News from Tube workers

Submitted by JB on Thu, 14/04/2005 - 19:07.

Arnos Grove picket 30 June 2004

OK, so there is no Tube in Hackney, but plenty of people in the Borough use London Underground, and a fair few of us work on it.

Finsbury Park RMT branch is affiliated to Hackney TUC, and represents train drivers, revenue inspectors and station staff on the Victoria and Piccadilly lines, and cleaners across the whole Underground.

We are campaigning around several issues, including:

  • saving stations jobs

  • standing up for our workmates
  • unionising cleaners

Saving stations jobs

You may have read in the Evening Standard about the "fantastic" deal that Tube station staff have won for shorter working hours, which gives full-time staff 52 off per year. What you probably didn't read in the Standard is that the company intends to make the workforce pay for that time off by reducing staffing levels. So when you travel through our stations, there will be fewer people in uniform to help you, and the ticket office will be opening later and closing earlier.

Sticking up for our workmates

Management demoted a Finsbury Park Station Supervisor in a way-over-the-top punishment; tried to discredit the local union reps; and attempted to persecute a union member who had closed a station to protect passenger safety.

RMT members responded to this hat-trick of attacks by coming to the branch meeting en masse, and preparing for a strike ballot. The strike became unnecessary when LUL backed down on all three counts.

Unionising cleaners

Cleaning staff work for contractors, who pay them appallingly low wages to work long and anti-social hours in unpleasant working conditions. Many cleaners are black, and some are recent immigrants. Employers are exploiting the vulnerability and discrimination that they already face.

The first step to challenging this is to get the cleaners in the union. The RMT branch is working hard to do this, and is providing representation for cleaners - and has received the support of the No Sweat campaign.