NERC Newsletter June 2024

Page 1

North East Region


Your North East Regional Council can be contacted at: And on our X (Twitter): @RMTNorthEast


This year ’ s Transport Cleaning Workers Conference, the seventh since being formed and its first two-day conference, was hosted by the York & District Branch within the North East Region at the Grand Hotel in York City Centre.

The Grand Hotel building was opened in 1906, as the Headquarters of the North Eastern Railway, at the time one of the richest businesses in Britain, and the conference was hosted in the former boardroom

The main theme of the conference sadly continued to be the inequality suffered by the cleaning grades from employers, and in some cases from fellow employees within the industry The nine resolutions submitted raised similar concerns due to the majority of cleaning contracts both on TOC’s and Network Rail remaining outsourced

The conference noted that in-house cleaning, while able to address some of the main issues raised, still has issues such as low pay, poor terms and conditions, and inadequate working facilities at some locations

The RMT national position remains to bring all outsourced cleaning back in-house, and to strive to improve on in-house present terms and conditions, and for all cleaners to be paid £15 per hour, as outlined in the new Cleaners’ Charter launched at this year ’ s conference (please see RMT website for the charter in full)

The conference also noted Labour’s position and commitment to end outsourcing, and that this conference calls for the RMT to ensure we hold Labour to account, so that should the party be elected into power, it enacts its pledge to end outsourcing for all

It was also noted that of the three TOC’s within our region operated by operator of last resort (LNER, TPE and Northern) only Northern has their cleaners in-house, although it has been noted they remain on poor terms and conditions which are presently under attack as part of the proposed TOC Workforce Reforms RMT cannot permit or accept this and must see our representatives strive to improve the present terms and conditions, and not allow any weakening now or in the future.

The conference passed all nine resolutions and submitted two to this year ’ s AGM as permitted

York & District branch reports that the conference was a great success, although noted with some concern the percentages of those attending were largely from other regions, with the majority from the South East and London, something that we as a region must improve upon next year



July 4th sees the country go to the polls in the General Election- it is crucial RMT members use their vote to dispose of the Tory government who have systematically tried to destroy the livelihoods of transport workers across the country, in an attempt to feather the nests of their mates in the private sector.

RMT is not affiliated to any political party, despite how the media attempts to portray us. Our own rule book states that one of our key objectives as a union is to “work for the supersession of the capitalist system by a socialistic order of society”. Therefore in this election we will back socialist and Labour candidates, in particular those who have supported us in our disputes and on our picket lines.

The last fourteen years have seen a sustained attack on working people and our members through antiunion legislation, and sustained attacks on terms and conditions across the transport sector.

We have seen the P&O scandal, where the government did nothing to protect our members. It is our belief that if the Conservative party is elected back into power, they will come back with an even more vicious assault on workers’ jobs and conditions, and trade union and employment rights We cannot let this happen

We know that Labour are supporting key policies, such as the New Deal for Working People, which includes repealing the 2016 Trade Union Act and Minimum Services legislation Labour is also supporting public ownership and reintegration of large parts of the railway, removing the ban on publicly owned buses and improving seafarers’ rights However we also know that Labour themselves cannot be trusted fully and we must, if they are elected, hold their feet to the fire through campaigning and pressure

We also condemn the appalling approach the Labour leadership has taken to the conflict in Palestine

This region will continue to work closely with regional politicians that support our campaigns: this approach can achieve results, as seen in our successful campaign up stop ticket office closures

We must ensure we continue to nurture this supportive relationship, but we have to insist on progressive change from those we support. vernment for good!

Next branch meetings:

Teesside - Sunday 23rd June, 1900 at Green Tree Pub, Middlesbrough

Newcastle Rail & Catering - Friday 26th July (online only)

Newcastle & Gateshead - Friday 5th July, 1830 at Marlborough Club, Newcastle York & District - Monday 1st July, 1830 at Bar Convent Living Heritage Centre, York Darlington - Monday 24th June, 1630 at the new East End Club, Darlington


RMT seafarers working for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary will be on strike once more on Tuesday 25th June, International Seafarers Day, in an escalation of their dispute over pay

This is their second bout of industrial action in recent weeks, having also been on strike on 19th May

This will affect 25 members in the North East region; however will reach workers as far away as Singapore These indispensable seafarers have been left without the dignity and recognition they deserve, with unfair pay leaving their wages far below the standard to which they work

They have been overlooked and underestimated by their employer and continue to stand together in a show of solidarity.


