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ISSUE NUMBER 8, VOLUME 16

JULY/AUGUST 2013

Essential reading for today’s transport worker

NEW LEGAL & ADVICE SERVICES

INSIDE THIS ISSUE

AGM IN BRIGHTON PAGE 13

CLEANERS TAKE STRIKE ACTION PAGE 4

THE GREAT PAYROLL RIP OFF PAGE 8

www.rmt.org.uk t g k


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contents

RMTnews

EDITORIAL

NEW SERVICES

Page 4 TYNE AND WEAR METRO CLEANERS TAKE STRIKE ACTION

Page 5 RAIL REGULATOR CALLS FOR MORE PRIVATISATION

Page 6 WHITECHAPEL TUBE PROTEST

Page 7 TAXI DRIVERS LOBBY AGAINST DEREGULATION

Page 8 THE GREAT RAIL PAYROLL RIP OFF

Page 9 PARLIAMENTARY COLUMN

Page 10 NO MORE PIPER ALPHAS

Page 11 KEEP EAST COAST PUBLIC!

Page 12 RMT DEMANDS INVESTIGATION INTO FIRST GREAT WESTERN EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES

Page 13 AGM 2013 BRIGHTON

Page 21 PRESIDENT’S COLUMN

Page 22 TORIES LOCK IN BUS CUTS

Page 23 NEW LEGAL SERVICES

Page 24 MEMBER AWARDS/LETTERS

Page 26 SHIPPING NEWS

Page 27 TOLPUDDLE MARCHES ON

Page 28 RMT AT PRIDE

Page 29 RMT AT THE CHAIN MAKERS FESTIVAL

Page 30 LETTERS/CROSSWORD

RMT News is compiled and originated by National Union of Rail, Maritime & Transport Workers, Unity House, 39 Chalton Street, London NW1 1JD. Tel: 020 7387 4771. Fax: 020 7529 8808. e-mail bdenny@rmt.org.uk The information contained in this publication is believed to be correct but cannot be guaranteed. All rights reserved. RMT News is designed by Bighand Creative and printed by Leycol Printers. General editor: Bob Crow. Managing editor: Brian Denny. No part of this document may be reproduced without prior written approval of RMT. No liability is accepted for any errors or omissions. Copyright RMT 2011

rom August your union has set up a one-stop legal and shop to combat the on-going Tory/Lib Dem assault on working people and their access to justice. In the latest attack the government has banned solicitors from doing free work in return for doing personal injury work and from recovering insurance premiums on personal injury cases. As a result RMT has created a legal department to deal with employment cases initially and a dedicated advice helpline. A prize draw letter will be going out to each member in order to update your details will also contain a card with all the new helpline numbers. Summer is a time for major trade union rallies and festivals and the Durham Miners gala did not disappoint this year. It was a pleasure to address the thousands that turned up as they do every year. It was great to see Tyne and Wear cleaners on strike marching in the crowds for a decent pay rise. But it gave me no pleasure to say that the Labour Party has lost its way and is in danger of losing the next election as working people do not see the party standing up for their interests. The sad truth now is that on the main policy issues like cuts and privatisation you cannot put a fag paper between the major parties. We need political representation that will scrap anti-trade union laws and renationalise the transport sector. Under privatisation there are relentless attacks on the industry, the workforce and passengers in the name of profit. The latest assault is the on-going casualisation of the rail industry on the platforms, the gatelines and on the infrastructure side. RMT has produced a booklet The Great Rail Rip Off exposing how contractors are using bogus selfemployment on zero-hours contracts to exploit rail workers. Network Rail is majority funded by the taxpayer and it is clear that the

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taxpayer is now paying for a largely casualised workforce, with potentially deadly consequences. We are campaigning for rail work to be undertaken in-house, without subcontractors, agencies, payroll companies, umbrella companies or any of the other mechanisms used to rip off the workforce. RMT is also fighting low pay in the shipping sector and members at Orkney Ferries have rejected a derisory pay offer in a long-running battle for pay justice. The government wants to devolve the Bus Service Operators’ Grant to local authorities and funding will be based on figures for tendered routes and services, effectively locking in bus service cuts since May 2010. Yet the bus industry is the lifeblood of the economy in many areas and simply cutting off support for it will have a massive impact on millions of people. RMT is also fighting plans by Transport for London to introduce Driver Only Operation on the whole of the London Overground network. As a result millions of passengers are to be put at risk. These lethal proposals have been brought about as result of the 12.5 per cent cut in TfL funding announced in the government’s spending review. These cuts are also behind a secret plan to remove the ticket office from Whitechapel station during the process of rebuilding the station for Crossrail. But the closure of just one ticket office breaks the important principle that there is staffed ticket office on every LU station and so could ‘open the floodgates’ to further closures. Finally this is your last chance to win an ipad mini in this month’s RMT News by signing up for your RMT pre-paid card. I find it a useful way to spend and save money with cash back. Best wishes

Bob Crow

When you have finished with this magazine give it to a workmate who is not in your union. Even better, ask them to join RMT by filling in the application form opposite 3


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RMTnews

TYNE AND WEAR METRO CLEANERS TAKE STRIKE ACTION

MPs demand to know how much money Deutsche Bahn is extracting from the contract off the backs of low-paid British workers Cleaners on the Tyne and Wear Metro kicked off two weeks of strike action on the eve of the Durham Miners Gala in an allout fight for pay justice for some of the lowest paid workers in the industry. In support of the cleaners, MPs tabled Early Day Motion 386 demanding to know just how much money the German rail giant Deutsche Bahn is extracting from the NEXUS/Metro contract. The Common’s motion notes that “the contracting company DB Schenker increasing its profits by 240 per cent; is appalled that, as DB Schenker is owned by German state railways, profits that could be used to pay the living wage and

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boost the North East economy are instead being used to support the German economy”. The dispute stretches back well over a year and involving 19 days of strike action so far as the low paid cleaning staff, stuck on bare minimum wage and lousy working conditions, have mounted a brave fight for a living wage. RMT general secretary Bob Crow issued a call at the Gala for the entire trade union movement to mobilise in support of the Metro workforce. “It is a scandal that German rail services are being subsidised off the back of poverty pay here in the North East. “And, if you want to see the

class nature of Britain under this rotten government in action, compare the disgraceful pay rates for these transport cleaners with the inflationbusting pay increase for MPs. “RMT members have shown determination through a long and hard campaign with well over a year of rock-solid strike action in the fight for workplace and pay justice. “This battle is now seen as having national significance in the campaign against low pay and exploitation by greedy companies and RMT will continue to ratchet up the pressure for fairness as part of our national cleaners’ campaign. He said that the union was

also turning its fire on the Integrated Transport Authority, NEXUS, which, despite being under Labour control, has not lifted a finger to support the cleaners. “NEXUS could force its contractors, DB Regio, to instruct their subcontractors, Churchill, to pay a living wage. “The hypocrisy is breath taking as on paper Labourcontrolled Newcastle City Council support the living wage campaign. “They cannot wash their hands of this dispute and RMT is stepping up the call for them to help force a solution as the fight for justice will continue until we win,” he said to applause.


