STRIKE ACTION by more than 2,300 Metronet maintenance workers was suspended late on Tuesday night after more than eight hours of talks between RMT, the failed company, its administrator and Transport for London (TfL) yielded significant progress on the issues involved in the dispute.
But the transport union’s planned action for next Monday remains on, pending the outcome of further talks with the pension trustees’ board meeting, and pending consultation with the union’s reps on Friday.
RMT general secretary Bob Crow said on Wednesday: “We now have in writing from the employer that the originally proposed pension-scheme rescue is withdrawn, and that a full scheme rescue will be placed before the TfL pension trustees’ board today, and is expected to be in place by Thursday.
“This means that our members will now actually have their pensions restored to them, which is rather different than promises from a man in an expensive suit.
“Further to the existing assurance that there will be no job losses or transfers during the period of administration, we also now have written commitments that any subsequent proposals will be subject to proper discussions through the existing negotiating machinery and the code of practice agreed at the time the PPP was introduced.
“This means that the threat of 691 job losses, tabled before Metronet’s collapse, and postponed by the administrator, has been withdrawn entirely.
“As a result of the detailed talks last night, the RMT executive suspended the current industrial action, although the action scheduled to begin next Monday remains on, pending the successful outcome of today’s pension meeting and consultation with our reps on Friday.
“Our members are to be congratulated for their rock-solid action, and can return to work with their heads held high after sustaining their strike in the face of enormous pressure and hostile media.
“It is their unity that has given their union the strength it needed to hold its position in this difficult dispute.
“The dispute has underlined the need to bring the maintenance of London Underground back into the public sector, and that is what our members and the vast majority of Londoners want,” Bob Crow said.
The strike closed two-thirds of the Tube network and affected 10 lines. London’s financial centre was hard hit as office staff struggled to get into work by other means. Many arrived several hours late; others gave up trying and stayed at home.”