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06/02/2011 - Trouble brews amongst Transport staff

OUR recent article Strike against the cuts outlined how various unions are hoping to co-ordinate strikes in protest at Con-Dem government cuts.  One of these strikes may be on April 29 – the day of the royal wedding – and could involve tube drivers on the London Underground.


In a separate move – but also involving London Underground – unions have called for an investigation to be made by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) after it was discovered that stations along the Central Line were left unstaffed.  This occurred in late January.


In a breach of safety regulations, Buckhurst Hill, Theydon Bois, Debden, Chigwell and North Acton were all left unstaffed.  Workers claim that this disgraceful situation has been brought about by staff cuts.
Meanwhile, workers at Southeastern (which runs trains in central London and the South East) have voted to strike in protest at cuts to platform and gate staff.


In addition to this, cleaners employed by Mitie (who service First Great Western trains out of depots at Cardiff and Swansea) voted to stage a 24 hour strike starting late last week.  The dispute centres on pensions, payment of wages, failure to communicate and failure to make an offer on pay for 2010.  To indicate the anger   of Mitie workers, the industrial action was supported 100%.


Whilst all of these transport disputes involve rail workers, the buses are not doing much better. 
According to a 2009 Public Transport Statistics Bulletin, two-thirds of public transport journeys are made by bus whilst 25% of households in the UK do not have access to a car. 


However, despite the vital role played by buses, this form of public transport is also facing cuts.  Workers fear this may lead to redundancies, significantly reduced services, higher prices and loss of concessionary fares.

 

Solidarity thinks that the transport workers have legitimate grievances and are not being listened to by their managements. Co-ordinated strike action during high profile public events may be the only way to get their views over.