Thursday, August 23, 2007

Metronet workers vote for strike

NEARLY 3,000 members of the unions RMT, TSSA and Unite have voted by massive margins for strike action to defend jobs and conditions at failed Tube privateer Metronet. In the three unions’ ballots, which closed last week, Metronet workers voted by a total of 1,369 to 70 to strike.
The strike votes were sparked by the failure of the bankrupt company’s administrators to provide guarantees that there will be no job losses or forced transfers as a result of the company’s financial collapse.
RMT and TSSA members also voted to strike over the failure to guarantee that there would be no cuts in pension entitlements.
Jennie Bremner, Unite assistant general secretary said: “This ‘yes’ vote gives Unite the mandate to take strike action against Metronet’s shameful plan to cut hundreds of jobs and outsource a further 1,000.
“These proposals come from the same management that were responsible for running Metronet into the ground. Unite is calling on the administrator to take firm action to put the Tube back on track and to cease operating the same policies that led to Metronet being taken into administration in the first place.
“We are available to meet with the company to thrash out a deal that will avoid industrial action. However this vote demonstrates our members’ willingness to take the company on to protect jobs and the future of the Tube.”
RMT general secretary Bob Crow said, “Our members have said with a single, united voice that they are not prepared to be made to pay for the failure of the PPP with their jobs, conditions or pensions.
“The work our members do is crucial not only to the day-to-day operation of the Tube but to the urgent upgrades that are slipping further behind schedule, and any further fragmentation of the workforce is out of the question.
“If we are to have the world-class Tube that London needs in time for the Olympics the only sensible answer is to bring the work back into the public sector.”
TSSA general secretary Gerry Doherty said: “Metronet shareholders may be able to walk away from this PPP fiasco but it is our members who are being asked to pick up the bill with lost jobs, transfers and pension cutbacks.
“They have sent a clear message today to the Administrator and the Mayor that they will not stand for it. The long-term solution must be to bring this work back in-house to the public sector.” In the RMT ballot, there were 1,123 (98.3 per cent) votes to strike, with 20 votes (1.7 per cent) against, on a turnout of 51 per cent.
In the TSSA ballot, there were 127 votes for strike action (77 per cent) and 38 votes (23 per cent) against, on a 48 per cent turnout.
In the Unite ballot there were 119 votes for strike action (90 per cent) and 12 votes against (10 per cent).

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