Solidarity Magazine » TSSA Fri, 01 Mar 2013 19:29:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Britain’s two largest rail unions agree to merger talks Fri, 22 Jul 2011 16:49:58 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Publication Date: July 22 2011

The TSSA and RMT unions today agreed to commit to formal talks which could ultimately lead to a merger of the two unions. Initial discussions will focus on closer working between both unions initially through a federation structure with a view to moving towards a merger. Both unions also agreed that the door will remain open for other smaller specialist unions in transport who may be thinking along similar lines to join the discussions at a future date.

Commenting on the decision, TSSA General Secretary Gerry Doherty said : “Today’s decision will hopefully be the start of a process designed to serve the interests of future generations of transport and travel trade workers. We owe an obligation to our children and our children’s children to leave better organisations that protect workers in the very uncertain future that they currently face”

Speaking on behalf of the RMT, General Secretary Bob Crow said : “This is a historical day for the trade union movement. These talks will bring together two unions each with over a hundred years of specialising in the transport industry in the interests of workers.”

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RMT and TSSA step up industrial action in fight over safe tube staffing levels – staff will not participate in £5 Oyster top-up from Sunday 3RD October Fri, 24 Sep 2010 09:45:48 +0000 Continue reading ]]>

TUBE UNION’S RMT AND TSSA confirmed today that the next phase of industrial action on the tube network in the fight to defend safe staffing levels is on and that the scale of the action will be ramped up with union members refusing to participate in the £5 minimum Oyster top-up from Sunday 3rd October.

The overtime ban, which is already having a significant impact and causing station closures, remains in force and the staggered 24 hour strikes starting on 3rd October, 2nd November and 28th November are on.

The revised schedule of joint RMT/TSSA action is:

  • All members in the former Metronet maintenance grades are instructed to take strike action and not to work from 19.00 hours on Sunday 3rd October until 18.59 hours on Monday 4th October.
  • Nor from 19.00 hours on Tuesday 2nd November until 18.59 hours on Wednesday 3rd November
  • Nor from 19.00 hours on Sunday 28th November until 18.59 hours on Monday 29th November.
  • All other LUL members are instructed not to book on for any shifts commencing between 18.29 hours on Sunday 3rd October until 18.28 hours on Monday 4th October
  • Nor from 21.00 hours on Tuesday 2nd November until 20.59 hours on Wednesday 3rd November
  • Nor from 18.29 hours on Sunday 28th November until 18.28 hours on Monday 29th November.
  • The ban on overtime remains in place until further notice.
  • From 00.01 hours on Sunday 3 October until further notice, all members are further instructed not to participate in the £5 minimum Oyster top up; nor to carry out higher grade working in a station control room, nor in the role of Station Supervisor, nor to substitute for the Station Supervisor when the Supervisor is not available.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:

We have made every effort to resolve this dispute over safe staffing levels through negotiations and continue to pursue a settlement that will protect the safety of both staff and passengers and the quality of service to Tube users at all times and at all locations. Following talks at ACAS yesterday it is now up to London Underground management to come back to us with a positive response.

Our members have shown their determination to defend the ticket offices, safety-critical station jobs and the whole future of a safe and secure tube network and we have announced the additional action today to push that campaign forwards.

The Mayor and his transport officials cannot simply wash their hands of this dispute. Boris Johnson has said that he will stand up and fight for London against the ConDem government cuts – that’s exactly what RMT and TSSA members are doing on the tube right in the Mayor’s own back yard. Rather than attacking us the Mayor, as Chair of TfL, should instruct his officials to put safety first and withdraw the cuts that they are bulldozing through without agreement and with complete disregard for the consequences.”

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Strike solid as RMT demands Rail Regulator investigation to breaches of Post-Kings Cross Fire Safety Rules Tue, 07 Sep 2010 16:09:26 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Tube union RMT confirmed this morning that support for strike action amongst both TSSA and RMT members’ remains rock solid as the two unions continue their fight for tube safety and safe staffing levels.

RMT are also filing reports this morning with the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) detailing clear breaches of safety regulations:

· On the Bakerloo Line a limited “shuttle service” is running non-stop from Marylebone to Queens Park passing through six closed stations – a clear breach of the fire regulations that stipulate if three stations in a row are closed the service should be suspended as an incident in a tunnel would make safe evacuation impossible.

