Tube strike update: new offer criticised

RMT and ASLEF arrange joint ballot over health and safety, harrassment and breached agreements.

Submitted by Steven. on January 18, 2006

Bob Crow announced new offer yesterday before members or union organisers knew anything about it.

RMT and ASLEF today announced they are balloting drivers for strike action over health and safety, harrassment, attendance policies, imposing changes without agreement and breaches of agreements. Since this will be carried out on the same timescale it is likely to lead to a complete shutdown of the network. Both ballots will close on the 9th February, and any action will be co-ordinated.

This is a separate dispute to the strikes by station staff over rosters earlier this month, which we covered in an in depth interview on 8th January. An RMT member has pointed out that the announcement of the deal yesterday came as a surprise to many members including other union negotiatiors.

Speaking yesterday, Bob Crow said “After five days of negotiations we now have a proposal that the RMT executive has agreed unanimously to recommend to our members”

“Any remaining disagreements over rosters will be referred back to a working party at general secretary level for resolution.

However, the RMT member we spoke to commented that Bobby Law, regional organiser and chief negotiater in the dispute, took annual leave yesterday on very little notice. Other negotiators at the RMT knew nothing about the "five days of negotiations", and had no information about any settlement at the time the press release was issued.

He told us: "The deal is shite, just a promise from LUL to allow safety validation of some of the new rosters but over such a truncated time period that any validation will be rendered meaningless.

"It looks as if Bob Crow has done another one of his interventions. The information that the Council of Executives voted unanimously to recommend the deal leads me to believe that people have been leant on.", 18/01/06