RMT campaign against cuts to London Overground ticket office hours

The RMT is currently campaigning against planned cuts to ticket office opening hours across the London Overground network.

Last year, the operator of London Overground, Arriva Rail London (owned by the German State Railways) planned to close 51 ticket offices on the network. Because of the level of opposition from passengers (there were around 6000 responses opposing the proposals), the Mayor of London announced in April 2019 he would halt the closures.

However, London Overground is now planning to cut ticket office opening hours across the network to the bare minimum – effectively achieving its original goal by stealth. These plans amount to closures in all but name – many stations are facing cuts of 80% or more compared to their current hours.

If these cuts go ahead, the RMT firmly believes that:

  • Stations will become less safe, secure and accessible
  • Passengers will not be able to access all ticket types and services at machines
  • Many people, including disabled and elderly passengers, would struggle to purchase tickets and get advice and assistance at the station
  • It will be easier for London Overground to close more ticket offices in the future.

The RMT has urged the Mayor to use his powers to intervene and halt these damaging cuts, but to date, this has not happened.

Therefore, the RMT has convened a protest at which we will be calling for the Mayor, TfL and London Overground to halt these proposals.

The Demonstration is taking place at 9am on Wednesday 20th November, outside City Hall, London, SE1 2AA.

The RMT has already held a number of successful action days at London Overground stations, distributing postcards for passengers to send to the Mayor, opposing the cuts.

We are grateful for the support already given to the campaign by a number of Trades Councils and anything further you could do to support the campaign and/or the demonstration would be much appreciated.

If you are able to distribute leaflets and postcards locally, please email Sophie Ward (s.ward@rmt.org.uk) and we will arrange for these to be sent to you.

London Underground staff to strike over safety-critical cuts

Over a thousand key London Underground staff to strike over safety-critical cuts

TUBE UNION RMT confirmed today that over a thousand key London Underground maintenance and engineering staff will strike for three days in a dispute over the hacking back of train preparation and inspection schedules which the union warns would have a devastating impact on both service reliability and public safety. The announcement follows a nine to one vote for action.

‎Staff will take strike action as follows:

Not to book on for any shifts between 07:00 on Friday 17th May until 07:00 Monday 20th May 2019

In addition workers are taking action short of strike in a number of areas around risk assessments , a ban on lone working and a ban on working without valid licences and fire wardens being in place.

The staff involved work at tube fleet maintenance depots right across Greater London and are critical to the day to day operation of London Underground.

Earlier this year RMT advised London Underground that a dispute situation exists over its intentions to extend the fleet train preparation schedules. Despite that, LU has continued to fail to engage in any meaningful consultation or negotiation with RMT or provide the union with full information on all safety aspects.

The LU proposals will decimate inspection frequencies beyond all recognition. Not only will it lead to major fleet issues, it will inevitably lead to more train failures in service putting unacceptable pressure on members and leaving the whole of LUL and the travelling public at significant increased risk.

RMT has demanded that no changes to fleet preparation schedules take effect without agreement between LUL and RMT and that all current activity in relation to the matter is halted until full consultation and negotiation has taken place, including full examination of all safety aspects in relation to this matter.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:

“The nine to one ballot result showed just how angry tube staff are at proposals London Underground are attempting to bulldoze through that would decimate the inspection and safety culture on the fleet.
“Despite that result tube bosses have ignored the workforce and are pressing ahead and it is that intransigence that has left us no option but to confirm industrial action today.

“Our message is clear, LU should pull back immediately rather than crash on regardless of the consequences of their actions.

“We remain available for genuine and serious talks.”

TSSA rally at City Hall (London) on Thursday

The Tories are punishing Londoners for voting in a Labour Mayor

In December 2018 TfL Commissioner, Mike Brown, published a new business plan,
which includes a further 30% of cuts by 2022.

The ‘back and middle office’ areas of TfL that are slated for further cuts include
Engineering, Major Projects, maintenance, Health, Safety & Environment, Strategy
& Planning, and the Finance & Commercial departments.

Although these may not technically be cuts to frontline services, we are extremely
concerned that these cuts will reduce TfL’s ability to deliver a safe, reliable transport
service. There will be a major impact on Londoners’ daily experience of transport,
whether on the Tube, Overground, DLR, buses, tram, walking, cycling or driving.

These cuts will also have particular impacts on poorer passengers,
disabled people, women, BAME and younger / older Londoners.
The many are paying the price of the failures of the few.

Barnet Tories to introduce parking charges at local parks

Conservative-run Barnet Council has agreed to charge up to £6 a day for parking at local parks. The decision was forced through by Conservative councillors at this week’s Environment Committee (21 Jan). Labour councillors voted against the policy.

 Although the principal of charging was agreed, a consultation will be held on the charging proposals for specific parks.

The parks affected in the first phase are: Barnet Playing Fields, King George V Playing Fields, Mill Hill Park, Old Courthouse Recreation Ground, Scratchwood Open Space and West Hendon Playing Fields.

The Council believe the policy will raise up to £150,000 a year.

Labour’s Environment spokesperson, Cllr Alan Schneiderman said: “This is an ill-conceived money making scheme from Barnet Tories that is simply going to lead to park goers parking in neighbouring roads, many of which already lack enough spaces for residents. Rather than another consultation on this scheme, it simply needs to be scrapped”.


