RMT responds to letter from Tube boss Andy Lord
strike flag

16th December 2021

To all RMT members at London Underground and Transport for London

Dear Colleagues,


I am writing further to my previous letter of 8th December 2021 and following correspondence sent to members from Andy Lord, Managing Director of London Underground & TfL Engineering. As is usual in these disputes, management are sending out misinformation, and after having declined to give the simple assurances to protect members that we have been seeking and would have averted a dispute.

Ballot papers should by now have begun to arrive at members' addresses. We have sought assurances on three important points that London Underground and Transport for London were unable to give without qualification as to render them meaningless.

We had sought guarantees on the following three points:

1.    That there will be no changes to the current pension arrangements for members of the union employed by your organisation notwithstanding the review currently being undertaken.

2.    That there will be no reduction in the existing headcount of employees employed by your organisation.

3.    That there will no changes to existing terms and conditions of employment for members of the union employed by your organisation that are not collectively agreed.

These weren't provided before the ballot opened and they aren't provided to you now. What was sought was a commitment from LUL/TfL to provide these simple guarantees to our hardworking members.

Instead, you are told that job cuts don't feature in the “changes proposed to date”. There are “currently NO plans” to change terms and conditions and that there are “currently NO plans” to change the TfL pension.

What is glaringly absent is a commitment to ensure that jobs, pensions and agreements will continue to be protected. On each point there is no commitment that there will not be plans or changes in the near future. Your union is seeking these guarantees and they are far from unreasonable, particularly considering how members have been performing their duties under incredibly demanding conditions throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, ensuring that vital transport services are maintained.

Members have been working throughout the pandemic and have rightly been acclaimed as heroes, keyworkers responsible for delivering essential services. While members have been doing their jobs Transport for London has been incentivising their senior managers with a perverse £12million bonus scheme which rewards senior staff for delivering cuts. This is the same management who have presided over an operating model utterly dependent on passenger fares unmatched by any other comparable capital city in the world. We can't allow them to fix their failed approach to financing to the detriment of the keyworkers who allow the services to operate.

Mr Lord's letter includes an inducement not to participate in the ballot. There is a simple reason for this, since the Trade Union Act 2016, where the government made the anti-trade union laws even more restrictive, all ballots have to reach two important thresholds in order for them to be valid.

  • At least 50% of all eligible members must vote.
  • At least 40% of all those eligible to vote must vote Yes. 

By asking you not to participate Mr Lord is seeking to ensure that a mandate for industrial action - the only avenue open to us following LUL/TfL's failure to provide assurances - is unsuccessful and freeing their hand to undertake a programme of cuts.

Your union would not have to be conducting this ballot if LUL/TfL has given the guarantees for members that had been asked. Now they are asking you not to participate to their own advantage - not to yours.

No member can afford to be neutral in this ballot and increase the threat to YOUR jobs, pension and agreements.

Now more than ever it is vital that members demonstrate to management that attacks on your jobs, pensions and agreements won't be tolerated, and to respond with a massive 'YES' vote for industrial action. Ballot papers have been dispatched and the ballot will close on Monday 10th January 2022.

I urge you all to vote 'YES' to strike action and 'YES' to action short of a strike to ensure a strong a mandate as possible and to prevent the short-sighted and damaging agenda of cuts.

If you do not receive your voting paper from the independent scrutineer by Friday 31st December 2021 please e-mail info@rmt.org.uk to request a replacement.

Important Please Note:  The Scrutineer for RMT Ballots and Elections is 'CES' (Civica Election Services). Letters from CES will also have the RMT logo - they are not Junk Mail and should be opened.

I trust this keeps you fully advised and I will of course keep you updated on all further developments.

Yours sincerely,

Michael Lynch
General Secretary