TSSA: Why London Undeground Workers are Balloting

Alongsiimg-join-tssade the other three recognised trade unions in London Underground, TSSA will shortly ballot members on strike action and action short of strike. This follows the breakdown of talks on pay and Night Tube, LU’s attacks on staff terms, conditions and working practices, and management’s ongoing refusal to engage in meaningful negotiations and consultation with the trade unions.

LUL has failed to negotiate or consult meaningfully with TSSA in regard to pay, Night Tube and Fit for the Future Stations (FFTFS) and are seeking to impose a two-year ‘no strike’ deal. Management are not adhering to the spirit and letter of the Machinery of negotiations, and are attempting to make changes to existing Framework Agreements and working practices without due process and negotiation. LUL’s approach is reminiscent of that adopted last year by Transport for London management, and if unchallenged, LU will seek to further attack pay, terms and conditions and pensions. They have already cut pay for new starters, and new P&D procedures, imposed in TfL, have recently been introduced into LUL. TSSA believes it is only a matter of time before LU seeks to impose Pay for Performance; a system imposed last year by TfL which indefinitely freezes the pay and pensions of longer serving staff.

LUL has proposed a new Framework for deployment of station staff. It is half the length of the current agreement, and significantly undermines current working practices. Here are some of the key proposals:
– A change can be made to your duties at 24 hours notice.
– 30 minute travel time guarantee is ABOLISHED. Instead, there is a 45 minute maximum travel time from the mid-point of the group.
– Higher grade working with no extra payments
– Staff who do not give 24 hours notice that they are unable to undertake planned overtime will be barred from further overtime for 28 days.
– Minimum period in which two consecutive shifts, totalling a maximum 18 hours, can be worked is halved, from 28 to 14 days.
– No provision for the 12 weekly cycle.

A copy of the new Framework for stations proposed by London Underground can be viewed at the following link: http://bit.ly/1Q34XEQ

We are still awaiting proposals for new Framework agreements to reflect changes to working in MATS and Service Control, despite having raised these issues over the last year in discussions about Night Tube and FFTFS. We believe that LU is committed to a wholesale for all of our members across London Underground.

LUL management have insisted on linking this year’s pay negotiations to Night Tube, not yet being open with staff about how it will affect them. Below are details of what Night Tube will mean for members:

LUL says they will employ part-time staff to cover Night Tube, but there will not be sufficient staff to cover sickness absence, annual leave etc, which will be down to existing station staff. This means:
– CSAs working more nights and weekends, with less opportunity to take up extra leave dates or mutually exchange their duties with colleagues, and could lead to duties being changed at shorter notice and more extreme shift changes.
– Stations Supervisors and Service Control Staff will not only be expected to work far more nights, but under Night Tube many of these will become traffic hours.

– No minimum numbers in many stations, meaning an increase in lone-working, and some stations being unstaffed, despite LUL’s promise that would not be the case.
– Ticket offices will not be open at night, and CSAs will be expected to cover gate-lines and deal images (16)with ticketing and other enquiries from the public.
– Night Tube will run only 4 trains per hour, meaning that travellers will be hanging around stations for a longer, potentially in an inebriated state.
– Virtually no stations running Night Tube have public toilet facilities, and few public conveniences will be open outside tube stations at night.
– Many stations will only be part-open and LUL is now reneging on its commitment to provide fixed, lockable gates to secure non-operational areas. Instead, LUL is proposing less secure tensa-barriers, making it easier for people to access non-operational parts of the station where engineering work may be taking place.
– There is an increased likelihood of homeless people using trains and/or stations as overnight accommodation. This issue has already been flagged up by BTP.

TSSA’s H&S reps have been constantly questioning LUL management regarding their plans for operating Night Tube, and the consequent difficulties it will create for staff to evacuate and control numbers as and when necessary. LUL’s responses so far have been evasive, unhelpful and lacking in clarity.

– Night Tube has already been given the go ahead for Sept. 2015, regardless of readiness or safety
– Night Tube marks the start of a whole new operating practice, which will impact upon all LUL staff
– Night Tube is likely to be extended over time, to cover more stations and more days of the week
LUL’s offer of a one-off £500 payment in return for successful implementation and ongoing deliver of Night Tube is an insult to LUL staff.




Barnet Unison LG Strike – 1st & 2nd of June

Barnet Council workers on 48 hour strike over outsourcing threat.

Barnet UNISON members who still work for Barnet Council (excluding community schools) will begin 48 hour strike starting on 1 June 2015.

8 ways you can support Barnet Council workers taking strike action.

