Solidarity Magazine » Glen Fri, 01 Mar 2013 19:29:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 RMT response to Old Bailey tube runaway verdict this afternoon Fri, 01 Mar 2013 19:29:19 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Bob Crow – RMT General Secretary – said: “This shocking incident, which could very easily have resulted in a major tragedy and loss of life as the runaway grinder hurtled after a passenger train, should continue to serve as a wake-up call to London Underground and Boris Johnson nearly two and half years on.”The reports of what happened on that day will still send a shiver down the spine of tube users and no one should underestimate the role played by a fast-acting tube driver in saving lives as the grinder chased behind the train. Against that background the dangerous talk of driverless operation should stop right now.

“This near miss, where tragedy was only avoided by a few hundred metres, underlines the importance of maintaining the highest possible safety standards on the tube where no one is put under any pressure to cut corners – and yet that is exactly the pressure our members are under right now with maintenance and staffing cuts still on the agenda.

“ The runaway grinder incident back in August 2010, and today’s court outcome, reinforces RMT’s case for a halt to the on-going cuts process to jobs and maintenance schedules that is undermining and diluting safety procedures across the tube network and which continue to create the perfect conditions for a major disaster.”

]]> 0
More overhead line failures- RMT callsfor urgent talks with Network Rail Fri, 01 Mar 2013 17:12:08 +0000 Continue reading ]]> RAIL UNION RMT today called for urgent talks with Network Rail over a spate of overhead line failures which has seen three major breakdowns on Intercity routes out of London in the last three weeks, with the latest happening this morning just after 5am on the WCML at Wolverton near Milton Keynes.

The lines have been pulled down, in a repeat of similar incidents at Radlett and St Neots on the ECML in the past two weeks – all three causing travel chaos for passengers.

RMT wants Network Rail to address the following issues:

· Cuts to maintenance staffing that have left teams slashed to the bone with only a skeleton crew on immediate call to deal with major breakdowns
· A huge and growing backlog in outstanding maintenance on the OHL’s reported to the union by members
· More than £200 million unspent in the NWR maintenance account despite the fact that there are severe staff shortages and a mounting works backlog

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said today:

“The government, the ORR and NWR cannot continue to bury their heads in the sand when it is crystal clear from the chaotic events of recent weeks that there is a major crisis in terms of staffing and capacity on the overhead lines. Hundreds of thousands of passengers have been hit by the fall-out of the three major overhead line collapses in recent weeks and they are right to ask just what is going on.

“RMT members have reported OHL crews cut to the bone and a growing backlog of essential works at a time when NWR are sitting on more than £200 million unspent in the maintenance budget which should be immediately reinvested in reversing cuts and ensuring that the maintenance capacity is brought back up to an acceptable level. They cannot argue that the money isn’t there, as it’s sitting in their budgets unspent at a time when recent events show that it is so obviously needed.”

]]> 0
RMT accuses Tube bosses of lying Wed, 23 Jan 2013 09:07:51 +0000 Continue reading ]]> TUBE BOSSES today stood accused of “lying through their teeth” over the effect of industrial action being taken by train drivers to protect passenger safety on the capital’s Bakerloo line.

Since January 15, Bakerloo drivers in RMT and Aslef have been physically checking that trains are empty of passengers before moving into sidings, after LUL stopped station staff checking carriages.

LUL’s reckless move had resulted in more than 3,000 ‘overcarries’ into Bakerloo sidings in the last year, including one involving a 12-year-old boy who could have jumped onto live rails but for the action of an alert driver.

The drivers’ safety action has eliminated the problem of overcarrying, but has resulted in substantial delays to the service, which LUL has tried to hide – including by suppressing routine internal reports that show the true level of cancellations and delays.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said:

“It is bad enough that LUL seems happy with 3,000 overcarries on the Bakerloo in the last year, compared with just 94 on nine other lines put together, but to lie through their teeth when our members have to take action to keep the public safe is despicable.

“The Bakerloo line’s own routine review showed that 12 of 29 trains scheduled to run in the first three hours of our members’ action last week had to be cancelled – so Tube bosses simply stopped the reports being issued.

“LUL must have a very low opinion of its passengers to think that pretending nothing is wrong will fool anyone – and they are even making matters worse by refusing to allow control staff to put special measures in place to cope with the delays and cancellations.

“The twittersphere is buzzing with angry passengers wanting to know why they are being delayed and not being told about it, and LUL should stop this ridiculous charade, admit they got this one wrong and reinstate the safe procedure they have banned.