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RMTnews

RAIL REGULATOR CALLS FOR MORE PRIVATISATION

The rail regulator has used Network Rail’s growing debt burden as an excuse to call for the privatisation of sections of the publicly-backed rail infrastructure body. The Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) report projects that Network Rail’s debts will rise to £62 billion by 2034 and encourages the break-up of Network Rail along regional lines. One of the proposals is to sell parts of the network that generates profit, however, rail routes provide services to a

mixture of long-distance and commuter services that require government or cross-subsidies. RMT general secretary Bob Crow said that the suggestion that Network Rail should be smashed up and sections of the rail infrastructure packaged up and sold off for private profit was a lethal strategy that would drag the railways right back to the death and destruction of Railtrack. “The fact that it is the socalled regulator behind these plans shows that the ORR has become nothing other than an

enforcer for the government’s McNulty Rail Review and the cuts demanded by central government. “This plan would not save a penny-piece but it would turn out more expensive as the fragmentation of track would put the private sector in a monopoly position, able to bleed the taxpayer dry in exactly the same way that the train operators have got away with for the past 20 years. “Add to that the human cost of dragging the safety regime back to the days of Hatfield and

Potters Bar and the implications for our railways are simply horrific. “If the ORR wants to save money they could do it at a stroke by ending the corporate welfare that drains over a billion pounds a year out of our railways in company profits and private sector subsidies. “Any plans to slash jobs and hack Network Rail to pieces in the name of Government cuts and private greed will be met by fierce political and industrial resistance by RMT,” he said.

EAST MIDLANDS TRAINS MEMBERS BACK ACTION Following a massive “yes” vote for industrial action, RMT has confirmed a programme of action at East Midlands Trains. The company is refusing to engage with the union over a number of issues including its intransigent approach to the long-planned Nottingham engineering blockade and the unilateral ripping-up of procedural and conditions of service agreements. There has also been

continued intimidation, bullying and harassment of RMT member in clear breach of the company’s policies. RMT members are taking industrial action short of a strike including not working overtime or on rest days or performing any additional duties outside the job description and terms and conditions of employment. Members will only work agreed rostered hours and turns

when rostered on spare turns only to work within the parameters laid down in terms and conditions of employment. RMT general secretary Bob Crow said that the company was attempting to bulldoze through changes off the back of an engineering blockade which is being dressed up as a bogus emergency to try and justify ignoring procedures and ripping up working agreements. “As a result of this aggressive

and hostile attitude, RMT members have voted overwhelmingly for action. “There is a culture of bullying, harassment and victimisation that RMT will not allow to continue. “The union remains available for talks but the company should be in no doubt as to the level of anger that their actions have generated amongst members,” he said.

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RMTnews

WHITECHAPEL TUBE PROTEST RMT held a protest at Whitechapel station in July to defend ticket offices on London Underground from attempts by Mayor Boris Johnson to smuggle in ticket office closures through the back door – despite opposing closures before he was elected. The union has uncovered a secret plan to remove the ticket office from Whitechapel station during the process of rebuilding the station for it to be served by Crossrail.

The plans ignore the fact that the station serves an area which includes a busy market, a major hospital and a diverse local population which need to access staff support rather than rely on ticket-issuing machines. RMT said that the closure of just one ticket office breaks the important principle that there is staffed ticket office on every station and so could ‘open the floodgates’ to further closures.

Having defeated LU’s previous attempts to close ticket offices, the union has made it clear that it will take whatever action is necessary, including industrial action, to oppose the Whitechapel closure and any similar moves elsewhere on the network. RMT general secretary Bob Crow said that the threat to the ticket office at Whitechapel will be fought tooth and nail. “This is an underhand move by the Mayor which has huge

ramifications for the rest of the tube network if it isn’t stopped. “It will open the floodgates to a surge of closures in the drive to de-staffing which will turn the Underground into a criminal’s paradise and leave passengers stranded. “Boris Johnson publicly pledged not to close tube ticket offices as part of his election campaign and RMT has no intention of letting him off the hook,” he said.

PARIS RAIL CRASH KILLS SIX

FAULTY POINTS: Railways workers at the site where a train derailed at a station in Bretigny-sur-Orge, south of Paris on July 13 and left six people dead and injured dozens. The derailment was blamed on a defect in the points system similar to that which caused the Potters Bar crash in 2002.

SAVE LILLIE BRIDGE TUBE MAINTENANCE DEPOT RMT is demanding assurances from London Underground that there will be no threat to the jobs and safety-critical work at Lillie Bridge tube maintenance depot as a result of plans by Mayor Boris Johnson to demolish Earls Court and the surrounding area. The union has threatened to ballot for action if Transport for

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London cave in to pressure from developers, right-wing politicians and billionaire Russian football club owners to smash up Lillie Bridge in the name of greed. The union will work with campaigners fighting the Earls Court carve up and support protests demanding that Boris Johnson and his supporters

back off. Bob Crow said that RMT was opposed to any interference with the Lillie Bridge tube maintenance depot as part of West London development. “This whole ill-conceived plan, which includes the social cleansing of Earls Court in favour on penthouse apartments for the super-rich,

must be stopped and we stand shoulder to shoulder with the campaign to force Boris Johnson to turn back the proposals. “This is the mayor sending out the signal that he is only interested in the demands of speculators and Russian billionaires,” he said.


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RMTnews

TAXI DRIVERS LOBBY AGAINST DEREGULATION RMT taxi drivers from across the country lobbied parliament in July against the deregulation of the industry that could hit standards and lead to chaos on the roads. Taxi drivers belonging to RMT, GMB and Unite protested over Law Commission proposals which could see private hire vehicles ply for hire at set times, nights and weekends and allow members of the public to wave them down like Hackney cabs.

The proposals are currently being considered by the Law Commission as part of a package of plans to deregulate the industry by merging the rules covering taxis and private hire vehicles and replacing local with national licensing arrangements. Unions warn that if the plans go ahead it could lead to passengers being ripped-off and make it easier for criminals to pose as ‘rogue’ taxi drivers and increase the risk to passengers.

