It seems that there was a belief among management - and
from comments made on here certain RMT members - that ASLEF TOps were somehow adverse to going on strike, that many of the members who had defected from the RMT in order to avoid going on strike would also cross the
picket line on this occasion and that as ASLEF TOps had worked when RMT were on
strike in the past RMT TOps would do the likewise on Friday. If that was the case then on Friday we disabused
the hell out of them.
During the RMT strikes apart from a gap from MAA to WHC we
were running a service, on Friday at best there was WHC to EAB in the west with
EPP to MIE in the east but that later shrank to EPP-LES and finally there were no service
on the east end of the line at all. One
explanation of why so many RMT TOps worked during their own strikes is that they weren’t prepared to lose a day’s pay when
the number of stations open suggested that plenty of station staff were
unwilling to go on strike themselves whereas Friday’s strike was over issues that
affected all Central Line TOps regardless of their affiliation.
Okay, let’s get this straight, no one on our side wants a
strike, we don’t actually want to lose a day’s pay, we’d be a lot happier if we
could just get on with things but as management seem unwilling to negotiate we are
left with little choice, the only alternative is accepting that management can change our
terms and conditions whenever they feel like it. We don’t want anything extra, we’re not
striking for more money or more days off or free caviar and chips at the canteens, we just want management
to honour the agreements they made with the unions on a whole raft of issues. We have a system, it wasn't broken but they
chose to fix it.
From mess room whispers it seems that one of the problems
with the negotiations is that most of the senior managers responsible for this
mess aren’t actually directly involved in the talks as they’re off on holiday. When an agreement was reached the managers had to call someone on a beach somewhere
who would then say that it was unacceptable.
Allegedly our new General Manager Chris Taggart doesn’t like unions and thinks
all agreements should be discarded, like the new sheriff riding into town declaring
that there was going to be a change around here, somehow forgetting that in those
movies the townsfolk invariably descend on the sheriff’s office with flaming
torches and a noose.
Hopefully the effectiveness of Friday’s strike gives
management cause to soften their hardline attitude, we held a strike on the
Friday before Bank Holiday when plenty of our regular commuters were off, the next
one will be on a Wednesday when everyone will be back. Another thing to consider is that the strike
may spread, the Piccadilly, District and Jubilee Lines all have their own separate
grievances, they could also ask for a strike ballot and it wouldn’t be too hard
to arrange all the strikes on the same day.
With RMT and TSSA increasingly unhappy with the negotiations on
station staffing this could just keep getting bigger and bigger, perhaps this might not
be the best time to prod the sleeping bear with a stick.
Hopefully over the next three weeks someone suddenly has
a serious attack of sense but that doesn’t seem to be high on the list of
attributes required for LUL managers compared to the ability to bury one’s head
in the sand on a beach in Cancun.