Category Archives: Transport

NATIONAL RMT PROTEST AGAINST DRIVER ONLY OPERATION ON WEDS 25TH APRIL?

RMT holding a national protest against Driver Only Operation outside Parliament on Weds 25th April at 11.30 at Old Palace Yard, London, SW1P 3JY (Opposite the Palace of Westminster and in front of the George V statue).

The rally coincides with the 2nd anniversary of the start of RMT strike action on Southern against Driver Only Operation and in defence of keeping the guard on the train. Since the initial dispute began on Southern, RMT members on Northern, Merseyrail, Greater Anglia, Scotrail  and South Western Railways have also taken strike action in opposition to the assault on jobs, safety, security and accessibility.

After the protest a meeting will be held in Houses of Parliament with a number of guest speakers. Further details will be posted at www.rmt.org.uk

The sheer grit and determination of our members to put public safety before private profit over the past two years is a credit to the trade union movement and the communities they are standing up for.

We will be demonstrating outside Parliament to show that we are as determined now as we were two years ago – when the first dispute started – to defend the role of the guard on the train and the basic principles of passenger safety and accessibility.

RMT has now successfully secured agreements in both Wales and Scotland that lock-in the guard guarantee and if it’s good enough for Wales and Scotland to put safety and the role of the guard centre stage then it should be good enough for the rest of Britain as well.

The Barnet Society Public Meeting, February 22nd 2018 – Report by Jenny Brown

The four political parties, plenty of questions from more than 120 High Barnet residents.

Housing:

Question from the Barnet Society Chair: What about empty residences in Barnet – approx 4,000 of them are “long term empty”?

Questions from the public showed concern about homelessness, high rents and unaffordable homes.

The Conservative comment from their woman representative, was that “the law needs to change. We have to house homeless people – it is statutory,” she said in relation to a question asking how it is right that we spend £25 million on providing emergency accommodation.

An audience member said the Conservatives had introduced “Right to Buy”

Liberal Democrat comment was they are the only party wanting to stop “Right to Buy.”

Amy from Labour refuted. She spoke about The new London Plan recently published by Sadiq Kahn, giving alternative ways to provide affordable housing.

  • Paul Edwards added that between 40% and 50% of social housing will be expected from developers because there will be the political will to negotiate this if Labour win.
  • Developers reap profit from being allowed to supply the housing market, where in Barnet £400,000 is considered affordable and some units sell for a million, showing scope for the developer to afford to build social housing on site. Rental provides housing revenue to maintain rather than sell the social homes.
  • In addition 800 Council homes would be built across Barnet for social rent. He said the Tories have caved into developers all over the borough

The Green Party:

  • Ways to use building apprenticeships under supervision to build self builds with the involvement of those who will be living in them.
  • Pre-fabs were discussed as viable and realistic.
  • Council to take over empty properties and rent them out. The rental is then paid to the property owner. The Council presumably fix the rental so it is a social rental rather than market rental.
  • The policy is “renovate not demolish”, with zero VAT on home renovation.

Robin Bishop, expressed concerns that the 32 London Boroughs have targets to build homes with density now abolished apart from in “conservation areas”. Robin and Nick from the Barnet Society showed concern that the new Labour London Plan would mean 3,300 new homes in High Barnet and Underhill by 2025.

Robin suggested to the meeting, that the next Council administration could draw up it’s own targets rather than following the new London Plan, in view of the 27,000 new homes across Barnet that the Conservative Council set as their own target and which is being met.

The Green belt and Ark secondary school were heated issues. Someone asked why a special school was not achieved. Councillor Longstaff said “We could not do anything because Barnet did not own the land saying the Dept for Education owned the land.”

Transport:

Paul Lemon, labour candidate for High Barnet, talked about improvements to transport if both the London Assembly and Barnet Council were Labour.

