|This leaflet distributed to commuters during a strike on the London Underground .|
The tube strike is obviously going to cause anger and frustration amongst nearly all commuters. Even if you support the strike, we all need to get to work to pay our bills, rates and mortgages. The anger, however, needs to be focused in the right direction - at the management - whose failure to please commuters and staff is well evident. Constant irritation is caused to passengers by poor management - delays, cancellations and overcrowding make tube travel like a cattle market.
These problems are the result of corner cutting by London Transport in the run up to privatisation - again we see profits being put before safety and comfort. Passengers can see the direct effects of this, constant fires and fire scares due to Cleaning Staff and Safety Inspector reductions and insufficient money being put into safety education for staff. New lifts and escalators seem to be out of action much more than the old ones. The new barriers seem equally as unreliable as the old ones, the difference is they are much more difficult (if not impossible) to climb over in case of emergencies. Stations are being "tarted up" whilst safety is losing out. Meanwhile, fares carry on rising at a dramatic rate and people are increasingly frightened on the tube due to lack of Underground staff being around.
It is for these reasons (plus many others) that the tube workers are going on strike. Corners are being cut at their expense as well. The recent one-day strikes were a direct result of staff reduction, expecting one person to do the job of two without receiving any extra money. The Underground management are also imposing new working practices which will mean longer working hours and less chance for overtime. These attacks on workers are the latest in a long line of cost-cutting actions. As one worker put it. "the strike has been brewing for 3 years - management are treating us like robots."
The strike action is necessary for all of us; the welfare of the workforce is our welfare. Strike action is the only effective action against Underground managementsí stubbornness - and even if it does cause us short term inconvenience, we will all be better off in the long run. Remember, the strike is not aimed at us. No doubt management and media will exploit the trouble caused to us, as they did during the nurses strike.
Claims of higher wages being paid to Underground staff will also be made by the media and management in order to undermine the action and support for it. If Underground workers pay and conditions are so great, why canít they employ enough staff to run tube services properly, the notorious Northern line, for example?
If you want a safer Underground you need to support this strike. Effective links need to be made between commuters and Underground staff, in order to make demands on management to give us all a safer, reliable and pleasant Underground service.
Produced by the Anarchist Communist Federation (London Group)
80s and 90s archive