UK: Union claims victory as Metronet strike ends

The RMT has claimed victory over jobs and pensions defence following a solid strike of Metronet engineers.

Submitted by Steven. on September 5, 2007

Strike action by more than 2,300 Metronet maintenance workers was suspended late last night after more than eight hours of talks between RMT, the failed company, its administrator and TfL yielded progress on the issues involved in the dispute.

The union's planned action for next Monday remains on, pending the outcome of today's pension trustees board meeting, and pending consultation with the union's reps on Friday.

"We now have in writing from the employer that the originally proposed pension-scheme rescue is withdrawn, and that a full scheme rescue will be placed before the TfL pension trustees board today, and is expected to be in place by Thursday," RMT general secretary Bob Crow said today.

Despite this, the employers have tried to claim in the media that they had not made any concessions.

"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means that the threat of 691 job losses, tabled before Metronet's collapse and postponed by the administrator, has been withdrawn entirely.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.