The Law Commission’s proposals come despite the Transport Select Committee advising against any changes. RMT general secretary Bob Crow said that the licensed taxi industry was under an unprecedented attack through deregulation with a systematic attempt to water down standards and rules that had served the public so well over the years. “The total contempt that has been shown to the taxi industry

through their exclusion from the Olympics transport plan and the banning from Olympic lanes is a scandal and this lobby will give politicians a chance to hear directly from the taxi drivers themselves,” he said. If you are a taxi driver register your support for the campaign by texting 4HIRE followed by your name and badge number to: 60777 Your details will be treated in confidence.

NEAR MISS ON NORTHERN LINE RMT is demanding urgent answers from London Underground about safety breaches that enabled two trains to end up narrowly avoiding a head on collision on a section of the Northern Line. In the shocking incident a train out of Finchley Central was given a target speed to proceed out of the station and after approximately two train lengths was asked to apply an emergency brake and the train operator became aware of a

train approaching from Mill Hill which is a single track line. The driver was forced to take emergency action and to reverse back to Finchley Central, avoiding a potential head on collision. Both trains were in service and carrying passengers and it was only due to the swift action of the driver that a potentially fatal head on collision was avoided. RMT is demanding answers to a range of questions, specifically how two trains could end up

routed onto the same section of track into a potential collision environment and calling for a full safety investigation by the rail regulator, the ORR. London Underground is attempting to play down the event, making a mockery of the stated commitment to staff and passenger safety. RMT general secretary Bob Crow said that the incident exposed the lethal gamble of driverless tube operation. “If it hadn’t been for the swift and

decisive action of a driver we could have had a head-on collision on our hands with fatal consequences. “With massive cuts in the pipeline under the government spending review allocations to Transport for London, RMT is stepping up the safety fight. “This union will not allow tube safety to be compromised by a cavalier management that choose to ignore the warnings and questions raised by our safety reps,” he said.

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RMTnews

THE GREAT RAIL PAYROLL RIP OFF RMT pamphlet exposes how contractors are using bogus selfemployment on zerohours contracts to rip off rail workers RMT has conducted an analysis regarding the use of bogus selfemployment on the railway to rip off workers. It found that of some 88,000 PTS cardholders, 67,000 were not directly employed by Network Rail. As a result RMT believes that less than 10 per cent are fulltime employed and that the remainder may well be working under bogus self-employment on zero-hours contracts. As in construction, the Construction Industry Scheme and payroll companies are often used on the railway by unscrupulous contractors and the Gangmasters Licensing Authority does not include railway infrastructure work in its remit. In fact, construction and railway contracting is dominated by an almost identical set of contractors. For example, of Network Rail’s top 20 suppliers (paid out over £2.5 billion in 2012/13) thirteen worked in both railway operations and construction. A recent report by construction union UCATT found that a multi-million pound industry had been created to try to legitimise false

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self-employment. It said that increasingly individual firms were outsourcing false selfemployment practices to payroll companies. “A payroll company operates by requiring a worker to sign a contract stating they are selfemployed. In many cases the worker in reality still works for a single employer but will be denied all the rights of an employee. “To add insult to injury the worker is usually expected to pay for the payroll company’s services with a weekly charge, usually £15-£25, taken directly from their wages,” it said. Furthermore, the report estimates that false selfemployment is costing the Exchequer £1.9 billion per annum. Network Rail is majority funded by the taxpayer through the Network Grant and the taxpayer is effectively paying for a largely casualised workforce, with potentially deadly consequences in a safety critical industry. RMT general secretary Bob Crow said that the union would campaign for all work on the rail network to be undertaken

in-house, without subcontractors, agencies, payroll companies, umbrella companies or any of the other mechanisms used to heighten the exploitation of the workforce. “This RMT booklet outlines the casualisation of Britain’s workforce as a whole and in particular on the railway as well as the extent to which it is being promoted by Network Rail and the safety concerns that the ORR has raised about the phenomenon. “It provides an example of the scheme run by a contractor and contains a list of immediate demands which we must continue to fight for in order to secure a decent working life for our members,” he said. RMT calls for: • an immediate end to bogus self-employment and zero hours contracts and a

reduction in the number of agencies and contractors working in the rail industry • the same rate of pay, a minimum standard of training and good quality PPE • an immediate inquiry into the legal issues surrounding working hours and travelling time • The abolition of the Construction Industry Scheme • For the Office of Rail Regulation to acknowledge that the current state of affairs is unsafe and take action to protect the workforce and the travelling public Copies of The Great Rail Payroll Rip Off are available from Unity House by e-mailing m.carty@rmt.org.uk or phoning 020 7529 8307


RMT helpline 0800 376 3706 :: july/august 2013 ::

ORKNEY FERRIES PAY OFFER REJECTED A derisory pay offer by Orkney Ferries has been rejected by members in a long-running battle for pay justice. The union has warned that that arrogant and bullying attitude of the company could force an escalation of the current action. Despite repeated attempts by union representatives to negotiate a settlement to the dispute, which currently involves action short of a strike by RMT members, the company has maintained its position of offering a pitiful increase that amounts to a substantial pay cut in real terms. That offer has now been overwhelmingly rejected by RMT members in a secret ballot. RMT general secretary Bob Crow said that it was outrageous that Orkney Ferries had still failed to come up with a serious pay offer despite hours of talks and the helpful intervention of ACAS. “They have now forced a stand-off through their sheer contempt towards their staff and the union will be discussing the next move which could, of course, include an escalation of the action in the busy summer months. RMT national secretary Steve Todd said that it was down to the company to recognise the anger and resentment that their stance had generated reflected in this ballot result. “We need to get back round the table for meaningful talks aimed at resolving this dispute rather than slamming the door in our faces. “The company has upped the ante through their attitude and it is down to them that we are left with no option but to consider, along with our partner unions, an escalation of this dispute over the summer,” he said.

RMTnews

Parliamentary column

FIGHTING FOR WORKPLACE JUSTICE This summer saw the start of one of the biggest attacks on workplace justice for a generation.

come forward with even more vicious legislation, including banning strikes in the transport sector.

From July 29 fees became payable for all employment tribunal claims. To go to a tribunal will now cost in many circumstances in excess of a £1,000 which will have the obvious effect of deterring and pricing out many workers from being able to make claims.

As a Labour MP I am glad that the Labour Party has opposed all of these attacks and it demonstrates that there is a clear difference with the Tories.

