More Tube strikes: RMT or TfL, who will blink first?

Tube strikes Many stations were shut during the last series of Tube strikes

Six days of strikes is certainly a statement of intent from the RMT Union.

While this is a separate dispute of two drivers being dismissed - it has its roots in the previous dispute over ticket office opening hours.

One was sacked after an "operational incident" and another for what the RMT call "trumped up charges" by "strike breakers".

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:

"It is the abject failure of London Underground to recognise that their policy of victimisation of union activists has been well and truly rumbled... that has left us with no choice but to name these dates for strike action."

About the two drivers, TfL says one was dismissed for an alleged serious safety breach and the other for allegedly using abusive behaviour.

Mike Brown, TfL's managing director, said:

"Just 29 per cent of the 1,300 drivers balloted voted for this strike. We know that the vast majority of drivers work safely with the utmost respect for passengers and their fellow workers at all times."

Start Quote

London Underground

Because the strikes are in blocks of three days then any disruption will be considerable”

End Quote Tom Edwards

What exactly happened is now subject to an industrial tribunal.

How much disruption will it cause? My guess is it will be similar to the last dispute.

Half of Tube drivers are not RMT members so like last time up to 50% of trains could run. However, unlike last time more stations could be open as the TSSA union are not out.

It's also worth bearing in mind that because the strikes are in blocks of three days then any disruption will be considerable.

Tube bosses have indicated they won't back down on this.

So, it all depends on how many staff cross picket lines. Industrial relations are poor at the moment.

I've mentioned before that grassroots activists say the Olympics could be a target for more strikes.

What chance of talks sorting this out? Let me know your thoughts.

Tom Edwards Article written by Tom Edwards Tom Edwards Transport correspondent, London

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  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    The strike has now been suspended because one of the employees was found to be unfairly dismissed. All you anti-union folk need to remember that divide and conquer has been used for centuries by the rich to subjugate the poor. Cameron must be rubbing his hands with glee reading these comments!

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    The Tribunal has decided that Eamonn Lynch, the Bakerloo TOp, was unfairly dismissed. LUL has called on RMT to cancel the strike but have not said they will be giving him his job back.

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    18. Tunnelrat1
    If the RMT are wrong here then can you please explain why both drivers have been awarded Interim Relief at an Industrial Tribunal

    So why strike until you know how this appeals process is going to go? If they are innocent give them their jobs back, if not sack them - still no reason to strike though.

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    So the old "Bully Boy" tactics of those neolithic babies - who get upset when anything isn't how they want it - is being flexed again. Pathetic. Do everyone else a favour and grow up, you are not being victimised here. If drivers have been suspended, by all means investigate this and ensure that the reasons a just and valid, but don't lose sight of everything to try to save some face.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    I think the reason there is so much hype is because there always seems to be something eh in your line of work. Pay, sacked workers, triple time pay demands on holiday shift work. Im a registered nurse and if we striked every time we disliked things this country would be in trouble. You are way overpaid and treated for the level of skill required in your job.

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    What happened to the previous dispute regarding a change in working hours for ticket office staff?

    Have LU now got their way? I presume the unions will be apologising to Londoners for the unnecessary disruption caused by their pointless strikes, which have acheived nothing!

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    If the RMT are wrong here then can you please explain why both drivers have been awarded Interim Relief at an Industrial Tribunal.The law of the land obviously believe that LU have a case to Answer here as they have insisted that LU continue to pay them.Some of you seem to think that Tube Drivers love causing disruption and losing money.I for one will be striking on a point of principle.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    Plus aslef my friend works for SRT at LU and gets 52 days a year even if he has had sick days.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    Aslef whatever the minor details you are still extremely well paid considering what you do. ANYONE could replace a tube worker. Its ridiculous that this time its not even about your great working conditions and pay but about the sacking of two workers and to bring London to its knees is unjust.

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    Why we don’t have driverless trains already, the technology exists, Paris is currently converting Line 1 to driverless.

    The simple answer is money, it’s cheaper to have staff who go on strike occasionally than to stump up the billions it would cost to convert one of the largest and oldest metro systems in the world.

    Perhaps new managers who could manage staff would be cheaper

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    Abelljms - there are no train drivers on the Tube, the job was renamed Train Operators when they combined the drivers and the guards into one.

    On the Jubilee, as on the Central, the trains drive themselves except when ATO crashes (about once a day) or moving out of sidings and depots, then we have to drive them. I'm as much a door opener as anyone who uses a PC for work is a key-tapper.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    Kamana/camsw4 – Tube workers get pretty much the same as workers on the mainline railways so LUL are paying the market rate.

    Dental package?!?!? I’ve been here over ten years and no one’s ever mentioned it. Can I claim for the work I had done last year?

    Train drivers get 43 days a year leave, station staff only get the full 52 if they don’t have a day off sick.

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    There are a lot of incorrect 'facts' in the comments here from Camsw4, abelljms and Vera Kelly. For some verifiable facts, take a look at the interim tribunal findings about both Arwyn and Eamonns sackings which are here & (Have you read these Tom?) The tribunal can't force LU to reinstate sacked reps, and these guys want there jobs back, not compensation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    Im sorry but the tube workers get away with murder! From station assistants to drivers they get 52 days off a year, private dental package, uniform allowance, final salary pension, and big salaries for a low skilled job (station assistants start on £30 000 and train drivers I hear make £40 000 for a 35 hour week). There needs to be accountability from the Mayor to end this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    just for the record - technically on jubilee/victoria lines they are door-openers/closers - not drivers.
    so even less respect/salary is due

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    It's easy......
    Ignore poss. justice of this grievance.

    Sack the striking drivers, put up with inconvenience while we train replacement workforce drivers on £40k pa inc. B Hols, no whining
    Please can i do it?
    Beats being a bus driver ANY day putting up with horrible ungrateful passengers, late night abuse etc. all for £25k pa AND with driving licence on the line every day - it's a no-brainer.

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    We should not have to tolerate these archaic actions from the bullying RMT, who after years of striking have got their members fabulous salaries and packages, far beyond their skills deserve and more than the average Londoner. It's time for the mayor and government to show some courage and threaten to sack any worker who is not at their post when needed. We should not be held to ransom like this.

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    FrustratedCommuter: Be careful with voting figures, it may be we start to
    see how similar they are to our MPs' figures.

    bigoll: I would not say it is "simple" to automate the system. Remember there would have to still be a staff members on each train as with the DLR. They may choose to strike one day (for some serious reason). I am sure you would not suggest staffless trains in tube tunnels.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    Vera Kelly: all statistics are manipulated to produce the answer desired. Of the 1300 people balloted by the RMT, only 379 voted in favour, hence 29% of those balloted. But only 595 could be bothered to vote, hence 63% of those who voted. Either way it is depressing that 379 individuals can bring travel misery to the millions who use the tube system.

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    It's totally wrong to announce a strike before the Industrial Tribunal has been held. It's a blatant attempt to influence the outcome by the Union.

    Also #4 is right, we have the technology, lets get the drivers off the trains, they are not neccessary for a modern railway. All the money spent on the Jubilee line should have meant we no longer needed drivers for it.


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