This week, we re-produce a statement from RMT General Secretary Bob Crow after the announcement of massive job cuts on London Underground (LUL) and the further threat to the living standards of tube workers. The NSSN appeals to all trade unions to give full support to the unions and their members on LUL Hear Bob Crow on LBC radio November 25
“As every LUL member must now be aware London Underground has announced the closure of ALL ticket offices by as early as 2015 and the subsequent loss of 750 jobs. Despite this Government’s and the Mayor of London’s claim they wish more use of public transport they are cutting LU’s budget by £33m for 2013-14, and £45m for 2014-15. And this despite January’s 4.2% increase in fares across the tube, buses and trams.
Following the announcement the General Grades Committee met as a matter of urgency and has noted that as a result of this decision that every ticket office will close by 2015, that nearly one thousand jobs on stations will go with a net loss of 750 jobs, that stations will be staffed when trains are running which suggests that they may not have Supervisors present and may no longer be staffed when trains are not running at night and a full restructuring of station staffing, with all job roles changing and staff being re-evaluated for their own jobs.
The General Grades Committee has asked me to put out the following statement to members, the press, the public and London Underground Management:-
“RMT deplores London Underground Ltd’s announcement today that it plans to close every ticket office, scrap nearly 1,000 stations jobs and reorganise station staffing including the removal of Station Supervisors at some stations. This is a catastrophic attack on London Underground’s passengers and staff. It is not aimed at improving our Tube but at saving millions of pounds following the government’s 12.5% cut to Transport for London’s funding.
RMT also opposes the company’s plans to replace skilled workers with unreliable automation in all areas of its work, including train maintenance, engineering, service control and even train operation.
We believe that London needs an Underground that is adequately staffed to ensure an accessible, safe, reliable service, and that Londoners need more jobs not fewer. Today’s announcement takes London in the opposite direction.
RMT calls on London Underground Ltd and the Mayor to abandon these reckless plans. We remind Boris Johnson that he claimed to oppose ticket office closures when he was seeking Londoners’ votes. We will be working with other trade unions and the wider community to oppose these cuts.
RMT has made its opposition to staffing cuts clear to London Underground Ltd over a long period, but the company’s well-paid Directors have not listened to us so far. With LUL today beginning a 90-day process towards imposing these cuts as early as February, we need to take industrial action in an effort to make the company see sense. RMT’s Executive has today agreed to pursue a high-profile campaign and to ballot all our London Underground members for strikes and action short of strikes.”
The General Grades Committee has instructed me to hold an immediate ballot of all LUL members for strikes and action short of strikes, with notice to be served by Tuesday 26 November 2013 and the ballot to close in January 2014. I will of course ensure this is implemented and will write to LUL in line with all legal requirements.
The General Grades Committee feels we need to begin this ballot immediately because:-
•LUL has formally begun a 90-day consultation, so could impose these cuts as early as February.
•We will study and discuss the detail of LUL’s announcement, but we know enough already to know that this will be devastating for passengers and workers.
•RMT has been telling LUL for several years that we oppose cuts in staffing levels and ticket offices, but the company has not listened.
•There is time during the balloting period for further talks, during which we hope that LUL will see sense and/or London’s elected representatives will intervene to stop these job cuts.
•Laws designed to slow down industrial action mean that to take action in the New Year; we need to begin balloting now.
We are confident that the other trade unions on London Underground will also oppose these cuts and I am seeking an urgent meeting in the hope of developing a co-ordinated strategy.
The union has the legal right to submit an alternative proposal for consideration, and we will be preparing one which will be based on maintenance of staffing levels and safety standards, and return of all privatised functions to a unified, publicly-owned London Underground.
The General Grades Committee believe that these cuts will have a negative knock-on effect on our TfL members and will address this matter as soon as possible.
I am also arranging the production and mass distribution of a leaflet to the public.
I shall create and expand a special section on this campaign on the RMT website and urge members to utilise our Regional Council’s website page (www.rmtlondoncalling.org.uk/every-job-matters), Twitter account (Every Job Matters @LULnojobcuts) and Facebook page (Every Job Matters – Defending Jobs on London Underground www.facebook.com/everyjobmatters).
