Category Archives: Transport

ASLEF’s strong stand delivers on Cab Security

The determined campaign by ASLEF Health & Safety Council reps, supported by EC member Terry Wilkinson, has delivered real progress on making driving cabs secure.
Management and your reps have now agreed on a prototype lock that will be developed over the next six months. Once the procurement process is complete, the lock will be installed on trains across the Underground network.

The lock will meet our twin objectives of securing the cab from intruders while allowing access in an emergency by using a combination of a key and an override mechanism. We believe this will make the job safer for every driver and provide a better working environment for those who feel most vulnerable.

Based on this progress, the ASLEF Executive Committee has decided to suspend the combine wide strike planned for December 7th.

There is no doubt that this has only been achieved by the determination and persistence of ASLEF Health and Safety reps. They refused to take No for an answer and visited branches and depots across the Underground to explain the importance of the issue and ensure we got the Yes vote needed to

Solidarity with our Tube Cleaners

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 CutsEqual Conditions with London Underground workers Bring all cleaning work in-house.

All RMT Branches are asked to send a delegation to the demo and rally. Please also ensure your Branch cleaning member’s coordinator is included in the delegation.

We are an all grades union. Please show solidarity with our cleaning members on 29th January.

Report on a useful TUC London, Eastern and South Eastern regional meeting

LESE, as it is now known, had a pretty useful meeting today, so those of us that were willing to not be at the football or Pride were able to say it wasn’t a wasted morning.

In addition to some good motions on abortion rights (pushing for women in Northern Ireland to gain these rights following the success of the Irish referendum) and setting up a homes and housing sub-committee, my own union, TSSA, moved a well-received motion on ‘climate jobs’. As the world sweats in a record-breaking heatwave, our regional TUC has now resolved create a sub-group on environmental sustainability and just-transition for workers and create a detailed plan for creating climate jobs. A further TSSA motion, urging a reconsideration of hugely controversial third runway at Heathrow, was ruled out-of-order because the TUC nationally supports the runway, but a long-standing TSSA activist with air traffic experience did get the opportunity to explain the union’s concerns that, in addition to the serious environmental case against the third runway, the employment and transport infrastructural case are also questionable. Ultimately, Heathrow has a bloated air traffic agenda because airlines are businesses that chase profits: a third runway does not fix this.

The first guest speaker was Phillipa Harvey, an NEU executive member and leading activist with Palestine Solidarity Campaign. She urged that the unions’ support for Palestinian rights remains as essential as ever. The relocation of the US embassy by Donald Trump in to Jerusalem has resulted in a massive crackdown in paltry autonomy Palestinians had up to recently had in the West Bank, as witnessed by the recent brutal destruction of a traditional Bedouin village. Imprisonment of children, currently highly controversial in America, is extremely common in Israel. But no situation is more serious than that of Gaza, the scene of so many killings of unarmed people by the Israeli army, which is estimated to become unliveable in just 18 months. Without urgent action by the international community, things will undoubtedly reach new levels of horror in Palestine.

The last guest speaker was particularly interesting. Victor Figueroa is former LSE academic who has been working with the International Transport Workers’ Federation (ITF) to produce a study of the impact of new technology on transport work and workers worldwide. The full report will be out in September, but Victor gave us a digested preview. His finding is that the main narrative – that new tech is primarily about automation, that 100% automation is unstoppable and that this either the best or worst thing ever (depending on who you ask) – is largely a marketable fiction. In reality, automation is constantly running into limitations (no, crew-less freight ships aren’t coming) and never completely eliminates labour (‘fully automated’ warehouses have almost 50% of the staff they had pre-upgrade). Automation and AI are also not as important, in many ways, as data, but not enough people in the international labour movement have considered data and they need to talk about it more. The most important thing said to us about technology is that whether it is a good or bad thing is absolutely dependant on who uses it and how they use it: capitalism will not create a utopia with technology, it will use it make profits and this will mean that new tech it introduces will exacerbate existing inequalities. It is with this knowledge that our movement should seek to create it’s own alternatives and this has to be a combination of worker’s organising and progressive governments and movements demanding strong regulation of how tech is used. The extract report is here:ITF – Transport Workers Building Power

The TUC Transport Industry Network, which I attend, is looking to hold a major event on automation in September, and the sorts of findings that the IFT have produced can hopefully feed into this, as can the ideas about transition to sustainable jobs.

Tube Strikes Wednesday 6 June and Thursday 14 June

ASLEF attended talks at ACAS with London Underground to try to find a way to resolve the disputes on the Jubilee line and at Acton Town on the District line. Strike action has been called for next Wednesday 6 June and Thursday 14 June.

Finn Brennan, ASLEF’s organiser on the Underground, said: ‘As always, we will go to these talks with an open mind and prepared to seek agreement. Until now, management have refused to meet with us on these issues and it is understandable that our reps and members suspect that their last-minute change of heart means they are simply “going through the motions”; turning up for talks but unwilling to change their hard-line stance.

 

‘The issues at the centre of these separate disputes are the imposition of new duty schedules that break commitments on weekend working on the Jubilee line, and the failure to follow agreed procedures on the District line, are symptomatic of a management style that seems to relish confrontation instead of trying to work with trade unions to solve problems.

 

‘We hope that management will make a genuine effort to solve these disputes with us tomorrow and avoid disruption.’

France: Rail unions fight against privatisation

The French railway workers have expressed their strong disapproval of the proposed reform of the railway system leading towards privatisation. They have been taking part in massive numbers in national mobilisations. The government has chosen not to open any serious negotiations with them. The unions want to guarantee high social standards within a future unified public group in the rail sector. The unions argue that competition is not a solution designed to improve the rail system, but instead enriches private companies and firms. They are calling upon the government to open real negotiations covering such issues as debt and funding, the relaunch of goods rail transport, employee benefits, the social rights of railway workers, taking workload back in-house and the organisation of production. Please show you support by sending your message to the French government.

Act now.

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.

1 2 3