This is on top of the increase in the qualifying periods to be able to take claims to an employment tribunal from one year to two years and a reduction in awards tribunals can make. As RMT has argued the changes are a licence to encourage unfairness and instability in the workplace. And the TUC is right to rubbish the argument that employment rights are bad for the economy. As the TUC points out the bosses pedal that myth every time people at work get a better deal – just as their predecessors opposed nineteenth century laws to outlaw child chimney sweeps. They said the minimum wage would destroy millions of jobs. But it did not. The attack on employment tribunals is of course just part of a wider strategy to massively shift power away from the workers and towards employers. The coalition government has been relentless in pursuing its agenda. The reduction in mass redundancy consultation periods to 45 days instead of 90, undermining TUPE protection, the introduction of shares for rights and the attack on facility time are all part of a campaign to seek to permanently weaken the trade union movement. And we need to be absolutely clear they are only just beginning. If they get another term it is certain they will

The Labour Party now has a golden opportunity, that it cannot afford to miss, to set out clearly that it will repeal all the attacks that have been introduced. That would not only be the right thing to do but incredibly popular. Working people are fed up with the country being run in the interests of the wealthy few and a Labour and trade union campaign for justice at the workplace would win massive support. Such a campaign would point out that proper rights at work are not only fair but will increase security and help create happier more stable communities. And the campaign should be positive, for example on employment tribunals why should we not argue for compulsory reinstatement orders if workers are unfairly dismissed and also employment rights from day one? RMT members can be proud that your union is playing a key role in fighting for employments rights and, despite the government attacks, trying to ensure its member have the best possible protection and will still be able to go to tribunals if the need arises. And as the TUC and party conference season approaches the entire trade union and labour movement must step up the campaign for workplace justice. Let’s all play a part in that campaign. Ian Lavery is the MP for Wansbeck.

He is a member of the RMT Parliamentary Group and Chair of the Trade Union Group of Labour MPs.

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RMTnews

NO MORE PIPER ALPHAS n the 25th anniversary of the Piper Alpha disaster which killed 167 men RMT slammed the government for meddling with the safety inspection regime implemented on the recommendation of the Cullen Report produced following the tragedy. The reorganisation of the Health and Safety Executive inspection regime for the 30,000 offshore oil and gas workers has been conducted without any consultation with trade unions or industry bodies. RMT general secretary Bob Crow said that there were serious concerns amongst the workforce and offshore inspectors themselves that the proposals undermine the culture of improvement in the offshore safety regime. “At the time even the Tory government accepted all of Lord Cullen’s recommendations, key amongst them being to create a stand-alone inspectorate for the offshore industry, the Offshore

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Safety Division (OSD) which has just been abolished. “This is clearly a cost-cutting measure despite the fact that the North Sea has massive oil and gas reserves and some of the infrastructure is over 40 plus year old. “In the last year alone we have seen repeated leaks, evacuations and shut downs, including on the ageing oil platform North Cormorant which has been extracting oil since the 1970s,” he said. RMT regional organiser Jake Molloy was the only trade union representative to speak at the Piper25 conference last month organised by Oil and Gas UK, other speakers including Lord Cullen. Jake’s speech can be viewed at www.oilandgasuk.co.uk /events/Piper25/Webcasts.cfm He spoke of the deep and lasting trauma caused by the Piper Alpha disaster which should mean the industry never forgets the lessons that were

learned. He said that regulations brought in by Cullen were fit for purpose and having a positive effect. “However there can be no attempt to water them down or to de-regulate in any way in order to ‘unburden industry’. “A single regulatory body exclusively devoted to offshore safety has served us well, using pro-active methods. “We want to see this maintained, which is why we have voiced concerns about the recent HSE restructuring,” he said. Speaking in a debate in the House of Commons in July Labour MP for Stockton North Alex Cunningham paid tribute to the tremendous courage of the men who worked on the platforms and involved in the rescue attempts on Piper Alpha 25 years ago. “Lord Cullen’s critical report in November 1990 changed the entire safety culture for offshore

firms and workers alike. “However I was horrified to hear the HSE announce at a meeting of the Offshore Industry Advisory Committee that the planned restructuring will involve the abolition of the offshore safety division, the very inspectorate set up on the recommendation of the Cullen inquiry,” he said. He pointed out that a recent survey of 5,000 offshore workers found that 75 per cent think that the decision to scrap the OSD undermined safety, with 62 per cent saying that the changes risked a repeat of Piper Alpha. “This is not a risk we should be taking, particularly at a time when platforms and infrastructure are ageing and the risk of safety issues is potentially increasing,” the MP said.


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RMTnews

KEEP EAST COAST PUBLIC!

MT activists held protests the length of the East Coast Mainline in July as part of the fight to keep the route in public hands. Passengers received campaign postcards at Kings Cross, Doncaster, Leeds, Wakefield, Newcastle, Berwick and Edinburgh Waverley. In 2009 National Express handed back the franchise for the East Coast Mainline (ECML) to the government, abandoning the contract in a negation of the operator’s responsibility, causing huge uncertainty and disruption. It was the second private sector failure on key the key route, following the earlier collapse of GNER. Since National Express threw the keys back, public ownership in the form of Directly Operated Railways Ltd has provided an improved service and vastly more revenue for the Treasury. According to answers to questions tabled by the RMT

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Parliamentary Group, DOR has paid £602 million in premium payments since 2009 This is £232 million more than National Express paid back during its tenure and over £209 million more than the amount paid in by Virgin/Stagecoach on the West Coast Mainline since 2009-10. Moreover ECML in the public sector is virtually subsidy free. Public subsidy accounted for only 1.2 per cent of ECML’s total income in 2011-12, compared to an average of 32.1 per cent of the income of the private train operating companies on the 15 other passenger rail franchises. Research by the think tank Transport for Quality of Life has found that DOR payments by the service to the government have significantly outstripped those paid by the other two privately operated Intercity services, First Great Western and Virgin West Coast.

The RMT-commissioned report found that since East Coast has been in public ownership, payments to the government have averaged twice those made by Virgin and three times those of FGW. The report concludes that if Virgin and FGW had matched DOR over the three years DOR has been in operation, they would have paid well over £800 million in premium payments. A new ICM opinion poll has also found that only one in four people support the reprivatisation of East Coast while while six out of 10 believe the service should remain in public ownership.* Despite this, the Conservative-led government is determined to hand back ECML to the privateers and are preparing to bulldoze through a re-privatisation of the line before the next election, with a third expensive and reckless gamble at the taxpayers’

expense. RMT general secretary Bob Crow said that the government was prepared to take a third gamble on their big-business friends in an ideologicallydriven bid to privatise East Coast before the election, even though the whole reckless exercise will cost the British public hundreds of millions of pounds in lost income. “RMT research shows that the money currently being reinvested by publicly-owned DOR will go straight into the back pockets of whatever bunch of chancers are given the chance to plunder East Coast after the previous two private collapses left the public sector to pick up the pieces. “RMT will continue to fight not only to keep the East Coast in public ownership but to renationalise the entire network, ending the great rail rip-off once and for all,” he said.

