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Highlight keywords  |Print this articlePrint this article
From: The Socialist issue 866, 5 August 2015: Stop NHS cuts

Search site for keywords: Rail - Strike - RMT - London - First Great Western - London underground - Workers - Unions - Union - Wales - John Reid - TSSA - Aslef - Unite

Rail shutdowns step up

Second tube strike, 72-hour Great Western walkout

Photo by Naomi Byron

Photo by Naomi Byron   (Click to enlarge)

As we go to press, London Underground's four unions are readying a second industrial wallop for Tory mayor Boris Johnson. RMT, Aslef, TSSA and Unite have rejected management's latest "rehash" of destructive plans for night service, staff restructuring and pay.

Meanwhile, rail workers on First Great Western, also organised by the RMT, are preparing for bank holiday strikes. Bosses want to scrap conductors, close buffet cars and attack engineering jobs and conditions.

Two leading RMT members comment on the strikes.

John Reid, a Socialist Party member on the RMT's ruling council of executives, spoke to the Socialist. "All four unions are united as London is brought to a standstill. The strike is due to London Underground management's intransigence over jobs, work-life balance, forced unsocial hours and ripping up agreements."

Mick Cash, RMT general secretary, said the introduction of night tubes was being rushed and would not be safe on the current schedule. He called for bosses to suspend plans, and slammed their failure to negotiate. "Our members have made it clear that the latest offer from London Underground is merely a rehash of the previous package."

On First Great Western, Mick said: "The fact remains that if it is good enough for East Coast, using the same trains, to meet the very basic assurances sought by this trade union - then it is good enough for First Great Western as well."

First Great Western rail, connecting London to Wales and the West Country, faces several actions. Most staff will strike for 24 hours on 23 August and 72 hours from 29 to 31 August. Maintenance workers will instead down tools for 24 hours on 29 and 31 August, and work to rule from 23 to 30 August.

The 24-hour tube shutdown on 5 to 6 August follows an earlier all-union walkout from 8 to 9 July. This was the first combined stoppage - and first to close the entire network - in over a decade.

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