· A similar situation on the District Line where Embankment, Temple, Blackfriars and Mansion House are closed – with Cannon St expected to close – but trains still being allowed to run through in contravention of regulations.

· 150 passengers dumped off a train on the Central Line at Leytonstone and forced to climb over fences to get out of the closed station after managers were caught out trying to run an under-staffed service and were forced to cancel in mid-stream.

· RMT have also dismissed TfL claims that a normal service is running on the Northern Line even though a large number of stations on the route are closed.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:

“The message to the Mayor and his transport officials this morning is clear – stop playing fast and loose with safety, stop the drive towards unstaffed stations, drop the threat of these lethal cuts and start meaningful talks on a safe and secure future for the London tube system,

Our members have shown in their rock solid support for this action that they will not sit idly by while staffing levels are hacked to the bone and the management open the door to a major disaster.

We are also compiling evidence of breaches of post Kings Cross safety regulations that are being given the green light by management this morning. Those regulations are there for a purpose, breaking them is a lethal gamble with passenger safety to maintain a PR front and that’s a scandal.”

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A message to Tube passengers from Tube staff: Why we are striking: To defend services, safety and jobs Tue, 31 Aug 2010 16:58:50 +0000 Continue reading ]]>

London Underground plans to:

  • get rid of around 800 station staff posts
  • reduce ticket office opening times by around 7,500 hours
  • carry out essential maintenance checks on trains every four weeks instead of every two weeks
  • cut the number of train drivers’ posts

Tube trade unions RMT and TSSA have tried for months to persuade London Underground to scrap these unnecessary and dangerous cuts. We have spent hours in talks, have lobbied politicians, and have won lots of support from passengers. But London Underground and the Mayor have not listened.

London Underground has left members of the two unions with no choice but to hold strikes and other industrial action. We are prepared to lose money by striking because we are not prepared to see London’s workers and passengers put at risk, left without help, or have vital services withdrawn. We are professional railway staff and we want to be able to do our jobs safely and properly.

We believe that people who live in, visit and work in London need:

  • a safe, secure London Underground
  • open ticket offices
  • more Tube staff, not fewer
  • job opportunities for unemployed people and school-leavers

We understand that strikes can cause disruption and distress. We want the staff cuts withdrawn so that we do not have to carry on striking. Please support our campaign.

Fewer station staff means:

  • a less safe London Underground
  • less information and help during delays and disruptions
  • it will be harder to evacuate stations quickly and safely in the event of an emergency eg. fire, crash, bombing
  • less help for disabled, elderly and other vulnerable passengers
  • less chance of you getting the help you need with directions, information, lost property, accidents or other issues
  • less deterrent to assault, vandalism and other harmful behaviour
  • you will feel less secure travelling around London Underground

Shorter ticket office opening hours means you will not be able to get a ticket seller’s help when:

  • you have a problem with your ticket or Oyster
  • the ticket machines are not working (which will happen more often with fewer staff to service them)
  • you need to buy a ticket that is not available elsewhere
  • you believe that the ticketing system has treated you unfairly
  • your ticket or Oyster does not work
  • you want the ‘personal touch’ in dealing with your issue

Less frequent train maintenance and fewer drivers means:

  • trains potentially going into passenger services with defective brakes and other parts
  • serious risk of accidents, injuries and even deaths
  • trains more likely to be cancelled and therefore more delays to your journey

Support our campaign against staffing cuts:

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10,000 Tube staff to strike to defend jobs and safety Wed, 25 Aug 2010 14:02:42 +0000 Continue reading ]]>

SOME 10,000 members London Underground’s two biggest unions will begin a rolling series of strikes on September 6 against plans to axe 800 station and other staff and close ticket-offices, after RMT and TSSA members voted overwhelmingly for action to defend jobs and safety.

Ex-Metronet (maintenance and engineering) staff will begin their first 24-hour strike at 17:00 on September 6, with similar action also scheduled to begin at the same time on Sunday October 3; Tuesday November 2, and Sunday November 28.

Other LUL grades (including station and revenue staff, operational managers, drivers and signallers) will start their first 24-hour strike at 21:00 on Monday September 6, with similar action also set to start at the same time on Sunday October 3; Tuesday November 2, and Sunday November 28.

An indefinite overtime ban for all LUL members of both unions will start at a minute after midnight on Monday September 6. Timings and forms of action may also be varied.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said:

LUL and the mayor must understand that the cuts they want to impose are unacceptable to our members and will undermine safety and service for the travelling public.