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RMTnews

RMT DEMANDS INVESTIGATION INTO FIRST GREAT WESTERN EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES MT is demanding an urgent police investigation into employment practices by contractors hired by First Great Western after reports that 15 Mitie workers have been arrested. RMT understands that the arrests were over invalid or inadequate paper work. The union has been campaigning to expose the employment practices at Mitie, one of the UK’s largest facilities management companies, and a culture of bullying and

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exploitation. RMT has condemned First Great Western for ignoring repeated union warnings of bullying, casualisation and exploitation, allowing the culture to continue unchecked while raking in huge sums from the major inter-city franchise. The union has said repeatedly that Mitie’s operation represents the worse kind of abuse of workers on poverty pay and conditions, who are threatened if they speak up or get organised.

Mitie and FGW have even gone so far as to try and prevent the union from getting access to these workers. RMT is demanding a full investigation into any corrupt and illegal employment practices by Mitie and FGW must take all these workers in house on agreed pay and conditions. RMT general secretary Bob Crow said that the abuse of casualised staff on a main intercity rail franchises must stop. “We will not tolerate a

situation where they are made the scapegoats for a culture of bullying and exploitation. “These workers have inadequate facilities, poor training, are poorly treated and have no sick pay and no shift or weekend rates. “First has allowed Mitie to operate under those conditions and this shocking scandal must be dealt with now through a thorough police and public investigation with those responsible called to account,” he said.

RMT BALLOTS TO SAVE LONDON TRAIN GUARDS MT is balloting members across the whole of the London Overground network against Transport for London plans to introduce Driver Only Operation (DOO). RMT had called for the plans to be withdrawn but TfL has commenced this process without the necessary Safety Validation certification regardless of the safety risks involved. There had also been an attempt to implement ‘no strike clauses’ in the proposed

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voluntary redundancy scheme and a proposed flexibility and attendance bonus in an attempt to bully staff into accepting the destruction of their jobs. As well balloting for industrial action RMT will take the political fight over attack on safety-critical guards’ jobs into the House of Commons and City Hall and will be organising public meetings and protests. RMT general secretary Bob Crow urged members to vote ‘Yes’ for action to save 130

safety-critical jobs as part of the overall battle to defend jobs and safety on London’s transport services. “These lethal proposals have been brought about as result of the 12.5 per cent cut in TfL funding announced in George Osborne’s Comprehensive Spending Review. “Those cuts will be resisted by this union with all means at our disposal, including industrial action. "The news that millions of

passengers are to be put at risk through plans to throw the guards off London Overground trains on north London routes is clearly a foretaste of what is to come. "We can expect many more of these attacks on jobs and safety as TfL slash hundreds of millions from their budget at government behest,” he said. He urged members to contact their MP urging them to sign Early Day Motion 423 ‘Keeping Guards on Trains’.


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NO TO CASUALISATION Annual general meeting vows to resist casualisation and social dumping in the transport industry RMT president Peter Pinkey opened conference by outlining the onslaught facing transport workers including casualisation, attacks on health and safety and the implementation of the McNulty report. “The attacks on transport workers are just part of a broader austerity project supported by the Con-Dem government and unelected bureaucrats in Brussels,” he said to a standing ovation. Profit-hungry rail contractors are putting passenger's lives at risk by replacing trained engineers with casual labourers, agreed delegates. Casual workers are carrying out "critical" tasks like track maintenance for Network Rail in order to cut costs. Over 200 agencies have been set up to provide cheap labour and their staff now outnumber workers directly employed by Network Rail. RMT general secretary Bob Crow explained how engineering work was being carried out by agency staff ordered in by text message. He said this could have "lethal implications" and pledged to ramp up pressure on

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politicians to stop the practice before "we have a tragedy on our hands". Greg Hewitt, Brighton City called growing casualisation "the scourge of our industry" and warned it's "the biggest threat" to the union. Alex Hogg, Edinburgh and Portobello described how "van loads of young, unexperienced men turn up on weekends to do one or two shifts". "They won't join the union because they only work a couple of shifts and have no loyalty to the railways," he said. But Mr Hogg and other delegates were clear that cornercutting bosses were to blame rather than poorly paid agency staff. Billy Rawcliffe, York said that he has been forced to work for an agency since being sacked by Network Rail. He said not even basic facilities are provided for agency workers, forcing him and colleagues to change into workwear by the side of the road each day. "I'm living proof it can happen to anyone but it's given me more resolve to fight casualisation", he said.

Bob Crow

Lewis Peacock, LU Engineering explained that he had successfully signed up agency workers to the union through the RMT charter calling for them to have decent pay and conditions. "It's about showing agency workers they are not alone and the permanent workforce is in solidarity with them," he said. Assistant general secretary Steve Hedley said that RMT wants to "get rid of the parasites and win decent pay and conditions for these workers". RENATIONALISE RAIL The campaign for renationalisation of Britain's railways was gaining momentum even before this year's AGM. The city's Green MP Caroline Lucas announced that she would table a private members bill to put the issue back on Parliament's agenda. Speaking at AGM, Ms Lucas described how £1.2 billion in taxpayer's cash is stuffed into the pockets of shareholders rather than being invested into services under privatisation. And she can now expect plenty of support for her bill,

from MPs and more importantly the public, after the RMT exposed the full extent of the rip-off on Britain's railways. RMT research revealed that a staggering 60 per cent of Britain's rail network is run by state-owned companies. German state rail operator Deutsche Bahn alone runs almost a quarter of all services and French and Belgian state companies run another six lines across the south of England. Connections to Heathrow airport are also part-owned by the governments of Singapore, China and Qatar. The Tories insistence on privatisation has seen hardpressed passengers paying high fares every year to subsidise publicly-owned railways across Europe. Bob Crow said: "The hard truth is that the British public are paying the highest fares in Europe to travel on crowded and ageing trains in order to subsidise railways in Germany and other parts of the continent. "RMT stands shoulder to shoulder with our European colleagues fighting EU rules in order to keep their railways in public hands but what a


