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From The Socialist newspaper, 27 April 2001

Tube workers: If we stick together, we can win

THE STRIKES against the government's PPP proposals for tube privatisation have been the most successful action on London Underground for years.

Bill Johnson, RMT member London Underground

Management used intimidation, the courts handed out an injunction in defiance of our massive ballot majority and twice one of the rail unions' national leaderships withdrew official backing.

But tubeworkers showed that if we stick together we can bring London to a standstill and force management and the government to take us seriously. ASLEF members supported the RMT official action on 29 March. This unity will be vital in future.

The two days of action so far show that we can defeat PPP. Safety remains the key demand, but management are trying to use privatisation and this dispute to break the power of the tube unions.

We must show Blair, Prescott and underground management that we'll never accept the transfer of our infrastructure to private sub-contractors. We also won't let 4,500 tube-workers' employment contracts with London Underground (LUL) be tossed out like old rubbish.

The tube unions' power brought London to a standstill. Big business claims the disruption cost them 100 million on each strike day. With our power as a union and with public support against privatisation, we must win this fight.

LUL have now 'offered' us a pay deal of 2.7% (equal to inflation only) but say we must tear up the framework agreement and accept draconian attacks on our conditions.

This attack on pay and conditions is all part of PPP. The government want to break the tube unions, cut wages and casualise the workforce so that private companies can make a killing out of the tube.

Tube workers must show management and the government that we'll fight PPP all the way. We should escalate our action by calling a further, two-day strike, on the Monday and Wednesday of the same week.

We should intensify our campaign to convince every tubeworker to support the action by visiting workplaces and calling mess-room meetings as we did before the first one-day strike.

Let's see how Blair fancies running his election campaign while London is shut down by tube strikes!

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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.
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In The Socialist 27 April 2001:

Shut Down Capitalism

Stop The Jobs Slaughter

Drug companies: so much for the free market

Tube workers: If we stick together, we can win

Middle East: A war by any other name

Germany: Building international socialism


 

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