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.

TUC calls for emergency funding for flood affected areas

Working families must not pay price for climate change, says TUC

Commenting on the ongoing flooding in South Yorkshire, TUC Regional Secretary Bill Adams said:

“The government is treating this flooding as if it is a normal event.

“But try telling that to families who can’t afford home insurance and who will be left destitute.

“Instead of messing around with a mop, the prime minister should be taking this crisis seriously and providing emergency funding for devastated communities.

“We need a government that will put working families first and invest properly in tackling climate change.”

Can you help organise to save Cricklewood Walk-in Centre?

You might have heard that the only walk-in centre in Cricklewood is under threat of closure. 24,000 people use this walk-in centre every year.

It is one of only four walk-in centres in Barnet.

Over 100 walk-in centres have closed since the Tories came into power, making it increasingly difficult for patients to get an appointment and putting huge pressure on A&E units.

Can you help us spread the word?

We will be canvassing the area surrounding the walk-in centre to speak with residents and encourage them to come along to a public meeting to organise and save the walk-in centre.

Thursday 5th and Wednesday 11th of September

Meet at Cricklewood station at 6.30pm.

SCWC FLYER 17TH SEP (1).pdf

How you can help ‘stop and scrap’ Universal Credit

It is TUC policy to ‘stop and scrap’ Universal Credit. The implementation of the policy, alongside the cap on the up-rating of welfare benefits, has been shown to be causing immense hardship, and has been proven to be a substantial cause of the huge growth in the dependency of vulnerable people on foodbanks, and of evictions. 

Unite Community is organising a day of action against Universal Credit, 1 August 2019. More information and campaign materials are available at: 
https://unitetheunion.org/campaigns/stop-universal-credit/
#STOPUniversalCredit

MR REASONABLE: Barnet Council Plan to Gag Residents

Last week the Constitution and General Purposes Committee proposed significant changes to the public participation rules. Currently, up to 30 minutes is set aside at the start of each committee meeting for public comments and questions. You have to submit the questions by 10am 3 working days in advance of the committee meeting and you also have to specify which agenda item on which you wish to make a public comment.  At the meeting the resident gets 3 minutes to make their public comment and they can then be questioned by committee members. Questions are taken in strict rotation so everyone who has asked a question gets a chance to ask a supplementary question. Even if the questioners do not get the chance to ask a supplementary question there is a written response to their original question. This provides a useful audit trail when matters arise in the future.

Last week all those rules were changed.  Following ratification at the forthcoming full council meeting on 30 July public participation will be dramatically reduced. The Council’s proposals are as follows:

Questions and comments should be amalgamated. The number of words for each question/comment should be limited at 100 and must be submitted in writing by 10am 3 working days in advance of the committee meeting.
Residents may raise one question/comment on an agenda item. The question/comment must relate to the substantive matter to be determined by the committee. No more than two questions from residents will be allowed per agenda item taken in the order of receipt by the Governance Service. These changes means the public will no longer be able to address the committee in person and councillors will not be able to ask the member of public about their comment. When reports run to many pages, summarising a single question or comment in 100 words will severely restrict what people can say. Residents will only be able to make one comment or one question on an agenda item but if more than two residents ask a question or make a comment on an agenda item, no other questions or comments will be accepted.  Barnet say this is about saving money and giving more opportunities to residents. It will do neither especially, if residents are forced to submit multiple FOI requests to get important answers. It seems clear that Barnet do not like residents scrutinising decisions such as the Council’s £22.9 million loan to Saracens Rugby to build a new stand at their stadium or asking questions about the £2 million fraud carried out by a Capita employee which went undiscovered for more than a year. Capita’s performance in areas such as Highways and Pensions Administration have been dismal but public scrutiny of their performance and why they are being allowed to continue to provide such a poor service will now be all but eliminated. The Council are also making major cuts to services such as libraries and are changing the rules to force disabled people who receive in-home care packages to move into residential care simply because it is cheaper. The ability to question these changes will be dramatically reduced, allowing the council to rubber stamp decisions without any meaningful engagement with the public. Barnet residents have a right and a need to scrutinise the Council and these changes will eliminate that scrutiny. I admit I do ask quite a few questions but that is simply because I believe committees are failing to provide adequate scrutiny. Conservative councillors keep saying the questions are political. The questions I ask are almost always about money and performance. With £20 million of budget cuts this year and a further £47 million of cuts over the next four years it is important that Councillors at least listen to the concerns of residents. If you think the Council’s proposals are wrong, please sign the petition here or go an visit your local Conservative Councillor before the Council meeting on 30 July. Details of all their councillors’ surgeries are on the Barnet Council website but I have summarised them here for your convenience.