The mayor was elected on a promise of maintaining safe staffing levels and he is doing the opposite, planning to leave stations and platforms dangerously understaffed and threatening to turn the network into a muggers’ paradise.

We have already had potential disasters narrowly averted, with fires at Euston and Oxford Circus and a runaway train on the Northern Line, and Boris Johnson’s planned cuts would deal a potentially fatal blow to the ability to deal with emergencies.”

TSSA general secretary Gerry Doherty said:

“Boris Johnson may be prepared to go into the Olympic Games with a second-class Tube service when the eyes of the world will be on the capital: we are not.

We will defend a vital public service on which millions of people depend every day of their working lives.

We will not see jobs and services sacrificed to pay for the sins of the City of London and Wall Street.”

Notes to editors:

TfL plans to axe 800 station-staff jobs and to cut ticket-office opening times by 7,500 hours a week across the network.

Earlier this month potential disasters at Oxford Circus and Euston were averted when both stations were evacuated safely by trained and experienced station staff after they spotted smoke – and it these staff that the Mayor wants to cut.

A runaway engineering train came within seconds of crashing into a commuter train this month, yet TfL plans to halve safety-critical inspections of train brakes and other equipment from fortnightly to monthly to cut costs at the expense of safety.

TfL has admitted that the Tube network is still relying on infrastructure dating from the 1920s.

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RMT signalling members vote for action Sun, 21 Mar 2010 13:26:55 +0000 Continue reading ]]>

RAIL UNION RMT announced this morning that a ballot for action of signalling and supervisory staff has returned a vote of 54% for strike action and a vote of 77% for action short of a strike on a turnout of 71% in a dispute over safety and the imposition of new working conditions.

The ballot result follows an overwhelming vote for action by RMT Network Rail maintenance staff last week and a vote endorsing strikes by sister union TSSA.

The results of the ballot will now be considered by the RMT executive next Thursday – 25th March – where if there is no resolution to the dispute, action will be called.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:

Once again in this ballot RMT members have shown that they back the unions campaign against Network Rail’s cuts programme and the assault on jobs and working conditions that even the Government’s own regulator, the ORR, has said will have severe safety implications out on the tracks.

Nobody should be under any illusions about just how determined RMT members are to win our fight against Network Rail’s cuts programme and to stop this reckless gamble with rail safety. Over 150 MP’s have signed the Early Day Motion opposing Network Rail’s cuts plans and have urged the Government to intervene to call a halt to this jobs carnage on the tracks.

Last week the transport minister Sadiq Khan said in the Commons that it would be “unwise to shed jobs” with the planned expansion of the railways that is underway and we are calling for him to ram that point home with Network Rail.

RMT remains committed to reaching a negotiated settlement with Network Rail based on protecting safety-critical jobs and safe working practices. With the combination of the strike mandates, political and public pressure the focus is now on the company to pull back from the brink and reverse their cuts programme. ”

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Tube safety talks stall again Wed, 19 Mar 2008 13:14:47 +0000 Continue reading ]]> ATTEMPTS TO kick-start talks with London Underground over a raft of safety and staffing issues have foundered again over the company’s insistence on retaining the use of agency and security staff and mobile supervisors.

Talks initially broke down a week ago when TSSA and RMT negotiators representing more than 7,500 station staff and drivers were told that LUL intended to renege on its pledge to ensure that all station staff are directly employed and fully trained to LUL safety standards.

LUL today not only refused to budge from that position, but also signalled that they would not automatically be offering jobs at the new service control centres to existing skilled LUL signalling operators, turning existing agreements on their head.

“Once more we are being told that agency and security staff are part of a new employment model and that the crazy concept of mobile station supervisors is here to stay, but now we are also being told that the career path for trained Tube staff is being blocked,” RMT general secretary Bob Crow said.

“LUL have effectively unmade all the progress that was made at earlier talks, and have confirmed our fears that they are intent on tearing up the existing safety rule book,” Bob Crow said.

“LUL asked us to get back around the table but today we have been offered absolutely nothing new, and LUL has merely confirmed that it intends to press ahead with its plans to casualise key safety-critical work and undermine safety standards,” said TSSA senior regional organiser John Page.

“At Terminal 5 we are being told that it is OK to have agency staff working for a subcontractor to a subcontractor undertaking safety-critical duties like train despatch, and that is no more acceptable to us this week than it was last week,” John Page said.

