB

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Striking as a whole is not unreasonable.

What will reducing benefits to the rest of the staff achieve? As far as I can see that will just shift the issue to the other side of the employees and there will be alot more will power for strike action for perk/benefit loses than there would be for gains.
 

tsr

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Does anyone else agree that this sort of action is simply more likely to make tube workers and their unions more unpopular with their customers, and thereby reduce the sympathy of pretty much the city's whole population?

Striking does make sure that the public know that union members are rather angry/upset/disagreeing about something, and they may have a fair point (as they probably do in this case), but it seems a bit OTT to alienate yourself from the rest of London because your colleagues get a bigger discount on some train tickets, amongst other things.

On a separate note, I wonder if Francis Maude will tell us all to take some interesting precautions, such as maintaining the Tube ourselves, or hoarding all of the ERU's toolboxes, or something...

EDIT: Before anyone asks, yes, I did read the OP!
 

hluraven

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Does anyone else agree that this sort of action is simply more likely to make tube workers and their unions more unpopular with their customers, and thereby reduce the sympathy of pretty much the city's whole population?

I am sure those who read the Evening Standard would think that regardless, but anyone who actually understands the issue is likely to have a more balanced view.
 

NathanPrior

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The sooner Bob Crow leaves power the better, he has no clue what he's doing apart from making himself #1 enemy of the public, at this rate he'll be more hated than Nick Griffin.
 

tsr

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I am sure those who read the Evening Standard would think that regardless, but anyone who actually understands the issue is likely to have a more balanced view.

I actually haven't read the Standard's view on this, so I am sure you will agree that I personally have not been affected by their viewpoint. That said, I agree that they are probably going to be quite one-sided about this, presenting some rather predictable arguments.

One of my points is that in this case, the strike will be called due to disagreements over a number of issues, with ticket price reductions being a major factor. Now, your average Londoners will probably not appreciate the Tube network (something that is increasingly costly for them to use) being shut down because the workers want lower-priced travel across the country. I am not saying that the workers do not deserve benefits, but I doubt that the significant travel discounts they demand will be well-received by the travelling public when the workers take this action over it.

The thing is, do they actually need the publics sympathy?

I am sure it would help. Since we live in a democratic state, the public influence the views of politicians, and the politicians will respond to this in one way or another, simply because anything that will risk London's Tube being severely disrupted for 72 hours or thereabouts will be of interest to them (to put it mildly).
 

mailman

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Oh how very convenient for Ken though...his mate calling a general strike right before the election in May.

So lets give everyone the same benefit and DROP the other bunches travel perks to the same level as those who are missing out. Then no one would be able to complain, after all they are all being treated equally.

BTW, while we are at it can someone explain why someone on a six figure union salary is allowed a council house?

Mailman
 

Bungle73

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It's not the drivers going on strike, it's the maintenance workers. Disruption to services will probably be minimal.
 

SWT_USER

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For once, I think Bob has a point. But surely a fairer - if more controversial - means of bringing parity would be to reduce the benefits the others get? For one thing, what do they need (or do to warrant) a Priv [equivalent] for?

But to strike for 72 hours is way too far. Striking at all is unreasonable, neevr mind for this kind of period!

Why should it be a race to the bottom? We should strive to improve working conditions not step back to the 19th Century.

That said I don't usually agree with Bob as I think he takes the **** with some of his demands but on this occasion I do. Good luck to those involved.
 

transportphoto

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I would be questioning how the tube could run if the Emergency Response Unit etc weren't available?
 

Oswyntail

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Why should it be a race to the bottom? We should strive to improve working conditions not step back to the 19th Century......
There are several elements in any employer/employee relationship. One main split is between working conditions and remuneration. This dispute appears to be about remuneration. To refer to it as a dispute about working conditions, and stepping "back to the 19th Century" is as daft as calling it a struggle for "justice".
And what will happen when the other groups feel aggrieved because their differentials have been eroded?
 

notadriver

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The sooner Bob Crow leaves power the better, he has no clue what he's doing apart from making himself #1 enemy of the public, at this rate he'll be more hated than Nick Griffin.

Nope. He just makes sure RMT members get decent pay and working conditions. The only reason for the 'hatred' is the jealousy by others. Quite frankly - tough.
 

ainsworth74

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Hmmm, yeah, I was under the impression that tube drivers were ASLEF members, not, RMT??

Most will probably be ASLEF (just like on National Rail) but a few will be represented by RMT (again just like on National Rail) and of course some others are probably not represented by a Union at all.

I have to say these sorts of disputes are one's that I don't have much of an issue with. It's about fairness and I agree it isn't really fair that some people with the same or similar jobs within now what is a unified company have different compensation schemes so it makes sense to try and unify them. However, I as always do take issue with strike action where the only real outcome will be the annoyance and alianation of the travelling public.
 

ainsworth74

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The only reason for the 'hatred' is the jealousy by others. Quite frankly - tough.

Ah yeah of course it has nothing to do with the fact that during strikes people will be late to work, not able to get to work at all, have to make alternative arrangements for their travel, have travel on trains that might be even more crowded than normal all whilst paying more for their fares than ever before. That can't have anything to do with the dislike of Bob Crow can it?
 

SWT_USER

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There are several elements in any employer/employee relationship. One main split is between working conditions and remuneration. This dispute appears to be about remuneration. To refer to it as a dispute about working conditions, and stepping "back to the 19th Century" is as daft as calling it a struggle for "justice".
And what will happen when the other groups feel aggrieved because their differentials have been eroded?

It was more of a general point. I think it's fair that people doing the same jobs for the same orgsanisation should get the same benefits. That should be done by raising the remuneration of those at the bottom not the other way round.
 

tsr

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Most will probably be ASLEF (just like on National Rail) but a few will be represented by RMT (again just like on National Rail) and of course some others are probably not represented by a Union at all.

I have to say these sorts of disputes are one's that I don't have much of an issue with. It's about fairness and I agree it isn't really fair that some people with the same or similar jobs within now what is a unified company have different compensation schemes so it makes sense to try and unify them. However, I as always do take issue with strike action where the only real outcome will be the annoyance and alianation of the travelling public.

Ah yeah of course it has nothing to do with the fact that during strikes people will be late to work, not able to get to work at all, have to make alternative arrangements for their travel, have travel on trains that might be even more crowded than normal all whilst paying more for their fares than ever before. That can't have anything to do with the dislike of Bob Crow can it?

Yes, that is perhaps part of what I was trying to say earlier on in the thread. And it's not just a dislike of Bob Crow - it'll turn into a rather vicious dislike of those employed to provide a public service but, in the eyes of their customers, aren't really doing their job, or are at least threatening rather strongly not to.
 
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