THE TRANSPORT union RMT last Monday suspended its planned three-day strike of London Underground workers just hours before it was due to begin after London Underground management after negotiations secured “real movement and significant” progress.
But the fight to prevent the loss of 960 jobs and the closure of all LU ticket offices is far from over.
RMT acting general secretary Mick Cash wrote to his members: “I wrote to you on Friday advising you that your negotiators believed that some progress had been made, but the company at the last minute decided to impose pre-conditions, including RMT calling off strike action and totally withdrawing from the current dispute; this would have meant a new ballot being required for any further industrial action.
“However, as always this union has been willing to continue discussions right up to the 11th hour. Your union has been hard at work with Acas over the weekend and have negotiated the following:-
1. The station-by-station review will continue with all the trades unions invited to participate and contribute, additionally the proposed Fit for the Future-Stations implementation plan will also be reviewed. This exercise should be completed by 23rd May 2014. During this period of discussion LU would continue to keep on hold all VS applications.
2. The outcome of the exercise will be discussed at a meeting chaired by Acas.
3. LU would enter into further detailed discussions to ensure that any employees identified as in scope of the Fit for the Future-Stations proposals on 21st November 2013, and who do not choose to leave the business under voluntary severance, would be offered a role that involves no reduction in their current substantive salary. This arrangement would be specific to the Fit for the Future-Stations programme.
“I’m sure you will agree these are very important concession won by the union.
“But just as important I am pleased to be able to advise you that the totally unacceptable demand that we withdraw from the current dispute has been removed.
“I can’t stipulate enough the importance of this. Had we agreed, your negotiators would have had their hands tied behind their back when negotiating to protect members’ terms and conditions. By standing strong, your resolve and unity has forced London Underground to back down.
“I will keep you informed of developments.”
The union reported that an agreement was almost reached the previous Friday but was sabotaged by the intervention of London Mayor Boris Johnson, who set the unacceptable conditions mentioned above, that the RMT should completely give up the dispute.
Mick Cash branded the alleged switch a "cynical and politically motivated move" instigated by Johnson as part of his "objective of leading the Tory Party".