ORIGINAL POST

Barnet Alliance for Public Services

Tuesday 16 July 2019
Greek Cypriot Centre, 2 Britannia Road, N12 9RU
Annual General Meeting 6 pm
Public meeting 7.30-9 pm
Guest speakers: Paul and Adelaide Joseph

Barnet Alliance for Public Services is a coalition of residents, campaign groups and trade unions defending public services in Barnet. We meet every third Tuesday of the month from 6.30 to 8.30 at the Greek Cypriot Centre, North Finchley, 2 Britannia Road, London N12 9RU. Email: barnetalliance4publicservices@gmail.com

Barnet Alliance for Public Services Annual General Meeting

Tuesday 16 July from 6.30 – 8.30 pm at the Cypriot Centre, Britannia Road London N12.


The first hour of the meeting has been set aside for general business, for a review of the past year and for discussion of further work to be undertaken by BAPS in the coming year. 

For the second half of the meeting from 7.30 onwards we are  pleased to announce guest speaker Adelaide Joseph and her husband Paul, both veteran ANC activists and campaigners. Their daugher Nadia will also participate in what it likely to be an interesting and inspiring presentation. 

BARNET POTHOLE OF THE YEAR AWARD AND EXHIBITION

We need to send a clear message to Barnet council that residents are fed up with Capita’s failings and show councillors why Highways service, which is responsible for the maintenance of our streets, needs to be brought in-house without delay. You can play your part by doing the following:

  1. Share the above video widely and repeatedly
  2. Take a photo of your prize pothole.
  3. Upload your photo to Barnet POTY Award Facebook page with the location of the pothole and your name.
  4. You can enter as many times as you wish. Judges’ decision will be final.

The winning pothole will be awarded the BARNET POT HOLE OF THE YEAR AWARD at Hendon Town Hall on the evening of Monday 17 June 2019.

Kick out Capita!

Join the lobby of the P&R committee
Monday 17 June, 6pm
Hendon Town Hall 
Following the scandals of the £2million fraud, a report was commissioned by the council (the Grant Thornton report). This report found that there were  “significant financial control weaknesses…“poor accounting controls”. There are also other scandals such as of the overspend on the Capita contract by £145.9 million and the excessive and expensive use of agency staff. All this leads to continuously deteriorating services and the waste of public money.

John McDonnell Shadow Chancellor said: “The Grant Thornton (GT) review of the two Capita contracts in Barnet provides yet more evidence of the folly of privatisation of public services. When I read “significant financial control weaknesses…“poor accounting controls” in the GT review it summed up what I have been saying about the current Tory government.

External Auditors in May also reported that Capita “don’t have a particularly strong control environment”, the auditor reported, and then stated that Capita were “not minded” to provide assurance over systems running processes on Barnet Council’s behalf.

As a result of all these indictments, Barnet’s P&R committee agreed to review the Capita contract including the option of bringing back services in-house. Despite the failure of the contract with Capita, The report for the P&R committee meeting on 17 June accepts the current relationship with Capita  and accepts that there is no alternative but to carry on with a failing contract. It is Barnet residents, and council staff, that will continue to suffer as a result of the Tories’ illusion that privatisation works.  In Barnet, the evidence of the Capita contract shows that it does not.

For a full analysis of the report to the committee and of the Capita contracts so far, read Mr Reasonable’s latest blog here.

Kick out Capita!
Join the lobby of the P&R committee
Monday 17 June, 6pm, Hendon Town Hall 

Wed 5 June – Protest at the Council’s attack on Independent Living

URGENT ….. LOBBY AGAINST CUTS TO INDEPENDENT LIVINGWEDNESDAY 5 JUNE, 6.30pm. Hendon Town Hall
Over 50 people attended a meeting on Tuesday organised by BAPS and UNISON to hear about the latest callous attack on those most in need in Barnet. Local disabled residents explained at the meeting the devastating impact this will have on their lives.
Even though the council social services budget is underspent, Barnet Tories want to make a saving. Rather than using the underspend to fill the 50-odd vacant social worker posts, the tories wants cut the budget. Is that because it will use the underspend to finance the overspend in the contract with Capita? 
The meeting agreed to lobby and protest at the Council Adult & Safeguarding Committee on Wednesday 5 June. Meet at 6.30pm outside the Town Hall, The Burroughs, Hendon.

How does Barnet Council wants to save £424,000?

Disabled resident may be forced to move into residential care against their wishes rather than being supported in their community near family and friends, if Barnet Council thinks residential care is a cheaper option. Barnet Council recognises that disabled residents, their families and carers may not like this.

Barnet Council recognises that forcing a disabled resident to move into residential care might be bad for their well-being. Inclusion Barnet, an organisation led by and for people who are disabled, has written to Barnet Council in January 2019. They are still waiting for a reply, yet they represent Barnet disabled residents.

“Michael Nolan, a trustee of the disabled people’s organisation Inclusion Barnet, told Disability News Service: “The Inclusion Barnet board are extremely concerned about these proposals, which we fear could leave some disabled people confined to residential care when they might otherwise have been able to live independently. We believe that this could impact people least able to self-advocate, and is also against the spirit of the Care Act.”

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