It is important that we start getting all members involved straight away in defence of these jobs and that we make every effort to get as many members as possible to vote in the ballot and to ensure they vote ‘YES’. It is imperative that we get a high turn-out to show we are a united front. This is not just about station staff; it is going to have a knock on effect on all staff. And members should be aware that whenever an employer comes for one group of staff, and is successful in reducing numbers or attacking terms and conditions, the rest are not far behind.
I will be emailing, sending out text messages and updating website on a regular basis and would ask that all branches and all representatives get actively involved in ensuring members are aware of LUL’s massive attack on them and the steps their union is taking in their defence.”
RMT confirms start of tube dispute balloting process (Nov 26) – read more from RMT website
Read special RMT ‘ London Calling’ bulletin Read TSSA statement
Want to get more involved in the NSSN? Come to one of our regional Conferences. If there is not one in your area, get in touch to either assist in organising or have a speaker at one of your meetings or events. Contact Rob or Linda on [email protected]
November 30 Midlands NSSN conference – 12pm-4pm, Unite offices in Broad Street, Birmingham Flyer can be downloaded here
January 18 2014 Southern NSSN conference (hosted by UNITE Bracknell) ‘Building the Fightback against Austerity’ – 2pm to 5pm, Priestwood Community Centre, Bracknell
8th Annual NSSN Conference will be on Saturday 5th July 2014 in London.
RMT condemns LU’s disregard for women victims of violence (25 Nov) – On the day designated by the United National to highlight and oppose violence against women http, rail union RMT has revealed that while some employers are working with the union to develop a policy on domestic violence, London Underground has refused to do so. The union also believes that LU’s plans to close all its ticket offices and remove nearly 1,000 staff from stations will make women passengers more vulnerable to assault read more
Mitie (First Great Western) – Strike Action Update (22 Nov) read more
Further & Higher Education strike on December 3rd by UCU, Unison, Unite and EIS
Unison: Further talks with employers to resolve higher education pay dispute (Nov 25) read more
UCU: University strike still on as employers refuse to improve rejected pay offer (Nov 21) read more
UCU: members in further education colleges vote for strike action in row over pay (Nov 20) read more
EIS: Update on Trade Union- Employer Talks: New JNCHES Pay Negotiations 2013-14 (Nov 21) read more
Transforming Rehabilitation – the fight against privatisation of the probation service
NAPO: Transforming Rehabilitation – NNC talks break down after chaotic MoJ intervention (Nov 25) read more
Unison: Probation talks break down. Union moving to prepare to ballot members over industrial action (Nov 25) read more
Protesting firefighters say Mayor’s fire cuts will put lives at risk ahead of court hearing (Nov 25) – A judicial review into cuts to fire and rescue services in London begins at the High Court tomorrow read more
Video update on pensions campaign (Nov 21) read more
Post Office members rock-solid and determined to win (21st Nov) – POL Admin, Cash Centre and Cash and Valuables in Transit (CViT) workers enthusiastically joined their Crown Post Office colleagues’ campaign for fair pay and job security across the UK yesterday (Wednesday) read more
Update on Royal Mail talks (20 Nov) read more
Join our protest against zero hours (25 Nov) – Our members working on zero-hour contracts at national institutions such as the Science Museum are staging a protest against these insecure terms and conditions. Reps and members from our culture sector are staging the protest on the Tate modern side of the Millennium Bridge in London from 1pm tomorrow (26 November) as part of our young workers’ week read more
Photo of PCS AGS Chris Baugh from protest – https://twitter.com/neilcaff/status/405328064340832256/photo/1
St Mungos workers vote to strike – Members at the St Mungo’s “North Herts Sanctuary” project in Hitchin have voted to strike for a week from 30th November. This will be the first strike in the history of St Mungo’s read more from Unite LE/1111 housing workers branch
Settlement at One Housing – After a long dispute involving eleven days of strike action members at One Housing Group have voted to accept a significantly improved management offer read more from Unite LE/1111 housing workers branch
