Over 10,000 tube workers in the RMT union (only!) are on strike this Tuesday and Thursday; most station staff, fleet and engineering, signallers, service controllers and some drivers...
Their employer, London Underground Limited (LUL) says "modernisation" is needed. "Modernisation" which translates as cuts to pensions and working conditions, as well as 600 job cuts, amounting to 10% of current station staff! This isn't the first time LUL has "modernised". In 2013, a so-called "Fit for the Future" plan cut more than 1,000 station jobs!
LUL says it "must" find £1bn of savings by March 2023, after using up (the inadequate) emergency funding it got during the pandemic. But it only needed this because it was relying on fares to fund day-to-day running thanks to the abolition of Transport for London's government grant in 2018 - political choices made above workers' heads. So now tube workers are targeted to pay the bill, with jobs, conditions and above all, pensions!?
No. They are right to strike against this attack. In fact it needs a concerted all-out fight. So one might well ask why the night tube drivers are waging a separate fight against cuts in their jobs and conditions? Or why Aslef, the drivers' union and TSSA, the white collar rail union, aren't part of today's action? Or why other workers like teachers, and university staff, also on strike this week, facing similar attacks, don't all come together and face these attacks collectively?!
In Coventry, bin lorry drivers, all-out for higher pay since 31 January, are also left to strike alone by their Unite union leaders. Spreading their strike to other sections, let alone the rest of Coventry refuse workers(!), isn't even on Unite leaders' agenda.
In fact, not one of the union leaderships can, nor will, overcome their own sectionalism, whether it's the RMT, Aslef, or of course, Unite, which recently refused to organise different contractors and BMW workers, in the same workplace, to fight together, when they were simultaneously demanding higher pay!
Yet the only way for the working class to beat the bosses who've sectionalised it into so many tiers, "subcontracts", temps and permanents, is to ignore these false divisions and fight back as one. For that to happen, however, union leaderships whose self-serving focus prevents this, will have to be bypassed.