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nonsense it is that our own government is denying us the same benefits of lower costs and increased investment that the public ownership so clearly brings." The East Coast Mainline remains the only railway run by the state. As a result it has the highest satisfaction rate of any British railway and has put over £800 million into the public purse since National Express dumped their contract three years ago. Despite all the evidence, Tory rail minister Simon Burns was adamant that privatisation "has been a force for good in the story of Britain's railways". He claimed that the rail selloff had made Britain's network the "most improved in Europe" and claimed continued privatisation would "drive down the cost or running the railways". But Mr Crow was clear that union research "blows apart the whole government case" for privatisation, especially of the East Coast mainline. "What they are actually saying is that any state can run our railways as long as it isn't

the British state," he added. Caroline Lucas agreed the union's figures "expose a huge flaw in the government's argument that our railways must be privately operated to be effective." She said that the "perverse situation is denying taxpayers and rail passengers savings" and compared it to how "France's state-owned energy company EDF control and profit from the UK's nuclear programme". The campaign for renationalisation seemed to gather pace with every day of this year's AGM and even newspapers such as the Daily Mail and Daily Express had jumped on the bandwagon of outrage of the subsidies being paid by Britain's passengers through privatisation. Dozens of delegates finished the week by taking the campaign to the public. They skipped breakfast to greet commuters at Brighton railway station - the home of Britain's worst-performing rail franchise. First Capital Connect charges some of the highest fares found anywhere to travel on clappedout rolling stock.

Jenny Grey

And activists, including a dozen young members, explained to passengers that the government's McNulty rail review would see stations, staff and ticket offices axed despite the fare rises foisted on them. They received enthusiastic public support for the protest which was part of the growing Action for Rail campaign. Bob Crow said: "It is only right that we take some time out to explain to local people just what is going on with their rail service." "There is an alternative public ownership of our railways, run as a public service and free from the greed that bleeds over a billion pounds a year out of the network and into the pockets of the speculators." SHIPPING UNDER ATTACK

John Tilley

Delegates turned the spotlight on attacks on seafarers and taxpayers by multinational shipping companies in the Tonnage Tax who in return for a rebate of at least £800 million in the last 12 years have done next to nothing to promote jobs and training for UK seafarers. AGM coincided with Seafarers Awareness Week and also by tabling of Early Day Motion 281 by RMT Parliamentary group member Katy Clark MP. Union research has revealed that since 2000-01 the Tonnage Tax has given ship owners a total tax rebate worth at least

£800 million. The majority of Tonnage Tax vessels are not UK registered and many are registered under flags of convenience, including Liberia, Panama and the Marshall Islands. UK seafarers also continue to fill under a quarter of jobs on tonnage tax vessels – 23 per cent (4,730) with UK ratings only accounting for nine per cent (1,975) of all jobs on tonnage tax ships. UK training rates are flat lining with industry estimates of the annual number around the mid-teens and officer training rates are at only half the total they should be. The total number of UK ratings working in the shipping industry fell to under 10,000 in 2012. RMT is demanding a mandatory link to ratings training in the tonnage tax scheme and the union will be making that point in a planned meeting with the shipping minister. This will be only the second meeting the union has had with the minister since May 2010, whereas the Chamber of Shipping have had at least five official meetings in that time. Bob Crow said that it remained a scandal that in a seafaring nation like Britain, shipping companies continued to hack back employment opportunities for UK ratings and officers while they looted the tonnage tax using flagged out vessels, crewed by seafarers on

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EC members Sean Hoyle and Darren Proctor share a joke

admitted some members have resisted the move but it would raise average earnings for all workers. Steve Hedley said that delegates would need to go back to their workplaces and educate people about why the move was progressive. BUS WORKERS

poverty rates of pay. "If the scandal of pay rates of £2.35 per hour on Condor Ferries can’t persuade the government to act, then the tragic sinking of the Swanland in the Irish Sea should. “This was a rusting deathtrap of a flagged-out vessel on a route between UK ports, crewed entirely by low-paid Russians who never stood a chance when the ship went down. “Seafarers need government protection from lucrative multinational shipping companies and their highly paid lobbyists and RMT intends to step up the fight to secure just that,” he said. FAIR PAY London transport bosses have skipped away with £2.5 million in bonuses despite chancellor George Osbourne slashing funding for services across Britain again. Research by the RMT union revealed that 39 fat cats last year enjoyed bonus payments of up to £319,000 on top of their already huge annual basic salaries. And over £900,000 was paid to blacklisting bosses overseeing the publicly-funded Crossrail project, which is years from

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completion. Bob Crow called the payments "outrageous" when transport has taken a "massive hit" in yesterday's spending review. "Crossrail is paying out nearly a million pounds in largesse for a project that hasn't even been completed yet while trade unionists have been blacklisted off the site for fighting for health and safety and decent working conditions. "RMT will take the ‘loadsamoney’ culture at the top into full account as we make our own pay claims". Meanwhile, workers resolved to close a growing pay gap between different grades of staff. John Reid, Camden said that real wages for low-paid workers had fallen by six per cent over the last few years despite the union winning pay rises in line with inflation. Linda Wiles, Transport for London explained that was because management increased workers' pay by a percentage of their earnings. Delegates pledged to fight for a flat rate pay increase for all workers, irrelevant of their grade. Richard Howard, Portsmouth

Conference warned bosses to provide bus workers with equality training or risk breaking the law and face being sued. Delegates heard that bus companies are knowingly flouting legal obligations to provide access to transport for disabled people. New legislation enshrining the rights of disabled transport users under the Equality Act in 2010. Disability campaigners took Arriva to court earlier this year after two wheelchair users from Darlington were refused access to a bus by a driver because a pushchair was occupying the wheelchair space. Although that claim was unsuccessful, bus staff said they must receive disability awareness training to ensure they can help passengers in the future. Clive Gillman ‘South Devon’ Bus said that he had been ill-

prepared to deal with disabled passengers in the past. “As a union we fully support the campaign for equality but we can’t be expected to deliver the right service without any training whatsoever. “Our work is a lot more than just driving and employers need to recognise that,” he said. Delegates called the union to ensure that all companies establish a disability awareness course to help their staff deliver a better - and legal - service for disabled people. Conference also called on the union to produce a bus workers handbook which would arm members with helpful advice on everything from good working practice to health and safety. The motions were sent for discussion at AGM after being debated and approved by RMT’s busworkers’ conference in Skegness earlier this year. TAX DODGING Rail privateers are dodging tax on billions in profits and should face a public inquiry, Bob Crow told the AGM. New figures released at the annual conference showed that shareholders are now taking home twice as much as companies put back into the Treasury. Britain's top five train operators each registered almost a billion pounds in profit last year but paid just 13 per cent tax - 10 per cent less than the basic rate for big businesses. And between them they stuffed more than £240 million into investor's pockets while paying a "pitiful" £123m back into the public purse. RMT pointed out that their tax "pales into insignificance" compared to the whopping £2.48 billion public subsidy they received last year. Bob Crow called for a full investigation to be launched by Parliament's public accounts committee. "These new figures on the pitiful rates of tax paid by the train operators justify a full


