Heathrow Express

Submitted by AWL on 20 November, 2006 - 12:31

Heathrow Express workers have fought hard against the company's attack on pay and conditions, but the employer's hostility, and division between the unions, has left issues unresolved.

ASLEF and RMT were due to strike over the three-year pay offer on 7, 11 and 21 September. This made the company agree to talks at last, and both unions suspended the first two dates (obviously, they still haven't got the hand of the idea that you can talk and strike at the same time).

The company revised their offer a bit, but it was still crap. Unfortunately, ASLEF recommended it to the members, who narrowly endorsed it in a referendum.

Some disgruntled ASLEF members joined RMT, as they wanted to be a union that would fight management's awful offer. RMT members voted 12:1 to reject it, and went ahead with the third strike date.

RMT's strike on 21st September was well-supported by members, with over 80 coming out. But the buoyant mood on the picket line slowly deflated as ASLEF members crossed the line and management compromised safety by using untrained office staff to run the trains.

So an RMT members' meeting agreed to take no more action. Now RMT and ASLEF have taken the dispute between themselves to the TUC, and everything seems to have gone quiet on the issue of pay and conditions.

It's a sorry tale, where management are the main villain, but ASLEF must shoulder some blame.

If we were all united in one, all-grades, democratic, fighting union, it would be a cinch to win disputes like this.

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