Barnet Council workers are taking strike action and our newspaper Barnet VOICE explains why here  http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/sites/default/files/Barnet%20Vo…
Join one of our picket lines or meet up with us for a special screening of the Emperors New Clothes at the Phoenix
Day 1: Monday 1st June Picket line information
1. North London Business Park—From 7 am Picket Line Coordinator Helen Davies 07432733168
2. Mill Hill Depot—From 6 am Picket Line Coordinator: John Burgess 07738389569
3. East Finchley Library—From 9 am Picket Line Coordinator: Hugh Jordan 07983391740
The Emperor’s New Clothes
At 10.30 am UNISON members will leave picket lines & travel to the Phoenix Cinema, 52 High Road, East Finchley, London N2 9PJ for a special screening of the Emperor’s New Clothes starting at 12 noon. All Barnet UNISON members are invited and there is no charge to see the film. If you want further information contact the branch 020 8359 2088 contactus@barnetunison.org.uk
Day 2: Tuesday 2nd June Picket line information
1. North London Business Park (NLBP)—From 7 am Picket Line Coordinator Helen Davies 07432733168
2. Mill Hill Depot—From 6 am Picket Line Coordinator: John Burgess 07738389569
3. Edgware Library—Start 9 am onwards. Picket Line Coordinator: Hugh Jordan 07983391740
March and Rally
10:30 am UNISON members leave picket lines & travel to North London Business Park. March starts 12 noon from NLBP to St John’s Church Hall Friern Barnet Lane, N20 for our rally.
And watch our campaign song ‘Do the Easy Council’

Housing benefit cuts for under-21s would be disastrous for young people

The cost of evictions, homelessness and temporary accommodation would all but wipe out the controversial policy’s predicted savings

How will George Osborne cut £12bn from the welfare bill? We’ll find out next month but it’s looking increasingly likely that plans to remove housing benefit from 18- to 21-year-olds who are unemployed and claiming Jobseeker’s Allowance will be form part of it.

This could be disastrous for the most vulnerable young people in our country. From more than four decades of experience supporting homeless young people, we know that the vast majority of young people who claim housing benefit do so as a lifeline at a time of crisis, not as a lifestyle choice. Among these young people are care leavers who have no home to return to and individuals who have fled domestic violence. Then there are those who have left home to find work and claim housing benefit to bridge the gap between their wages and ever-increasing rents.

A blanket removal of housing benefit from 18- to 21-year olds would affect nearly 20,000 young people. It also runs the risk of not only increasing homelessness but also could fail to deliver the promised savings to the taxpayer.

The government estimate the policy would save £120m, but the spike of homelessness it would cause will wipe out £115m of the savings – leaving just £5m left after the costs of increases in evictions and temporary accommodation

Even if exemptions for the most vulnerable, such as care leavers and those with children were to be put in place, the reductions in savings and the added costs of supporting those not exempted who become homeless would lead to a saving of just £3m.

The evidence is clear: there is little guarantee that the savings can be delivered, but plenty of evidence that youth homelessness could rise.

If this government is serious about reducing the benefits bill while supporting young people into work they must move beyond certain groups of claimants and tackle the root causes of the spiralling benefits bill – rising rents and the chronic problem of housing supply.

The result of dwindling housing supply has seen rents in the private sector rocket. The taxpayers’ money is bypassing claimant’s bank accounts and falling directly into the lap of profiteering landlords. If the government wishes to reduce spending on housing benefit, the answer is not to focus on young people with nowhere else to go but to increase the supply of truly affordable homes.

At the end of May the prime minister will have the opportunity to set out his view of what our country should be. We hope that now the election is over he will choose facts above rhetoric, and put tackling the root causes of the housing benefit bill above short-term political gain. Cutting housing benefit for 18- to 21-year-olds will leave thousands of young people without a safety net, and that’s a price no government should be prepared to pay, however big the deficit.

Paul Noblet is the head of public affairs at youth homelessness charity Centrepoint


Barnet UNISON stand “shoulder to shoulder” with Tory Councils

Not the headline UNISON members would have expected to see but as we forecast in our Barnet Voice newspaper here http://www.barnetunison.me.uk/sites/default/files/Barnet%20Voice.pdf

The Budget everyone in local government feared is due on Wednesday 8 July.

Not only Barnet UNISON are fearful, so are local councils across the UK and as Barnet Council are still a member of the Local Government Association one can only assume this letter was written on their behalf

“Tory council leaders across England and Wales have presented a united front with Labour and Lib Dem-run local authorities as they warn the chancellor, George Osborne, that another round of funding cuts would devastate local services and harm the most vulnerable in society.” (http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/may/16/tory-councils-osborne-no-further-austerity)

Impact of Austerity on people with disabilities

An open letter from disabled people about further welfare cuts

“A third of disabled adults already live in poverty. Disabled people and those needing social care have already been hit up to 19 times harder by cuts than others.”  (http://dpac.uk.net/2015/05/an-open-letter-from-disabled-people-about-further-welfare-cuts/)

Film screening with striking Barnet council workers


Barnet UNISON proudly presents Russell Brand’s powerful takedown of the injustices of austerity.

12pm, June 1st  at at our wonderful local Phoenix Cinema, register via Eventbrite.
Admittance is FREE, with a bucket collection at the end of the film.
The film will be followed with a Q & A, details of speakers will be announced shortly.
Barnet UNISON members working for Barnet Council will be on 48 hour strike on 1& 2 June and need your support to keep fighting for public services.

What does deflation mean for working people?

