Category Archives: Trade Union
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.’
After a genuinely rousing talk at Hendon Labour Party from Charlotte Bence, Unite the Union organiser, about the staff at TGI Fridays, Barnet activists will be heading down their picket line on Friday, 5pm at Covent Garden.
TGI Fridays workers have recently been hit with a huge reduction on their very low incomes, because the employer is taking 40% of the services charges that customers believe are going to them and using it to cover other costs. They are standing up for the right to a decent living, in sector where poverty pay and insecure condtions are the norm.
“Jack Jones used to say that he was a trade unionist first and a member of the T&G second. This philosophy underpinned the social contract and a period of unprecedented levels of union membership. Today’s generation of trade unionists face one hell of a responsibility. We should follow Jack’s philosophy and face it collectively, putting the needs of workers and movement overall first. If we do nothing we are odds on to become the living (and dying) embodiment of Robert Taylor’s suggestion that we are too set in our ways to reform ourselves to reprise the role that movement played in shaping the old world, which for all its faults, was one in which working people, through the institutions that had built, had a far greater say over working life. “
Read full report here: Change-for-the-better
We are meeting at 7pm, Thursday May 10th once again in the Greek Cypriot Brotherhood.
Agenda for this month:
- Attendance and apologies
- Minutes of the last meeting
- Local elections: How does the movement repond to Labour defeat in the borough?
- Racism and the Labour Movement: What to do about antisemitism, the Windrush scandal, Islamophobia and the far right.
- Upcoming events
- AOB (Please submit to the secretary the day before)
The AGM of what was formerly known as South-east Region TUC (“SERTUC”), took place on Saturday and did have some very worthwhile content, as well as seeing the beginning of a discussion about how to take the campaigning strategy of the movement forwards. We got two big name speeches to start us off: Mayor of London Said Khan and TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady.
After paying tribute to Workers’ Memorial Day (a minute’s silence was held), Sadiq focused on some of the pro-worker policies that he has enacted in City Hall. A London living wage of £10.20 per hour is being rolled out, to contractors as well as employees, and the London government will pushing for a Good Work Standard throughout the city. He also spoke about housing, revealed the shocking statistic that people in the 30s currently fleeing the city because they simply cannot afford the cost of living. To combat this, the Tory definition of “affordable housing”, which was 80% of market rent, has finally been scrapped. Sadiq’s definition now consists of:
- Council housing
- Living rent of 33% of average
Much to my satisfaction as a transport worker, Sadiq confirmed that his administration will be fighting to get to London Transport a proper government maintenance grant, as was agreed as policy at London Labour regional conference in November.
Frances O’Grady started her speech with the contrast with last year’s AGM, which had been days after the calling of the snap general election and when we were anticipating a very poor result. She called on comrades to celebrate the success of the “best ever Labour manifesto… that had many of our policies”. She then proceeding to talk about Carillion, which she described as the sign that we should now demand that outsourcing as an entire model comes to a final end. Briefly mentioning Brexit, she reiterated that our movement will blame bad businesses, never workers, for cuts and low wages, a clear reference to the Windrush scandal.
Once the elections and business were done, there were four motions, which all passed:
- A motion from Oxford trades councils calling for greater scrutiny of the safety and conditions in youth and immigration detention centres.
- A motion moved by RMT and supported disabled activists calling for solidarity with all rail workers engaged in industrial action to stop the creeping and totally excessive expansion of automation in our transport systems. This is now Labour policy and represents a real step forward in the discussion on this issue from last year.
- A motion moved by RMT and seconded by TSSA on the now severe funding crisis in Transport for London.
- A motion against DWP office closures from PCS.
The next major event of the TUC is the demonstration on May 12th, but numerous speakers, including Saidq Khan and Fraces O’Grady, referenced that we must all protest the invitation of Donald Trump to London on July the 13th. What I think is starting to take shape, though, is a view that the TUC needs to do more focused work on things like McStrike or the Picturehouse strikers that will support our unions in recruiting and organising workers in new sectors.
TUC 10 DAY UNION TRAINING COURSES
Trade Union Education courses for reps, shop stewards and safety reps pro-vided by the TUC are acknowledged to be high quality training. TUC certificates are accredited by the National Open College Network and are free to reps from affiliated unions. All courses are from 9:30am until 4:30pm and run for 10 weeks (with a break for half term)
Venue: College of Haringey Enfield and North East London, London N15
How to apply: Online at www.tuceducation.org.uk/login/index.php
Download leaflet here: TU Ed course flyer template 2018
Yesterday, the Labour Party held a conference that put some serious theoretical grounding for the ideas that drove the enthusiasm for the party’s manifesto of last year. It started with production of a report commissioned by John McDonnell into “Alternative Models of Ownership”, which uses studies from round the world (including here in Britain) into how genuinely innovative alternatives to both the private sector and the old model of centralised nationalisation can make our society better. The link is here.
The scope of the event was very broad, and included:
- Combining and democratising different forms of ownership, including municipalisation and co-operatism.
- Looking at how privatised services are, right now, being in-sourced throughout the world in an almost “silent revolution” in services that is happening on all continents and across the Global North/South divide.
- How modern technology affects work, removing some jobs but actually creating others, and how the role of organised labour is essential to directing automation and AI in a progressive and ethical way.
- How the knowledge and data-based economy has become severely monopolistic and how democratic structures, like radical municipal authorities in Barcelona (or even our very own Transport for London) can resist this and form a data commons and digital sovereignty that works for people not a tiny number of massive multinational businesses.
- How participatory authorities, many of which have formed as a result of an unlikely alliance between grassroots campaigners and tech experts frustrated by the problems with neoliberalism, have been assembled and work in practice.
- Putting forward our positive vision of how technology and industry could be like. The legacy of Mike Cooley and the Lucas aerospace workers was a really important touchstone for this.
The conference opened with big names, culminating in a closing speech by Jeremy Corbyn, but the contributions and questions from the floor were also really good and Jeremy actually referenced this in his summing up. But the most exciting thing about it was something raised by veteran campaigner Hilary Wainwright, who said that for the first time, we have a socialist vision that is built not around putting all our faith into massive scale nationalisation run by the state, but by the participation of ordinary working people, and that the closest we’d ever really got to this before was not 1945 (which, in any case, we all know cannot go back to) but to the brief experiment in which Tony Benn tried to collaborate with the Lucas workers back in 1977. Our socialism will not be top-down: it will be decentralised democratic public ownership.