|Three Day Tube Strike To Go Ahead|
Mayor condemns 'incomprehensible' industrial action
The first of two 72-hour strikes by RMT workers at failed Tube company Metronet has gone ahead this Monday after the union did not receive the guarantees on jobs, transfers and pensions they were seeking.
Services will start to deteriorate later in the afternoon and the impact of the strike will be felt through until Friday morning if a settlement is not reached. The strikes are likely to have a significant 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.
RMT general secretary Bob Crow said last Friday, "Frankly our members are being asked to stake their jobs and their pensions on a pig in a poke. The only assurances we have received about jobs and transfers cover only the period of administration, and that is simply not good enough. "
The two other unions who were originally involved in the dispure, TSSA and Unite, were happy to accept the assurances given and cancelled their industrial action.
The Mayor, Ken Livingstone disputes that the Metronet workers have not been given the assurances they asked for and described the strike as 'incomprehensible.' He said, "With clear assurances from the Administrator and Metronet that there will be no job cuts, transfers or losses in pensions as a result of the collapse of Metronet, and my clear commitments for the future security of all Metronet staff, it would be unreasonable to proceed with strikes which will disrupt the lives of millions of Londoners and lose Metronet employees considerable sums in pay."
Lindsey German, the Respect Party's London Mayoral candidate, joined striking tube workers at a picket line. She said, "I am proud to stand alongside the tube workers, who are some of London's most dedicated workers, in their fight against the failed privatisation policies of New Labour and Ken Livingstone. I make this pledge to the tube workers and all Londoners that, if I am elected, I will rip up private contracts and bring London's transport system back into the democratic control of the elected members of London."
LU Chief Operating Officer, Mike Brown said: ""It is clearly unreasonable to proceed with a strike when all of the trades unions’ concerns have been met, and without the RMT informing us what they seek to achieve.
Brian Cooke, Chairman of London TravelWatch, said "The Trade Unions have had letters from the Mayor, Transport for London and both Metronet and their Administrators giving them all the assurance they asked for. We fail to understand what more the unions want. The RMT's opposition to any form of privatisation is well known but, with the recent announcement by TfL that they intended to bid to acquire Metronet’s maintenance operation, the job security of Metronet workers involved is bound to be more secure. This strike seems to us to be totally pointless with no possible winners and the long suffering passengers being the greatest loser."
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.
September 3, 2007