TRANSPORT union RMT said that its members are standing firm as pickets were out in force yesterday at all key locations in the fight to defend jobs, pensions and working conditions on London Underground, bringing London to a gridlocked halt.
General Secretary Mick Lynch said: ‘Our members across London Underground are making it crystal clear again this morning that they are not going to be used as pawns in a political fight between the Mayor and the government which threatens their futures and their livelihoods.
‘The funding crisis at TfL which is at the heart of this dispute is not of our making and our members are not prepared to take a hammering to pay for it.’
At Acton Town Station in west London RMT Health and Safety Rep Shaz Razzaqui told News Line yesterday morning: ‘We’ve planned this strike strategically and the two days of action this week have been very successful.
‘We’ve got a great turnout here and not a single RMT member has crossed the picket line. We all feel very strongly about job cuts, pensions and of course safety. Understaffed stations mean staff being displaced, causing safety issues for both staff and passengers.
‘The RMT must call further strike action and we want all the unions to unite together. We want to reach out to ASLEF and TSSA and ask them to join us.
‘The Tory government is behind these attacks, not just the company. You can’t trust Boris Johnson. He promised he wouldn’t take away our ticket offices but he did.’
RMT member Michael Karoulidis said: ‘We have to stop the company imposing job and pension cuts and this strike has been a solid show of strength. We want all the unions to unite together because we all have a common goal.
‘Johnson is targeting the unions because he doesn’t like a united workforce. We know he wants to smash our union. In order to defeat him all the Tube unions are going to have to strike together.’
Pickets were out in force outside Leytonstone station on the Central Line in east London yesterday.
Jason Moriarty, RMT Branch Secretary Central Line East said: ‘We had an outstanding day of action on Tuesday. We had more members coming to join our pickets today.
‘We are ready to call more strike days of course if the company does not wish to negotiate and meet our three demands.
‘Which are: No change to pensions. No job losses. No change to agreements. If the 600 job losses go ahead it will lead to less staff at stations putting passenger safety at risk.
‘ASLEF have a live ballot mandate and I certainly hope they plan to use it to defend their terms and conditions and pensions.’
Pickets at the Hammersmith depot of the Hammersmith and City Line reported strong support for their strike.
RMT member Vicky Marton said: ‘The strike is solid on both Hammersmith and City and the Circle line and we have had strong support from the public.
‘This government wants to bust the union. They are proposing unworkable conditions on a loan to TfL, and to look at driverless trains which is unworkable on our infrastructure.’
Yesterday’s all-out Tube strike was rock solid.
Outside Hammersmith Tube station in west London pickets were defiant.
Hammersmith and City Line RMT Branch Secretary Ian Flatman, told News Line ‘This strike is too big to ignore, they want to whittle down our pension.
‘After two years of Covid enough is enough. Now is the time to act.’
At Morden on the Northern line RMT picket Margaret Wade said: ‘The strike is going very well and we are proud of our members and the ASLEF members who have solidly backed our picket line and supported our industrial action.’
At the Central Line picket line outside West Ruislip station there was a strong picket line with strikers in a determined mood.
RMT train driver Chris James said: ‘Tuesday’s strike was successful. We never wanted it to come to this but with the savage attacks on working conditions and pensions we were backed into a corner; and this after the personal risk we took working during the pandemic.’
RMT Industrial Rep Darren Lalli told News Line: ‘After the complete shutdown of the Tube lines on Tuesday I am disgusted that some ASLEF members have crossed the picket line under instruction from their union. I urge the ASLEF leadership to join our dispute and fight for all LU workers jobs and pensions.’