  • The cyclists, vehicles and pedestrians need to share our public roads
  • Electric charging points paid for by the Mayor will make a start towards alleviating air pollution. Integrated transport hubs/tram/light rail, suggested.
  • East to West transport links are poor.
  • The same number in High Barnet commute to work in Hertfordshire and beyond, as commute to work in central.
  • Cllr. Longstaff suggested Barnet Hospital build another layer of parking which could benefit those coming to Barnet. He said CPZ’s are always only after consultation.
  • Barnet currently makes between £5.5 M and £6 Million per year from parking charges and fines.
  • Trains from Finchley to High Barnet have been cut.
  • Lorries should be kept out and pay to come into our towns was popular and received applause.

The High Street.

In general the audience felt there was a lack of vision from the panel.

That we need to create reasons for people to come to this destination.

Walks in the woods, Barnet museum, Theatre space, community events around food, music and culture was suggested.

Spaces to sit with cover from wind and rain was suggested by Lib. Dems.

The Lib. Dems. spoke strongly in support of library staff and building libraries back.

Cllr. Longstaff said we are lucky because some boroughs they have closed theirs where as Barnet, he claimed, have kept ours going, increased stocks of books and built two new libraries!

Residents challenged on this as did the Lib. Dems.

Recreation, was raised – before QE girls became an Academy, the community could use the swimming pool, trampoline and other facilities. Recreation can bring people here and serve us.

Residents were concerned about the number of eating places, betting shops and charity shops.

Shops that sell craft and hobby things such as “Hobby Craft” could be approached and invited in.

Street cleaning was discussed. There was a strong mood in favour of bringing services “back in-house”. Paul Edwards said “We are committed to bringing services back in-house.”

Capita Contract was brought up. Cllr. Longstaff, standing in High Barnet for the Conservatives, stated that Council Tax would need to rise by 4% if services were brought back in- house.

Some thought the “litter police” should be catching more people.

On the whole, the event will hopefully lead to more ideas to maintain our High Streets – maybe a toy library/toy exchange with space to play chess/ board games, as a way of using an empty shop (instead of creating another charity shop). Strong support for markets. The teenage market had been successful but not sure if that can continue now that the land that Barnet market was held on, has been sold.

Barnet Market with all it’s historic links is being minimised to a band stand and bit of pavement at the back of the Spires. The meeting noted the losses to Barnet since the Tory administration. Great to have Public Meetings with every chair taken and over a dozen, standing at the back

Now’s our chance to bring East Coast Railway back into public ownership!

This is it. Chris Grayling will be making a decision about what to do with the East Coast rail line any day now

His choice is between bringing the line into public ownership (where TSSA members worked so hard to ensure it was a massive success between from 2009-2014) or handing it straight back to Stagecoach for at least the next two years.

We only have a few days to convince Grayling to make the right choice – he’s said public ownership is on the table, and he’s under pressure from his Department, the Transport Select Committee, and the National Audit Office to make the right decision. This is our chance!

Sign the We Own It Petition

TSSA has hundreds of brilliant members working hard every day serving the public on East Coast Railway, its time they were given some certainty, and the travelling public were given what they are demanding – a railway run in their interests, and not for profit, instead of being bailed out time and time again by taxpayers.

Add your name to our petition, and we’ll join TSSA members to deliver it to the Department for Transport on Tuesday morning. 

Take 30 seconds to take action now before it’s too late. The people of Britain deserve better, this is a chance to let TSSA members to say enough enough, its time to stop this franchising farce, and create a Peoples Railway.

Please share the petition with your friends and family, and tweet with the hashtag #MakeEastCoastPublic!   

And if you can, join us outside the Department for Transport (Great Minster House, 33 Horseferry Rd, Westminster, London SW1P 4DR) tomorrow morning (Tuesday 20th February, 8.15 – 8.45am) to deliver our petition to Chris Grayling.

From We Own It: Branson’s BIG BAILOUT Thursday 18th JANUARY

8am, Thursday 18th January – online and at Kings Cross station

Virgin Trains East Coast is getting a bailout of up to £2 billion from Chris Grayling, at our expense.

We want to show how ridiculous it is that the public is paying for Virgin and Stagecoach’s mistakes, so we’re holding a ‘fundraiser’ for Richard Branson. Next Thursday morning, let’s make some noise. If we all join together we can build pressure on Chris Grayling to stop the bailout.

