Tube Workers To Stage Two Three-day Strikes

After failing to secure guarantees over jobs, conditions & pensions from administrator

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More than 2,300 members at beleaguered Metronet are to mount two 72-hour strikes after failing to secure guarantees over jobs, conditions and pensions from the bankrupt company’s administrator.

The Tube maintenance staff will walk off the job at 18:00 on Monday September 3 until 17:59 on Thursday September 6. The second stoppage will be between 18:00 on Monday September 10 and 17:59 on Thursday September 13.

The strikes will have a massive cumulative impact on Tube services on those lines maintained by Metronet including Central, District and Hammersmith & City, but the spill-over effect will disrupt the entire network.

During the first strike Metronet workers will demonstrate at the department for Transport in London on September 4 for an end to the part-privatisation of the Tube and for the return of infrastructure work to the public sector.

During their second stoppage they will also lobby the Trades Union Congress on Tuesday September 11 for support from fellow trade unionists.

"Our members voted by a huge margin to strike against the threat to their jobs, conditions and pensions following the collapse of Metronet, and they have made it clear that they wanted substantial and meaningful action," RMT general secretary Bob Crow said today.

"The bottom line is that they will not accept being made to pay for the failure of the PPP and the decision by Metronet's fat-cat shareholders to walk away from the contract, and that means no job losses, no forced transfers and no cuts in pension entitlements.

"Our members are the people who get out there and keep the Tube running seven days a week, and it is they who will deliver the improvement the network must have if it is to be up to the standard required by the 2012 Olympics.

"The PPP stands in the way of those improvements, and the time has come to return the work to the public sector where it belongs.

"Maintenance on the national railways has improved massively since it was brought back in-house, and that is the only sensible solution for the Tube as well," Bob Crow said.

Roger Evans, Chairman of the London Assembly Transport Committee and Conservative Assembly transport spokesman has condemned the RMT union over its decision saying “This is typically inflammatory action from the RMT leadership, designed to make a bad situation on the London Underground worse.

“They care nothing for the welfare of the travelling public. Their only concern is promoting their own narrow interests while the rest of London can go hang.

“It is important to note that despite Bob Crow’s claims that his members voted in favour of strike action ‘by a huge margin’, in fact 49% of his membership didn’t even bother to vote. Doesn’t sound like a huge margin to me.

“He has no mandate for this disruption, but what does a politically motivated, hard left union leader like Mr Crow care about that?

August 24, 2007