Unjum Mirza reports on a solid strike by Croydon Tramlink workers in response to a real-terms pay cut
Aslef members on the Croydon Tramlink served a solid 48-hour strike over pay this week crippling services during the Wimbledon tennis tournament. The insulting 3% pay offer is in reality a huge pay cut as inflation soared to 11.7% RPI the week before and the cost of living crisis begins to bite. Tramlink is operated by Tram Operations Ltd, a FirstGroup company which saw its profits soar last year. It boasts of returning £500 million to shareholders while suppressing workers’ wages.
A determined workforce saw drivers book-off duty at the end of their shifts to walk straight out of the gates and form the first of the solid picket lines. Over half the workforce had engaged in picket duties within the first 24 hours of the strike! The level of support could be gauged from the near-continuous hoots from passing motorists and buses. RMT too sent a delegation in solidarity on the second day of the strike.
Management are rattled. One senior manager who was visibly shook by the strike stopped resorting to hurling abuse at the pickets and threatening to call the police. The manager was told to “jog-on”.
A picket explained “If staff spoke to a manager, the way that senior manager spoke to us, we would be on a disciplinary. I guess their “respect” policies don’t apply to them”.
Aslef Executive Committee member Terry Wilkinson joined the pickets celebrating the “magnificent and inspiring” members on strike while pointing out, “this is just the beginning - further action is planned for Wednesday 13th July and Thursday 14th July”.
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Unjum Mirza is a driver on the London Underground. He is on the Editorial Board of Tunnel Vision, the rank and file bulletin, and is an Aslef union branch chair.
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