1) Join in online

a) Share our facebook event to spread the word to your friends. If you’re not on facebook, share this page by email.

b) If you’re on twitter, sign up for our twitter flashmob(This works by signing up as many people as possible to tweet the same message at exactly the same time – 8am next Thursday. By tweeting hundreds of the same message at the same time we might get our message to trend on twitter. You just have to give it permission to send this tweet, and then forget about it.)

c) And of course, if you haven’t already, sign our petition to Chris Grayling: Stop the bailout of East Coast and bring it into public ownership!

2) Join us at Kings Cross station in London

Join us at 8am on Thursday 18th outside Kings Cross. We’ll supply the buckets and placards! Sign up on facebook or email info@weownit.org.uk to let us know you’re joining. Remember to wrap up warm and wear something red if possible!

From Freedom News: Hundreds refuse to cross picket line in wildcat Crossrail strike

More than 200 workers at the flagship rail construction project have downed tools today in solidarity with more colleagues who have been sacked and locked out.

The dispute blew up after Balfour Beatty made 54 workers redundant at short notice yesterday and a further 50 were locked out, allegedly at the behest of blacklisting-linked boss Gerry Harvey.

The job cuts came just days after electricians at their Woolwich Station in London had filed for an industrial action ballot over pay and finishing bonuses via union Unite. There had also been complaints over the list of who was to be canned, with long-term workers and shop stewards made redundant while new workers were retained.

Around 150 electricians walked out in solidarity today at Woolwich, with more than 70 joining them from sites at Plumstead, City Airport and North Woolwich, according to construction industry and anti-blacklisting activist Dave Smith.

Talking to union-news.co.uk Smith said: “We are told blacklisting is a thing of the past but today’s anti-union hostility is plain for everyone to see.”

Balfour has said the redundancies were part of standard operations, saying “we have always been clear that our works would start to wind down towards the end of this year” and that consultation had started in November.

Site sources explained however that problems with pay rates had been bubbling since the summer and Balfour’s refusal to engage properly with requests for a completion bonus as work begins to wind down has left “feelings running pretty high.”

Industry reports suggest that bosses are keeping a “close eye” on the situation as they fear calls for finishing bonuses could spread to other sites.

Update: A mass solidarity picket has been called for Thursday December 14th, 6.30am at the Whitechapel station site.

Defend the Right to Picket Demo – Saturday 25th November 2pm Brighton Station

As you will be aware the RMT are in a long running dispute with Southern Rail about the removal of guards from trains.

The RMT had previously been running effective pickets at the back of Brighton station that many drivers were refusing to cross. To try to stop this Southern have threatened strong legal action under the anti-union laws to move the pickets well away from the station.

Please head down to the station on Saturday at 2pm to show your support for having guards on our trains and for the right for union members to picket their own workplace without fear of victimisation.

Please do what you can to support and publicise this. Please can you bring banners flags etc!!!

Network Rail plans to sell off assets

Responding to the news today (17 Nov) that Network Rail and the government are proposing to sell off their Commercial Estate business.

Said TSSA leader, Manuel Cortes:

“Selling off our national assets is always a dubious economic good. But selling off railway arches really is a sign the Tories don’t get how to run a railway or an economy.

“The spaces between our railway arches are not fattened pigs to be sold at market as the Tories seem to think.. To Network Rail those spaces in between spin the revenues by which they earn money to subsidise the public cost of maintaining railway infrastructure – including the arches. Every pound generated from letting railway arches is a pound saved for U.K. taxpayers.

“We are seeking assurances from NR that the maintenance and repair of the arches will not be compromised. It does not seem sensible to TSSA that the very ground that our railway runs on is sold from beneath the wheels. Who will now pay for essential repairs when they are required? How and who will now guarantee the safety of the infrastructure?

“If this crazy sale goes ahead we hope that the new landlords do not rack rents causing misery to the many small businesses that currently let the arches.”