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Delegates vote

investigation probing into the rotten heart of Britain's privatised railways. "We know that the government is terrified of lifting the lid on just how the British travelling public are being exploited because it would reinforce from top to bottom the case for public ownership”. The report delivers yet another hammer blow to the Tory myth that privatised rail is cost-effective for taxpayers and passengers. However Mr Crow warned that the Tories would pigheadedly privatise new lines which could make much-needed profits for taxpayers without an inquiry. "With the new Crossrail operation being lined up for the same gang who have plundered our railways for billions over the past 20 years it shows that this government is prepared to tolerate the robbery on our railways in the name of pure political ideology".

CRISIS IN LABOUR A councillor expelled from the Labour Party for opposing cuts warned Britain faces a "crisis of working class representation". Keith Morrell told delegates how he was booted out of Labour after 30 years in the party. He was elected along with Cllr Don Thomas to represent a working class ward in Southampton at the last council elections helped Labour take control of the council from the Tories. But he explained how local Labour leaders have cut 20 million from the city's budget, closing all youth services, slashing Sure Start funding by £1million and carrying out a jobs cull. "We spoke publicly against the cuts and the same day I received an email from Labour saying I was expelled," he said. "It was a dark place to be in after 30 years in Labour but we had support from unions,

Linda Wiles

particularly RMT that gave us the strength to keep fighting for local services and people's jobs. "We quickly found out that people across the city also supported us and were eager to have representatives who stand on principles." Mr Morrell is just one of a number of Labour councillors suspended or expelled for refusing to comply with cuts. "We never expected to be in a position to talk about a crisis of working class representation in Britain. "But we have to fill the vacuum because the Labour Party can no longer do that. It won't happen overnight but it can be done,” he said. The councillors also spoke at a meeting of the Trade Union and Socialist Coalition at the conference. Delegates had earlier voted to re-affirm the union’s support for TUSC candidates at elections. STOP THE TORY CUTS

Ken Slade

Only a general strike will stop the Tories condemning the next generation to poverty, delegates warned at conference as they called on the TUC to organise a Britain-wide walkout. John Reid said: "We are

going to hand over worse conditions to our children and grandchildren. "The working class is being made to pay for the bankers' crisis and our social wage, won by our forefathers and mothers, is being stripped from us". Bob Crow agreed that government austerity policies "are not about paying back the debt but changing society." "This government never wanted the NHS, council housing or education for all and now they want to destroy it. "We've had massive marches but the government hasn't listened and is still cutting everything we've worked for since World War II,” he said. Mr Crow said that the TUC's austerity bus won't put the brakes on Chancellor George Osbourne's cuts and praised the mass demonstrations taking place in Brazil as an example for Britain's workers. But he was also clear delegates must be prepared to build support for a general strike in their workplaces. He said: "We need to go out of this meeting and say to every worker, enough is enough, we've been on marches, we've been on buses - now is the time to call a

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shareholders and not into services. "Politicians of every hue should listen to the public who overwhelmingly want to bring the railways back into public ownership," she said. The TUC general secretary went on to praise RMT's 30 per cent boom in membership this year alone as an example for other TUC affiliates. REMEMBERING HILLSBOROUGH

Steve Hedley

general strike". Bob reported that John Hendy QC had told the TUC that a general strike was illegal but they could call their millions of members out for a midweek demonstration. He piled pressure on TUC leader Frances O'Grady to name the day for action when she spoke at the union's conference today. Ms O'Grady told delegates: "While I'm general secretary our union will support workers taking action, wherever they vote for it, up to and including mass industrial action". TUC BACKS RENATIONALISATION TUC general secretary France's O'Grady said that renationalising Britain's railways should be at the "heart of a green strategy for growth". She said that the Tory sell-off had been a disaster for Britain". Ms O'Grady pointed out that the £3 billion in government subsidies going to private rail operators far outstrips what was invested in British Rail. And she revealed how 90 per cent of that public cash has gone straight into the pockets of

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Delegates paid an emotional tribute to Hillsborough justice campaigner Anne Williams for exposing the establishment stitch up "from her kitchen table". Delegates dedicated a minute’s applause to Ms Williams who died this year after finally forcing out the truth about how her then 15year-old son and 95 other Liverpool fans died at Hillsborough. Alan Traynor, who escaped the disaster, said: "Anne lost her son but not her spirit and she fought for justice to the end, even when she was in a wheelchair". IAN LAVERY Labour MP Ian Lavery addressed conference on behalf of the 24Greg Hewitt

strong RMT parliamentary group in place of its chair MP John McDonnell, who remains unwell. He told delegates that Thatcher may have been defeated during the general strike if unions representing miners and transport workers had merged. Mr Lavery heaped praise on the solidarity offered by railway workers and seamen during the 1984 strike. "I wonder what would have happened if indeed the triple alliance of industrial unions perhaps could have merged,” he said. Delegates have hit out at Labour leaders that supported cuts but Mr Lavery said that some MPs were still fighting for working class people. INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY Transport workers from across the world attended the annual general meeting to share their struggles and show solidarity with RMT members. Delegations from Ireland, France, Italy, Australia, the United States and New Zealand spoke with passion about the common cause of defending workers’ interests. Howard Phillips of RMTU

Allen Jeyes

Ron Douglas

New Zealand told delegates about how they succeeded in their campaign to see the country’s railways renationalised. In a familiar tale, he explained how the right-wing National party flogged the railways to their mates in big business, who instinctively asset-stripped the services and oversaw its decline in just a few years. “Our brand of Tory is not very different from yours. “They denigrate decent


