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From The Socialist newspaper, 29 January 2014

Support the tube workers' strikes

No closure of ticket offices - stop job cuts - no compromise on passenger safety

London Underground workers are defending jobs and a public service, photo Paul Mattsson

London Underground workers are defending jobs and a public service, photo Paul Mattsson   (Click to enlarge)

Rob Williams

The battle lines are being drawn ahead of the tube strikes which start on 4 February. It promises to be the most polarised industrial dispute in London for decades.

Tory London Mayor, Boris Johnson, wants to axe 950 tube workers and close all Underground ticket offices (having previously campaigned against closures), regardless of the safety implications and the service provided to the travelling public.

But the unions have come out fighting. RMT and TSSA have voted for action by big majorities. And they have enormous potential power - transport workers can bring London to a halt.

The planned strikes will show the whole country that workers can resist austerity. So we have a duty to support them.

The right-wing, red-baiting press have been trying desperately to find ordinary people prepared to denounce the RMT and the TSSA but without much success.

What they can't understand is that most working class people and even many middle class commuters have been hammered by the Tory cuts, including massive train fare rises, and are glad that someone is prepared to fight back.

The daily rush hour experience of millions who crowd onto the Underground is one of packed city centre trains and stations where there isn't enough staff now.

At Victoria station, for example, commuters are forced to queue in sections to get into the Underground station and then again onto the platforms.

When trains or signals break down, it's management who are rightly blamed, not the workers. After all, it was London Under-ground management's decision to outsource a 350 million contract for the fitting of new signals to Bombardier which, despite pulling out part way through, will still get paid 85 million.

Because of the incompetence of the privateer-loving management, it has now been admitted that 100 million of taxpayers' money has been lost!

Support

The National Shop Stewards Network and the Socialist Party give their full support to the tube workers' fight. We are confident that millions of workers will be firmly behind them as well.

Back in November 2011 the public responded positively to the mass strikes and trade union protests to defend workplace pensions.

It showed that people will support workers and their unions who are prepared to fight back against cuts imposed by the bosses and this government.

But the trade unions can go a step further. This strike is about facing up to yet another tranche of government austerity cuts.

Before Christmas teachers, lecturers, probation workers and civil servants all took action to defend jobs, pay and the essential public services they provide.

We call on all unions, particularly those in dispute, to immediately meet with the RMT and TSSA unions to discuss how industrial action can be coordinated.

The rail transport unions must link up with the bus drivers who also, in effect, work for Transport for London and who, through a solid strike, won a bonus payment for extra work during the 2012 Olympics.

In this strike, perhaps more than any other since this government of the fat cats came to power, it's time to decide: 'Whose side are you on?'

We're clearly on the side of the tube workers. We call on the rest of the trade union movement to make that stand as well and ensure that they don't fight alone.

Click here for London Socialist Party public meetings on the tube strikes

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Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

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In The Socialist 29 January 2014:


Socialist Party news and analysis

Recovery? More Tory Lies!

Brighton Green referendum offers no alternative to cuts

Landlords, the real beneficiaries of benefits street

Them and Us


International socialist news and analysis

Davos: World capitalism means increased inequality

New mineworkers' strikes in South Africa


Trade Unionist and Socialist Coalition

We need councillors who stand up for us

Plymouth TUSC plans for 2014 elections


Stop London Underground cuts

Support the tube workers' strikes

Determined strikes can stop London Underground in its tracks


Socialist Party workplace news

University workers continue strike action over pay

Land Registry threatened with sell-off

PCS leadership elections

NUT activists meet to push for action

NSSN launched in south of England

Workplace news in brief


The Socialist readers' comments

Debate on the environment

A waste of a Friday evening


Fight all cuts!

Derbyshire: 'Old Labour' cuts hurt just as much

Carmarthenshire council rats

Spelthorne residents demand fire cuts are stopped

Leeds Labour breaks bedroom tax promise


Socialist Party reports and campaigns

Bakers union launches fast food rights campaign

Socialist Party Northern region conference


 

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