TSSA will do all we can to oppose the privatisation of NR assets. Should the government get their way, we will fight to ensure TUPE protection for the terms and conditions of our members forced into the private sector. Staff must not pay the bill for the governments reckless short sightedness

From RMT: Oppose Driver Only Trains: Respond to the government Draft Accessibility Action Plan consultation

Oppose Driver Only Trains: Respond to the government Draft Accessibility Action Plan consultation by 15th November 2017

The draft action plan sets out the Government’s proposed strategy to address the gaps in existing provision of transport services. Rail Minister Paul Maynard says in the foreword: “People with disabilities have the same right to travel independently as anyone else” and goes on to say he is committed to “delivering a transport system that works for all”.

But he is the one who is pushing through the plans to make trains in England Driver Only Operated (DOO).

The House of Commons Transport Select Committee report ‘Improving the Rail Passenger Experience’ in October 2016 has already said “We are concerned that no official impact assessment has been made of the potential effects of DOO on disabled people’s access to the railway.” Now is the time for passengers to have their say.

 

This is why your support is vital:

“Under Driver Only Operation passengers would face greater requirements to book in advance, possibly facing additional travel restrictions, which would represent a move away from the current goal of making the railway more accessible for all.” – Rail Safety Standards Board (RSSB) report ‘Evaluating technological solutions to support driver only operation train dispatch’ March 2015.

“It is Conductors who are best placed to ensure that assistance is delivered effectively and in accordance with the law. In the event of an emergency Conductors can also deliver the railway’s duty of care to assisted passengers and other older and disabled people….There should always be on-board staff available to assist passengers at unstaffed stations.” Supressed report for the Rail Delivery Group, On Track for 2020? The Future of Accessible Rail Travel 2015 (only released in August 2017 after leaked to press).

“We are concerned that no official impact assessment has been made of the potential effects of DOO on disabled people’s access to the railway.” The House of Commons Transport Select Committee Improving the Rail Passenger Experience, October 2016.

 

What you can do today to help

Please Email AAPConsultation@dft.gsi.gov.uk today and let the government know how you feel as an individual.

The Government site is here: https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/draft-transport-accessibility-action-plan

RMT have a link to the response here http://bit.ly/dooaccess

You can also use your own words or you can adapt the wording below (copy and paste and send to AAPConsultation@dft.gsi.gov.uk

“I am pleased you recognise that one in every five people in the United Kingdom has some form of disability or access requirement. However if you are determined they should be able to use the transport system and particularly trains, with confidence and ease then you should not be introducing Driver Only Operation.

I believe if the transport system is genuinely going to be ‘open to everyone’ then for people with physical and hidden disabilities to have the same access to transport, and opportunities to travel the same as everyone else, there must be a guarantee of more than just a driver on the train.

Safe systems with trained staff have to be put in place to ensure that passengers requiring assistance are not excluded. It is difficult to see how trains with no staff to provide assistance running through unstaffed stations cannot come under the heading of a “provision, criterion or practice” that discriminates as defined by section 20 of the Equality

Act 2010.

Every passenger needs the assurance that the journey will be fully accessible and that the experience will be safe and secure, with trained assistance available, if and when it is needed.”

To Transport for London: Keep Uber’s drivers and passengers safe

Sign petition here.

Last year GMB won a landmark employment tribunal against Uber, which ruled that its drivers were not self-employed contractors but employed workers – and were therefore entitled to the national minimum wage, sickness and holiday pay.

This important case has major implications for more than 30,000 drivers across England and Wales. Many of our drivers are working long hours for less than national minimum wage in order to try and make ends meet. Drivers working excessive hours is bad for drivers, bad for passengers and bad for Londoners.

Uber refuses to accept they’re an employer and has appealed. That means they still refuse to pay their drivers a living wage, give paid rest breaks or abide by laws that limit the number of hours they work. It’s wrong for Uber not to live up to its responsibilities, and none of us wants worn-out drivers on our roads.

Transport for London (TfL) is in charge of renewing Uber’s 5 year license to operate in London, and they’re going to make a decision on it this summer. Today, GMB, the union for Uber drivers, has called on TfL not to renew the license unless Uber guarantee safe working practices and basic employment rights.

Together we can remind TfL of their obligations to all Londoners and not just to Uber’s powerful lobbyists. Sign the petition to tell TfL to keep Uber drivers and passengers safe.

1 2 3