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London transport workers' rally, 1 December

London transport workers' rally, 1 December. Photo: Cici Washburn

TfL workers sent a clear message to the Tories and Sadiq Khan that they are prepared to fight against cuts and attacks on their pay and conditions, reports Cici Washburn

Ten days before TfL is due to run out of money, London transport workers from Aslef, RMT, TSSA and Unite protested outside Parliament calling for properly-funded London transport and no cuts to workers pay, pensions and conditions. They were joined by the TUC, ITF and MPs John McDonnell and Louise Haigh.

Sadiq Khan recently warned that if the government doesn’t come to a funding agreement with TfL on 11 December multiple tube lines and bus routes would shut down. TfL workers are facing attacks on their pay conditions and pensions after TfL has received short-term bailouts from the government with huge strings attached resulting in TfL planning £1.6 billion worth of cuts.

Hundreds of workers gathered with a sea of banners and delegations seen approaching the protest. It was fighting talk from all the union speakers; RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch announced a forthcoming strike ballot: “We will be balloting all our TfL members for strike action in defence of jobs, pensions and working conditions”.

Unite speakers spoke about the pandemic and that they lost 40 members working on London busses to the virus. Unite regional officer Simon McCartney said that if TfL and the government don’t agree a deal without cuts to workers on 11 December then every Unite worker on London transport will receive a strike ballot in January. Finn Brennan Aslef district organiser spoke of how pleased he was to hear that Unite are ‘getting strike-ready’ and that RMT are balloting to strike and said,

“We’re already strike-ready. Our members returned a 98.8% yes vote for strike action. We are ready and we will choose to strike when it suits our members and we can unite all transport workers together across London to take on this Tory government and fight for decent public transport.”

Matt France a train driver on the Hammersmith & City Line and Aslef young members rep said,

“I started on London Underground at 17 years old as an apprentice, I was a train operator by 19, I’m 31 now. I’ve had some good years. I do not want to see my terms and conditions eroded. I love what I do, I love providing the service that we provide to people all over London and we need the funding desperately to ensure that people do not see cuts to the services they receive.”

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