Notes to editors: Members ofTSSA have voted by a margin of four to one for industrial action, RM’s ballot will close on March 27.

Ticket office closures and cuts to opening times: LUL temporarily halted plans to close 40 ticket offices and to cut the opening times of many more after the unions’ campaign campaign last year led to a public outcry. However, LUL has refused to say that the plans have been withdrawn completely.

RMT and TSSA are demanding the complete withdrawal of the plans

Staffing levels – emergency plans and guidelines:LUL has unilaterally decided to vary Section 4.2 of the Congestion Control and Emergency Plan to remove the specification of the minimum numbers of each grade of station staff that are to be on duty at any time.

RMT and TSSA are demanding the reinstatement of the original numbers of each grade of fully trained and fully familiarised station staff.

Refusal to work on grounds of safety:Under the guise of simplification LUL has changed its policy, undermining safety and breaching legislation.

RMT and TSSA are demanding the immediate re-instatement of the original policy.

Mobile supervisors:LUL wants to introduce ‘mobile supervisors’ responsible for several stations, and to continue to staff stations recently taken over from Silverlink only during the limited hours decided by the previous franchise holder. But what happens in an emergency when the mobile supervisor is in the wrong place – or even stuck between stations on a train?

RMT and TSSA are demanding that every station is fully staffed during traffic hours by the appropriate number of customer-service and station assistants, supervised by station supervisors in line with agreements and safety requirements.

Terminal 5 staffing: LUL wants to staff the new station with staff subcontracted from other firms but wearing LUL uniforms.

RMT and TSSA believe that this has serious safety implications and has demanded that the station is staffed by people trained and employed directly by LUL.

Use of agency staff: LUL wants to continue using agency staff on former Silverlink stations, including those used for ticketing and revenue duties

RMT and TSSA are demanding that the practice ends when the training of former Silverlink staff is completed and current contracts ends, and a guarantee that only directly employed LUL staff are used for stations and ticketing operations

Use of security staff: RMT and TSSA are demanding an agreement that security at all LUL-owned or -managed stations must be provided at all times by directly employed staff in appropriate grades, supplemented by the normal co-operation with the BTP and Metropolitan police forces.

Lone working: RMT and TSSA are demanding an agreement that there must be no rostered lone working unless undertaken from a place of safety.

Direct recruitment of station supervisors, train operators and service-control staff: LUL is now systematically denying career opportunities to experienced railway staff and recruiting externally, turning on its head an agreement that external advertising can take place if there are insufficient internal applications.

RMT and TSSA are demanding a complete review of recruitment policy to establish a policy that preserves and encourages a career path for experienced railway staff.

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Network Rail operational staff reject pay offer and threaten ballot Fri, 07 Mar 2008 11:51:33 +0000 Continue reading ]]> Publication Date: March 6 2008

NETWORK RAIL has today been given seven days to improve its two-year pay and conditions offer to 7,000 signalling and other key operational staff or face ballots for industrial action by the two biggest rail unions.

In co-ordinated referendums that closed today members of RMT and TSSA in operational, customer services and project and engineering-support grades voted heavily to reject the offer, of 4.8 per cent this year and RPI plus 0.5 per cent in 2009.
Members of Unite have also been urged to reject the offer in a referendum yet to close.

The unions had signalled that the offer for year one would be acceptable, but that the second-year element would not protect members against the rising cost of living, with key costs, including fuel bills and pension contributions, rising far faster than the official inflation rate.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow today said: “By a margin of two to one our members have voted decisively to reject an inadequate offer that would leave them less well off.

“Their verdict is quite clear and we have today told Network Rail that unless there is an acceptable offer on the table within seven days we will put in place arrangements for a ballot for strike action.”

TSSA assistant general secretary Manuel Cortes said: “We are happy to accept 4.8 per cent for this year but next year’s offer would mean a cut in our members’ living standards with soaring power bills and higher pension contributions,”

“They have demonstrated by this vote that they will not accept that situation and are now ready to vote on industrial action unless Network Rail comes back to the table with a sensible offer.”

Notes to editors: The company’s current two-year offer is of an increase of 4.8 per cent from January 2008 and Retail Price Index (RPI) plus 0.5 per cent from January 2009. It has also tabled a 6.7 per cent increase in London & South East allowances from April 2009, although with nothing offered in 2008, and an increase in the travel subsidy to 50 per cent in April 2008 and 60 per cent in April 2009.

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