Monday, 26 August 2013

RMT announces London Overground strike action

RMT announces London Overground strike action

Publication Date: August 16 2013 from acknowledgements to Steve Cushion, secretary UCU reired members' branch.

Rail union RMT confirmed today that London Overground guards, who have voted overwhelmingly for strike action and action short of a strike in a ballot following the announcement by Transport for London (TfL) of their plans to introduce Driver Only Operation (DOO) on the whole of the London Overground network, will take action for 48 hours over the coming Bank Holiday weekend.

The grades balloted have been instructed NOT to book on for any shifts that commence between:-

  • 00:01 hours on Sunday 25th August 2013 and 23:59 hours on Monday 26th August 2013.

Furthermore members have been instructed to take industrial action short of a strike: 

  • By refusing to work any overtime and not agreeing to any shift movement between 00:01 hours on Sunday 25th August 2013 and 23:59 hours on Monday 26th August 2013.

The London Overground guards are the first group of staff to face the threat of the sack as a direct result of the Government-imposed cuts of 12.5% on TFL  but with a billion pounds worth of cuts lined up over the next five years, and confirmation that all ticket offices are facing the prospect of closure, they will not be the last. RMT has made it clear that it is geared up to widen the balloting franchise across transport services in London and will not allow individual groups of staff to be picked off by Boris Johnson's transport officials.

To underscore the essential role of the guards, last month there was a major incident near Kentish Town which required the emergency evacuation of over 100 passengers in searing heat between stations. That evacuation was led by the guard and even LOROL admitted in their statement - "The prompt actions of London Overground staff enabled the incident to be brought to a close as quickly as possible." The company and TFL are now preparing to sack those very same staff whose actions they were praising just a few weeks ago. 130 safety-critical guards jobs are threatened.

RMT is warning that the axing of guards across London Overgroundwill give the green light to the thugs, thieves and drunks to turn this important and growing rail service into a criminals playground. It  will also turn London Overground services into a no-go area for those with disabilities and others needing assistance as both trains and stations are de-staffed in the name of the TFL cuts drive.

As well as balloting for industrial action RMT will be taking the political fight over this cash-lead attack on safety critical guards jobs into the House of Commons and City Hall and will be organising a series of public meetings and protests aimed at building support from the travelling public.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:

"RMT have sent out a clear message in the nine to one vote for both strike action and action short of a strike on London Overground over the appalling, cash-driven assault on our guards members and the absolutely essential role that they play. These are the very same staff who have been praised for safely evacuating passengers from emergency situations and who are the eyes and ears of the service at a time of growing violence and thefts on our trains. The failure of the TFL senior management, under Boris Johnson's leadership, and the company to pull back from these proposals has forced RMT to announce this strike action.

"The fight to defend 130 safety-critical guards jobs on London Overground will be centre stage in RMT's overall battle to defend jobs and safety on London's transport services. RMT recognises that this lethal proposals has been brought about as result of the 12.5%  cut in TfL funding announced in George Osborne's Comprehensive Spending Review. RMT has made it crystal clear that those cuts will be resisted by this union with all means at our disposal, including industrial action.

"The news that millions of passengers are to be put at risk through plans to throw the guards off London Overground trains on north London routes has already sent shockwaves through transport services and is clearly a foretaste of what is to come.

"We can expect many more of these attacks on jobs and safety as TFL slash hundreds of millions from their budget at Government behest. They will be met with the fiercest possible resistance from RMT as we link up the groups of workers in the firing line. RMT remains available for talks."


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