Ends.
Notes:
1. A copy of the report on parking charges at local parks (Agenda Item 8): http://barnet.moderngov.co.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=695&MId=9733&Ver=4

Rail: You haven’t been asked your opinion since 1994. Here’s your chance!

We’ve got three days to get public ownership on the table for our railways.

2018 was a disaster year for our railways, and the government are asking for suggestions.

This is the biggest review since privatisation. Let’s make sure they’re looking at public ownership to fix our broken railway.

Tell them what you want to see – but hurry! The deadline is this Friday 18th of January.

RMT Parliamentary demonstration & rally Tuesday 29th January 2019

Solidarity with our Tube Cleaners

RMT Parliamentary demonstration & rally

Tuesday 29th January 2019

5.00pm: (sharp) Demonstration opposite Parliament (Old Palace Yard, SW1P 3JY)

6.30pm: Rally in the Houses of Parliament

 

London Underground’s 3000 cleaners have been outsourced to global contractor ABM.

Despite working unsocial hours, in dirty and hazardous conditions, our cleaners are being treated less favourably compared to other workers directly employed by Underground.

That means inferior sick pay, holidays, pensions and travel facilities.

On top of this the cleaning workforce is set to be cut by a third from 3000 to 2000, piling the pressure on these hard-pressed workers.

RMT is holding a demo and rally at Parliament to demand:

  • No Cleaning Job Cuts
  • Equal Conditions with London Underground workers
  • Bring all cleaning work in-house.

 

Thailand: Railway workers fight for justice – support the online campaign

The leaders of Thailand’s State Railway Workers Union (SRUT) have faced dismissals and enormous fines because of their efforts to point out unsafe working conditions on the country’s railways.

In a story dating back to a fatal derailment back in 2009, the international trade union movement, including the International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) and the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) have stood by the trade union leaders — as has the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Last year, Thailand’s Supreme Labour Court ordered seven union leaders to pay damages amounting to nearly three-quarters of a million US dollars.

At the request of the SRUT and the ITF, LabourStart has launched a campaign calling on the Thai government and the employer to drop the claims against the union, and to return their back pay and benefits.  Please show your support here:

http://www.labourstart.org/go/srut

And please share this message with your friends, family and fellow union members.

Rail firms have paid over £1 billion to shareholders in last 6 years, finds TUC

As fares rocket up again today, the TUC publishes analysis showing how privatisation has failed.

The TUC today (Wednesday) reveals that the same private rail companies that are putting fares up by 3.1% today, have paid out over £1 billion in dividends to shareholders in the last six years.

The TUC is concerned that these shareholder pay-outs are excessive given the poor-quality service and high costs that workers face commuting by rail.

TUC analysis finds that UK commuters spend up to five times as much on season tickets as for European equivalents.

Someone on an average salary travelling from Chelmsford to London will have to fork out 13% of their pay for season tickets (£393 a month).

By contrast, comparable commutes would cost a mere 2% of the average salary in France, 3% in Ireland and 4% in Germany and Belgium.

ntry From To Monthly season ticket cost % of average earnings
UK Chelmsford London £393 13%
UK Manchester Liverpool £257 8%
France Étampes Paris £68 2%
Ireland Drogheda Dublin £116 3%
Germany Eberswalde Berlin £120 4%
Belgium Ghent Brussels £150 4%

Wages are set to grow by only 2.5% in 2019, while season tickets will go up by 3.1%. It will be the ninth time in the last ten years that rail fares have risen by more than wages.

TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady said:

“The most reliable thing about our railways is the cash that goes to private shareholders each year. But with the most expensive fares in Europe, that can’t be right. It’s rewarding failure and taking money away that should be invested in better services.

“It’s time to take the railways back into public hands. Every penny from every fare should go back into the railways. The number one priority should be running a world class railway service, not private profit.”

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:

“The British fare-payer has been battered by the toxic combination of gross mismanagement and profiteering by the private companies exploiting Britain’s rip-off railways.

“Our passengers have been left paying the highest fares in Europe to travel on rammed-out and unreliable services and that is a national disgrace. The only solution is to sweep this whole racket away and return our railways to public ownership.”

ASLEF General Secretary Mick Whelan said:

“The train companies are telling passengers to pay more for a poorer service and that’s not a great offer, is it? Not for passengers – or for voters at the next election.

“Commuters complain about persistent delays and cancellations, and the consumer group Which? says the privatised train operators are one of this country’s least trusted groups – beaten to bottom place only by second-hand car dealers.

“Wages aren’t keeping pace with inflation and yet the train companies, and their chum the Transport Secretary Chris Grayling, are pushing up prices yet again. What a way to run the railway!”

TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes said:

“Millions of commuters will be staggered and furious that fares are rising yet again while privateers stuff shareholders pockets with cash.

“This situation is untenable, and the fact is only bringing the railways back into public hands will end the misery for so many each day.

“Britain and the British public deserve so much better than failing Chris Grayling and this useless Tory government.”

Unite national officer for the rail industry Harish Patel said:

“Given last year’s rail timetable chaos, presided over by the hapless transport secretary Chris Grayling, there should be no rail fare increases for hard-pressed travellers in 2019 – fares should have been frozen. The 3.1 per cent rise is an insult.

“As usual, the real ‘winners’ are the greedy shareholders of the privatised rail companies that have gobbled up more than £1bn in ill-gotten dividends in the last six years – money that could have gone towards freezing fares and boosting rail investment.

“Every day the case for the public ownership of the rail industry grows stronger, especially after the woeful performance of 2018.”

 

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