Activists representing Newcastle & Gateshead, Newcastle Rail & Catering, Teesside, Berwick Rail and Darlington No 1 attended this year ’ s May Day rally in Newcastle, celebrating workers’ rights in the traditional yearly march led by the RMT Fishburn band. Speeches at Grey’s Monument focussed on solidarity between workers in the face of challenges mounted by the far right across Europe and the world. People’s Assembly Secretary Ben Sellers made the point that austerity has not come back - it’s never really gone away: something for RMT members to consider when voting in July.

The RMT marched with a a banner proclaiming our union’s solidarity with Palestine in the face of their ongoing genocide, a pledge made repeatedly by other unions and organisations throughout the day.


The Durham Miners’ Gala on Saturday, 13th July is a cornerstone in socialist events every year, and we are privileged to be a part of it in our region As always, RMT members are encouraged to join the march through Durham, alongside the RMT Fishburn band and as many banners as we can bring

The RMT meets at the Whitechurch Free House, Church Head Street, at 10:30 to march to the cricket field, where there will be speeches, food and drink stalls, union tents and a funfair

Northern Pride will be held in Newcastle on Saturday, 20th July, with a march beginning at 11:00 at the Newcastle Civic Centre RMT would love to see as many regional activists there to march - there is also a brunch from 10:00-11:00 held by the TUC at the Unite Building, John Dobson Street, for trade unionists to socialise and get ready for the march Pride is the perfect time to highlight the work trade unions strive to do to fight for LGBTQ+ workers to achieve full equality and to support our LGBTQ+ comrades: please attend if possible (contact Mark Beresford at Bedlington Branch for further information)

Network Rail


The latest offer from Network Rail back in April was formally rejected by RMT.

Network Rail offered a 3.5% pay increase, saying it would be a real-term increase based on average expected inflation of 2.1-3.1% for the year ahead. It has always been the case that pay offers have been based on RPI for the November of the previous year. RPI was 5.3% in November 2023.

Network Rail also, amongst other things, refused to extend the current no compulsory redundancy offer, rejected our claim for a minimum uplift, rejected our requests regarding a reduction in the working week, rejected an improvement in current travel facilities, rejected an improvement to pensions, rejected a proposal to remove a cap on bands 5-8 salaries

RMT will continue to seek fresh proposals

Train Operating Companies

This continues to drag on, and no company has yet produced a full and final offer

It is also unhelpful that the Department for Transport (DFT) have placed huge restraints on the TOCs, meaning there is no flexibility at all in areas of negotiation Each TOC also has to submit a proposal to the DFT for approval before it can be presented to RMT, causing more delays .

Additionally, the 4% offer is dependent on our members agreeing to the erosion of our hard-fought terms and conditions.

Any offer will be examined closely by your National Executive Committee to ensure there are no detrimental consequences to any acceptance.

We continue to ensure we fight for EVERY grade and to stay unified. Support each other and don't let the companies divide you.

An injury to one is an injury to all.


13th June every year sees RMT commemorate General Secretary Bob Crow’s birthday, with a day focussed on organising Activists throughout the North East spent the full encompassing week out in the region, from York to Berwick, spreading the message to transport workers that RMT is the best union to protect and fight for their jobs, terms and conditions, equalities and pensions

The North East region continues to buck the national trend with ever-rising union membership, showing the hard work and dedication of our reps, officers and activists



David King - Executive Member North East

Martin McCleary - Lead Recruiter North Tel: 07711 570848 berwickrail@rmt org uk

Tim Butler - Lead Recruiter South Tel: 07757 425859 yorkdistrict@rmt org uk

Jessica Robinson - Regional Council Secretary Tel: 07784 224412

We welcome contributions to this newsletter - if you would like to write an article, please contact any one of the officers above



Berwick Rail:



Newcastle & Gateshead:

Newcastle Rail & Catering:

North East Shipping: northeas

North Yo


York & D

Branch meeting dates will be communicated in local depots - if you have any concerns, please contact your branch representative.

REGIONAL OFFICES Thomas Steels House 49a Thorne Road Doncaster DN1 2EX Tel: 01302 760694 North East Shipping Office Unit 17 Cookson House River Drive South Shields NE33 1TL Tel: 01914 561308 SOCIAL MEDIA NERC Twitter: @RMTNorthEast Twitter: @RMTunion Facebook: RMT MEMBERS' HELPLINE: 0800 376 3706

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