“And if it’s a staff shortage that’s stopping them doing it, they can re-instate the 33 competent agency people they fired last week and refused to allow to apply for permanent jobs, presumably because they had all joined RMT and fought for equal pay.”

]]> 0
Sacked Underground staff to set up “soup kitchen” protest Tue, 15 Jan 2013 08:53:09 +0000 Continue reading ]]> 33 RMT London Underground “Trainpeople” staff – who face the prospect of dismissal this week – are taking their demo right to the heart of the company that treated them so appallingly.

The sacked workers and their supporters will be at St James Park station on Tuesday 15th November at 8am where they will set up a soup kitchen to highlight their plight and build public and political support for their fight for jobs and justice.

London Underground inherited a contract with the Trainpeople agency from Silverlink in 2007. In breach of agreements with unions, for five years LU continued to use agency staff in LU uniform while Trainpeople paid them as little as £6.75 per hour. Trainpeople staff joined RMT and organised for equal rights with permanent staff as stipulated in the 2010 Agency Worker Regulations. Then, without warning, LU terminated its contract with the Trainpeople Agency a year early leaving these staff without jobs.

The staff and their supporters are determined to win them jobs and justice.

]]> 0
RMT continues to increase membership Wed, 09 Jan 2013 13:07:48 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Rail, maritime and transport union RMT announced today that the organisation has continued to increase its membership in the past twelve months in the teeth of the most savage attacks on jobs and working conditions for a generation.

Membership figures released by the union today show that RMT has put on a net gain of 1456 members through 2012, taking the total to 77,549 – an annual growth of nearly 2% in the most challenging circumstances.

The union has increased its membership year-on-year from the 59,277 total when General Secretary Bob Crow was elected in 2002

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:

“These membership growth figures at RMT, in the most hostile employment conditions for a generation, are a testament to the fighting, campaigning stance of this trade union and the energy and determination of our members, activists, officers and staff who are out there building the organisation day in and day out.

“RMT has shown, through pay rises like the recent 3.5% deal at Network Rail, that militant, industrial trade unionism is the only defence that working people have got in the face of the savage assaults meted out in the name of austerity under the direction of this rotten government.

“RMT isn’t resting on its laurels, the entire organisation is geared up to make recruitment, education and training an absolute priority as we prepare ourselves for the battles ahead.”

]]> 0
RMT demands immediate release of Tehran bus union Treasurer Sat, 22 Dec 2012 20:37:52 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Transport union RMT today expressed its deep concern at the continued imprisonment of sick Iranian prisoner Reza Shahabi, treasurer of our sister organisation the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company, otherwise known as the Vahed union.

Reza Shahabi has been incarcerated for over two and a half years. His physical condition has deteriorated recently, following a surgery to his neck and spine. It is now reported that Raza has begun a hunger strike.

Against medical advice, Reza was sent back to Evin prison in August this year. After being denied a transfer to a hospital for proper treatment, Shahabi has been refusing food since 17th December. His health has also been significantly affected by the severe beatings and mistreatment he has received.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:

“Reza Shahabi must be released immediately and RMT is joining with our colleagues at the ITF to publicise his case and to fight for both his freedom and for free trade union rights across Iran.”

]]> 0
Cost of West Coast franchising fiasco Fri, 07 Dec 2012 18:44:26 +0000 Continue reading ]]> RAIL UNION RMT today said that the true cost of the West Coast franchising fiasco will be at least £100 million, and possibly much more, and warned that the price of the systemic failure of the rail privatisation policy, which runs right to the very top of Government, will be paid for in cuts to essential rail investment and increased passenger fares.

The £100 million cost to the British people – the price of sheer Government and Departmental incompetence – is made up from a £40 million taxpayers’ bail-out to the failed West Coast bidders, nearly £9 million paid out in investigating what went wrong with the tendering process and with the rest coming from a loss of projected Government revenues from the short-term Virgin fit-up and the costs associated with suspending the rest of the franchising timetable. RMT is demanding release of those numbers which could take the full cost well beyond £100 million.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:

“The £100 million price-tag associated with the West Coast franchising fiasco will not be borne by the ministers responsible for this debacle, it will be carried yet again by the British people and will be paid for through cuts in investment and higher fares with the train operating companies protected and cushioned same as they have been since privatisation was first unleashed.

“RMT could have saved the Government the £9 million wasted on the reports into what went wrong on the West Coast franchise – it was yet another failure of the whole ill-conceived rail privatization racket and we could have told them that for nothing.

“The blame for this expensive fiasco lies with the political class and their cheerleaders in the private sector who have made a multi-billion pound killing out of the great rail rip-off. RMT will be stepping up the campaign for full renationalisation.”