Global delivery workers fight back against alleged bullying (22 Nov) – Workers at ITF-affiliated Unite the Union took action on unreasonable workloads and alleged bullying with a 24-hour strike, which started at 00.01 on Friday 22 November in London, UK. RMT members also visited to show their support. Onay Kasab, Unite regional officer, explained the background to the strike at the picket line: “It’s a very basic issue, it’s about being able to start and finish work at a reasonable time. The UPS workers here are not allowed to finish at their contractual finish time, they are forced to work overtime. If the delivery workers miss deliveries, they are disciplined. The workers loading the lorries are treated no better – the nickname for where they work is the chicken coop. Nobody should be working like this in this day and age – it’s about dignity, respect, having a reasonable workload and finishing work at the time they’re supposed to finish work.” read more from ITF website
Celebration of Hovis Workers Victory against Zero Hours Contracts on November 30th
Wigan trades union council presents a celebration of Hovis workers’ historic strike against austerity and low wages – Saturday afternoon 30th November @ Whelley labour club, Northumberland street, Wigan WN1 3PZ (off the Whelley) 1.00pm – 6.00pm
All trade unionists and their families welcome to a feast of music, entertainment, speeches and resistance to austerity
Speakers from Bakers Union, Hovis, Fire Fighters, Posties, Teachers, Civil Servants, Local Government, and others. PLUS Theatre, Comedy, Music and Food.
Contact 0771957200 for more information more info on BFAWU website
POA welcome prisons remaining in public sector (Nov 22) – The POA have welcomed a decision announced today by the Secretary of State Chris Grayling that Serco will not be awarded the contract for HMP Hatfield, HMP Lindholme and HMP Moorland and that they will be remaining in the public sector read more
Grayling climbs down in Prison sell-off (Nov 22) – The justice secretary Chris Grayling has today issued a statement to Parliament which confirms that three South Yorkshire Prisons at Hatfield, Lindholme and Moorland are reverting to Public Sector control while the SFO investigation into Serco’s activities involving Electronic Monitoring contracts remains ongoing read more
BBC must use outside mediator to deal with bullying (20 Nov) – The BBC’s failure to agree to employ an independent mediator for bullying cases was condemned by a conference of unions representing workers at the corporation read more
Outsourced IWGB members working for Balfour Beatty Workplace (BBW) at the University of London have voted overwhelmingly for strike action as they pursue their goals of recognition, protection for Garden Halls workers and the 3 Cosas. The ballot results, published today, show a massive 97% vote in favour of strike action, on a huge 70% turnout. The first days of action have been called for Wednesday 27 November and Thursday 28 November, the first of these being Foundation Day at the University of London, the traditional event when the Chancellor Princess Anne bestows honorary degrees on the great and good read more
Defend Yorkshire Ambulance Service – from Steve Miller Unite EC
Yesterday we had a successful lobby of parliament engaging with Yorkshire MPs as well as a detailed discussion with Andy Burnham Shadow Health Minister. Andy Burnham was genuinely shocked as the Ambulance Staff explained to him the damage cuts to frontline services are doing to the service they provide to the public.
He has ensured us he will raise this in Parliament next week. His office have asked staff to forward on their experiences of how the cost cutting is putting lives at risk. So if any of you have any evidence that can be used by Andy Burnham when he questions Mr Hunt next Tuesday please email [email protected]
Meanwhile the dispute and campaign for re-recognition proceeds and we will be keeping up the political pressure as well as a 2 hour leafleting session at the Trust Board meeting next Tuesday at Bridlington Spa 9 am. If any of you would like join us please do so. There is also the possibility of another industrial action ballot but this is being carefully considered as it may impact upon the political support we have been promised, but I will keep you all informed if anything develops.
