TUBE maintenance staff ended their industrial action yesterday after a “major breakthrough” against casualisation.
Tube Lines, the publicly owned company which maintains part of the network, had hired 35 temporary workers for extra maintenance of Piccadilly Line trains where leaf fall has severely damaged trains.
The workers’ tasks included lifting trains to replace damaged wheels.
Transport union RMT said the arrangement flew in the face of agreements to employ new staff on a permanent basis and could “open the door to wholesale casualisation of the workforce.”
But after an overtime ban kicked in earlier this week, RMT secured a commitment from Tube Lines to transfer all 35 of the workers onto permanent full-time contracts. Those workers who cannot be put into permanent vacancies on the Piccadilly Line will be transferred to other parts of the network.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “This is a major breakthrough for the union on casualisation. It is solely down to the resolve and solidarity of our members throughout this dispute.
“It proves again that the working class can win significant advances when they are organised in fighting trade unions.”
The union will also establish a joint working party with management to make rostering arrangements for lifting tasks during the leaf-fall season.
Tube Lines was established to maintain the Jubilee, Northern and Picadilly Lines in the 2002 part-privatisation of London Underground — where maintenance was transferred to private infrastructure giants.
But in 2010 is was bought back into public ownership after Transport for London refused to cough up to cover a funding shortfall.