A must read new study from the New Economics Foundation looks at the headline negative inflation figures now circulating:

“Latest UK inflation figures have been greeted with an extraordinary amount of fuss. A 0.1% decline in the rate at which prices are increasing is not, by itself, especially newsworthy. But of course the symbolism of hitting a 2% rate matters. It means the Bank of England’s inflation target has, for the first time since late 2009, been achieved.

“Leaving aside the politics around this arbitrary target, there are three things to note here. First, the cost of living crisis is not over. Prices are still rising much faster than wages and salaries. Inflation is 2%. Average earnings, however, have risen less than 1%. In other words, the real value of people’s wages and salaries is still falling. Most people are still becoming steadily worse off, as they have been for the last five years. The figures for December also miss out the sharp rises in household energy bills, which will feed into next month’s numbers.

“Second, the fall in inflation has little to do directly with the government’s actions. The biggest reason for the decline in the overall rate of inflation was a fall in the rate of price increases for food and drink, down from 2.8% to 1.9% over the year. But Britain is a huge importer of food, buying some £20bn more from abroad than it sells to the rest of the world. The prices we see in the shops are to a large extent determined by what is happening internationally. And with the pound rising in value over the last few months, the price of importing food has declined. Alongside that, after years of sharp increases, the prices of basic food commodities like wheat and sugar have fallen globally over the last year.

“Third, there’s an unusual danger lurking underneath this. Strip out food, drink, and energy prices from the headline inflation and you get a measure of what is often called “core” inflation. This excludes those items that are most affected by pretty contingent, day-to-day factors to try and get a sense of where the underlying economy is heading. Core inflation, currently, is 1.7%, having fallen from 1.9%.”

Read the full report on the NEF website:



Tenants and housing summit 13 June

Stop privatisation; improve existing and build a new generation of first class council housing
Tenants and housing summit 13 June
Tenants and housing campaigners are meeting on 13 June in London to spell out how we will win our demands after the election.
With Focus E15, New Era, Sweets Way, Fred Wigg, Aylesbury and Cressingham and the March for Homes inspiring growing resistance, the 13 June event will bring together tenants and campaigners to work out our next steps, demanding and winning change, targetting whoever forms the next Government.

The ‘summit’ event, called by Defend Council Housing, is already supported by Housing Justice the churches housing campaign,and Generation Rent, organising private renters. Others taking part include Welsh Tenants, Disabled People Against Cuts, trade unions, estates fighting demolition and privatisation, Anti Bedroom Tax and benefits campaigns and the Radical Housing Network; others also invited.
The Tenants and Housing summit event is on 13 June 11-4.30pm at Bloomsbury Baptist Church Hall in central London.
Sessions on What Next for March for Homes, the Tenants Manifesto, Anti Benefit Cuts campaigns, trade unions and housing, Private renters and rent control, and the Fight for Council Housing – against demolition, sell off and privatisation.
Get your tenant group, trade union or community organisation to come along. For more details and leaflets contact info@defendcouncilhousing.org.uk.
Other News
Cambridge’s Housing Crisis meeting Tue 28 April with speakers from Generation Rent, Defend COuncil Housing, and Kevin Price Exec Councillor for Housing 28th April, at 7.30, at Ross St Community Centre Cambridge.
Hammersmith Council in west London, is considering privatisation of all 12.500 council homes. A DCH leaflet sets out why this is a threat to tenants – copies and details from info@defendcouncilhousing.org.uk for leaflets.
What you can do
Get your organisation to send people to the 13 June summit event: Tenants and Housing – after the election. Contact info@defendcouncilhousing.org.uk for more details
Re/affiliate to DCH 2015 – form here and more here.
Further information from www.defendcouncilhousing.org.uk
To stop getting DCH email newsletters reply with UNSUBSCRIBE in subject.

Radical Labour – A Message From John McDonnell MP

Let’s transform this leadership election into a real debate about the future of socialism, our party and our country

So far neither the political range of candidates for the Labour leadership nor the ideas they have voiced have set the world of progressive politics alight.

So if we want to use the selection of a new leader to excite people about the potential of socialist politics, then it’s up to us to get this debate going.

I am launching this website to host a debate on the issues the Labour leadership candidates have to address and to promote some of the ideas and policies people think any new leader should adopt.

We start with a hard hitting analysis of Labour’s electoral geography in last week’ selection by Andrew Fisher, the Director of the Left Economic Advisory Panel.

If you would like to submit a paper on your ideas about what the Labour leadership candidates need to address, send us your ideas by emailing me on radical-labour@hotmail.com.

At the moment the choice of a new Labour leader is looking like a glamour contest between a group of candidates with little ideologically to choose between them.

Let’s transform this leadership election into a real debate about the future of socialism, our party and our country.



McDonnell MP

Barnet Left Unity meeting

Barnet Left Unity meeting
TUESDAY 19 MAY, 6:30-8:30pm
What next after the election?
Glyn Robbins, LU candidate in Tower Hamlet​s and housing campaigner
Andrew Burgin, LU national officer
And speakers from local unions and housing campaigns
Venue: the Greek Cypriot centre
Britannia Road, N12 9RU, North Finchley
1 80 81 82 83