]]> 0
RMT’s response to Leveson Fri, 30 Nov 2012 15:05:18 +0000 Continue reading ]]> RMT General Secretary Bob Crow, who gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry, said:

“One thing that Leveson has uncovered is the level of collusion between press, politicians and the state to do over anyone seen as a threat to their interests, and that includes the trade union movement.

“From the miners to the firefighters and right up to date with our struggles today on transport and public services, no stone has been left unturned in vilifying and slandering those with the guts to stand up and fight back.

]]> 0
Pre-Christmas pay fight in Marks& Spencer’s supply chain Wed, 28 Nov 2012 15:51:32 +0000 Continue reading ]]> RMT MEMBERS at DHL’s Neasden depot, supply chain partners of Marks and Spencer’s and a key transport and distribution hub for pre-Christmas deliveries, will strike again for 24 hours this Friday and Monday in an on-going dispute over pay and conditions.

Following a unanimous vote for action, and a rock solid strike on the 22nd October, RMT’s executive has instructed members as follows, not to book on for any shifts between:

· 00:01 hours and 23:59 hours on Friday 30th November 2012.

· 00:01 hours and 23:59 hours on Monday 3rd December 2012

Strike action scheduled for three weeks ago was suspended by RMT after management claimed that they were tabling an improved offer. However, after close scrutiny and consultation with members it was found that the “improved” offer was no such thing and as a result strike action is back on.

DHL are the supply chain partners of Marks and Spencer’s and the company have a veto over the pay and conditions of the DHL workforce. Attempts by DHL to make an earlier, improved offer to the Neasden depot staff were sabotaged by a direct intervention by Marks and Spencer’s who demanded that the offer be withdrawn.

The core of the dispute hinges on the fact that the Neasden workforce are on the same terms and conditions but on lower pay scales than those members at DHL Enfield. Despite attempts by RMT to negotiate a settlement here has also been no resolution so far to the union demands for harmonisation between the depots or the call for the company to honour paid breaks.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:

“RMT members have been led up the garden path by DHL. What was claimed to be an “improved” offer turned out to be no such thing and we detect once again the corrosive influence of Marks and Spencer’s in this dispute and that’s why we are back into strike action in the run up to Christmas at this key distribution depot.

“It is a scandal that the highly-profitable Marks and Spencer’s organisation are using strong arm tactics to drive down pay to poverty levels in the supply chain at DHL. While the board room is awash with cash they expect the staff who generate those profits to accept shockingly low pay and attacks on their living standards that are a national disgrace.

“RMT is urging members to stand firm together and support this action with the same 100% solidarity as they have shown in both the ballot for action and the earlier round of strike action. Previous unsatisfactory offers from the Company have all been rejected by the union as they do not meet the real increased cost of living. RMT remains available for talks but is down to Marks and Spencer’s to lift their veto and allow those talks on pay justice to commence.”

]]> 0
John Lewis Cleaners in New Pay Dispute Fri, 16 Nov 2012 14:44:10 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Today, Monday 12th November, the Industrial Workers of the World union (IWW) have lodged a fresh pay dispute on behalf of outsourced cleaners at John Lewis. This follows an IWW cleaners strike at John Lewis in Oxford Street earlier in the year – the first strike in John Lewis history.

In the run up to Christmas and January sales, John Lewis can expect to see profits spike, bringing in £millions. Meanwhile, our members working in their buildings are earning minimum wage of just £6.19 p/h.

Budget cuts have seen their workloads increase, leading to stress, sickness and depression. But with no sick pay, they have to carry on regardless. Meanwhile, poverty pay means home life is a daily struggle.

The cleaners, working at four John Lewis sites in South London including the famous Peter Jones store in Sloane Square and the company HQ in Victoria, are not part of John Lewis’ famous ‘partnership’. Instead they are employed by a contractor, Integrated Cleaning Management Ltd. (ICM), part of the giant Compass Group Ltd.

But now these second class workers have had enough.

Following extensive attempts by the workers to improve their situation, their union IWW entered a new pay claim with ICM on 26th October. Clear, realistic and reasonable, not to mention necessary, the pay claim aims at an immediate and backdated increase to £6.72 p/h for cleaners, £8 p/h for supervisors, plus a timetable of discussions aimed at securing full London Living Wage of £8.55 and full sick pay.

ICM have not been able to respond within the agreed 14 day period and therefore IWW have today lodged this fresh trade dispute. If no resolution is forthcoming, IWW and our members are ready and willing to pursue any lawful action available, up to and including lawful industrial action in the run up to Christmas and January sales.

Contact: for more information.

]]> 0