ReelNews: DVDs and website videos for union & anti-cuts activists – Get new DVD – includes teachers & firefighters strikes order
ReelNews benefit – The Grosvenor, Sydney Rd London SW9, Nov 30 – 8 till late flyer
Blacklisting & Victimisation
National TUC anti-blacklisting day of action November 20:
Report from NSSN website ReelNews video Scottish Parliament demo
Miliband calls for blacklisting inquiry (Nov 21) more from Blacklist Support Group
TUC calls for a proper inquiry into blacklisting (Nov 21) more from Blacklist Support Group
Unite accuses Cameron government of running scared on action to tackle blacklisting employers (20 Nov) more from Unite website
ICO to Contact 1,200 on Blacklist (Nov 20) more from GMB website
UCATT welcomes Scottish Government anti-blacklisting measures (21 Nov) more from UCATT website
The building industry is in court this Friday facing conspiracy charges on blacklisting – there will be a demo at 9am outside High Court in the Strand, London WC2A 2LL at 9am
The Information Commissioners Office has suspended sending letters to individuals whose names appear on the Consulting Association database following a complaint by the Blacklist Support Group (BSG) sent to David Smith, the Deputy Commissioner at the ICO. The BSG complaint condemns the actions of the ICO and describes how “From being the champions of blacklisted workers, the ICO is now a barrier in our path to achieve justice”.
The dispute follows the announcement that five years after seizing the blacklist, the ICO are now finally sending letters to 1200 individuals where they hold addresses and national insurance numbers, something activists and unions have argued for all along. The ICO letter has however been condemned by victims and unions alike as its letter directs these workers, who in many cases have no idea that there name appears on the Consulting Association database, to the blacklist compensation scheme set up by the very companies who blacklisted them in the first place. The BSG complaint describes this as “like sending the victims of crime to the criminals to receive justice”.
Dave Smith – secretary BSG said:
“While we are glad that the ICO has finally decided to place details of the Blacklist Support Group on its website and in any future correspondence with blacklisted workers.
Our criticism of the ICO letter directing victims to the employers scheme however still stands. Anyone who is tempted to visit this scheme prior to having received full legal advice or guidance of alternative options will be in severe danger of forfeiting their rights and is likely to receive a massively reduced level of compensation”.
The first set of talks relating to the compensation scheme ended early when the BSG negotiation team walked out in disgust at the “insulting” £1000 offer made by the blacklisting firms. The employer’s blacklist compensation scheme is widely viewed as a publicity stunt to deflect attention from the blacklisting High Court claim for “unlawful conspiracy” being brought by Guney Clark & Ryan solicitors and supported by the BSG (first hearing this Friday 29th Nov).
Press info about the High Court claim contact: Liam Dunne [email protected]
International (also see Labourstart)
Iran: Unions call for the immediate release of Iranian journalists (21 Nov) – The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) has called for the Iranian government to immediately release all journalists who are being illegally detained in the country. The call came after a meeting between the IFJ general secretary, Beth Costa, and Leila Liaghat, the wife of imprisoned Iranian journalist Alireza Rajaei more from NUJ website
USA: Demand Respect for Walmart Workers Sign UNI Global union petition
Sri Lanka: No to dirty Ansell gloves – 800 striking workers in Sri Lanka need our help. They are employed by Ansell, an Australian-based manufacturer of medical gloves and condoms. Ansell has replaced them with scabs in an attempt to break the union more from Labourstart
Diary (see & use false economy)
27 Fight Tory Attacks on Trade Unions – Struggles of the Past, Lessons for the Future – 6.30pm Room D103, UCL Union Building, 25 Gordon Street, London WC1H 0AY (near Euston)
29 Teaching Assistants’ celebration day more here
30 Midlands NSSN conference: 12noon-4pm Unite offices in Broad Street, Birmingham
Brighton demonstration of Solidarity with Russian LGBTQ People “To Russia with Love”
Speakers include Russian LGBTQ activists and Peter Tatchell
7 March to stop the closures of Sunbury and Staines Fire Stations. Assemble 11.30am in Forest Drive, next to Sunbury Fire Station more from Surrey FBU
18 Southern NSSN conference (hosted by UNITE Bracknell) ‘Building the Fightback against Austerity’ – 2pm to 5pm, Priestwood Community Centre, Bracknell