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working people while so-called entrepreneurs are subsidised at the expense of the poor,” he said. The RMTU vice-president said that his members went out and convinced the public that they were getting a bad deal, which in turn put pressure on the country’s governing Labour party. They had started, he said, by ‘pinching’ RMT’s Take Back The Track campaign in 2004 and by 2008 had convinced the Labour government to reclaim the

nation’s railways for the common good. “Our members brought voters onside, from Tory voters to Labour voters, so there was a widespread call for the renationalisation and we take credit for that,” he said. Chris Cain of the Maritime Union of Australia (MUA) gave an impassioned speech, in which he urged delegates to “organise, organise and organise again” to beat the bosses. He explained the MUA’s militancy had brought them

many victories, including recently winning “real jobs” for over 80 aboriginal workers who are often exploited as casual labour. Echoing the experience of RMT, Mr Cain said that those victories had made employers and right-wing politicians take an even harder line against them. “But we have taken them on, had a go with pickets, occupations and walkouts and by JulyI might be in jail for what we believe in,” he added

defiantly. Speaking just hours after left-leaning Australian Labour party leader was dumped out of office in favour of the right faction’s Kevin Rudd, Mr Cain also spoke about how his union have had some success in dragging the party back to its grass roots. But he warned the right-wing National party was likely to sweep to power in the forthcoming elections. Transport Workers Union of America (TWU) president

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US Transport Workers Union local 100 speakers Shannon Poland and Curtis Tate

Jim Little said that the Obama administrations had “done nothing to make it easier to organise” despite promising to do so in order to win working class votes in the recent

election. He explained union density had fallen from around 11 per cent to six per cent, which had led some union’s squabbling among themselves rather than

working together to organise. But Mr Little told delegates a remarkable story about how Vegas card dealers had approached the TWU to join their union after casino bosses

tried to claim 15 per cent of their tips. He explained that no other union was willing to work with them but found they were already incredibly organised. Irish service union SIPTU general secretary Joe O’Flynn spoke about the solidarity between British and Irish workers through the ages. He recounted how the support of transport workers in Britain was crucial to the historic Dublin lockout and Sligo dock strike of 1913, which were over the right of workers to unionise. Mr O’Flynn recounted how food ships from England helped

BRIAN MUNRO CANCER APPEAL When Brian Munro was diagnosed with a rare eye cancer in December 2007 he tried to get on with every-day life for the sake of his young family. He continued driving trains on London Underground's Bakerloo line and representing his co-workers as a branch secretary. But it was exactly a year ago today that the results of some tests turned fears that Brian had put to the back of his mind into an unavoidable reality. Specialists told Brian that the potentially fatal Ocular Melanoma had spread to his liver and said that he would have just a few months left. In an emotional conference speech he said: "That was shocking news and my understanding was that it was now incurable". Thankfully, Brian found support from the OcumelUK charity that help people with the condition fight the cancer and prolong their lives. A breakthrough came when he

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was referred to Southampton University Hospital and was selected to receive a brand new chemotherapy treatment. "My liver was isolated and flooded with high doses of a chemo agent," he explained. "I was told I might die from the process as the procedure was inherently risky and they had never done it before". Brian maintained his positive outlook on life but was forced to make "necessary arrangements" in case anything went wrong and even held his own last supper. "Friends and comrades came round for dinner, good food was made, fine wines were drunk and goodbyes were said to all," he said. After an experimental six hour procedure, Brian woke up in intensive care, but alive. He went through this on two occasions last year and since then has been taking a new drug to strengthen his immune system daily. Brian couldn't speak highly enough of the dedicated and talented NHS staff who had

Brian Munro

saved his life. If Brian's story ended there, it would be a happy one for him, his partner Lucy, his young children but the cancer will come back. Only a new cell replacement treatment could kill the cancer but it's not yet available for free and will cost £45,000 to receive at a private hospital in Manchester. "My initial reaction was that's not happening," admitted Brian. But with the help of family, friends and the union is building a war chest to keep fighting his cancer. He asked Bob Crow to donate some cartoons for a raffle. "Within five minutes Bob had given me a holiday to New York to use as a prize instead, flights, hotel, everything,". "I was sacked in 2003 but

Bob got me job back within 48 hours after we threatened to shut down the Tube. "Being an RMT activist is like having a family tens of thousands strong who love you. An army who will battle for you and fight for you." "If I die tomorrow I'll die happy knowing I've spent my adult life being part of the RMT family, a militant, fighting, wonderful trade union family that's second to none." Brian has received solidarity from trade unionists from across the globe and has raised thousands towards his treatment but he needs much more. You can send donations to: BMCFF, C/O Madeleine Davies, 31B Gove Road, London, E9 7HP Or online at www.rmtlondoncalling.org.uk/ brianmunrocancerfightingfund


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President’s column Brighton

feed 20,000 striking workers in Dublin and said that international solidarity was crucial to ensuring the struggle could continue. While the Dublin lockout “fizzled out” in 1914 for lack of support from the British TUC, he said that the 56-day Sligo strike finally secured their demand that bosses only employ unionised workers. “Not enough recognition has been given by Irish workers to British trade unions for wonderful support that was given through 1913 strikes,” he said. Mick Cash

He invited RMT members to travel to Ireland later this year to take part in a re-enactment of the food ships that is taking place to mark the 100th anniversary of the struggle. In his first speech at RMT conference as acting general secretary of the International Transport Workers’ Federation Steve Cotton praised the union for showing leadership on international issues through support for Palestine, Cuba and Venezeuela. He said that the strong theme of international solidarity running through the conference was crucial because “decisions are no longer confined within national borders but made at Brussels or in boardrooms”.

FIGHTING FIT RMT is fighting fit and ready to hit back at Tory class war, president Peter Pinkney told delegates as he opened conference. Mr Pinkney gave an honest assessment of the onslaught facing transport workers in the coming years, including casualisation, attacks on health and safety and the implementation of the McNulty report. And he outlined how attacks on transport workers are just part of a broader austerity project supported by the Con-Dem government and “unelected bureaucrats” in Brussels. “They’re trying to put us back to 19th century working conditions and all that comes with it,” he said. “Increase deaths and injuries at work, low wages and appalling living conditions. “You can see that with the rise of food banks across this country, something I never thought I’d see in my lifetime. “And we have the disgraceful bedroom tax and that made me think this week, that despite Thatcher, this is the most right-wing government we’ve had for many years. “They probably think the children of the poor are a burden on the state and should be sent out to work instead of idling around in education with the children of the rich. “They’d probably like to see them all back down the mines but they’ve shut them all.

“All these attacks are there to cement the capitalist system. We’re paying for their failures with injustices that are inherent in the capitalist system.” The president was unequivocal that the Labour party is “unrecognisable” from the one led by Clement Attlee that delivered “revolutionary reforms” like the NHS after the end of the Second World War. “The Labour party has failed because it thinks the capitalist system can reform and it can’t reform, we’ve seen that. “We need to say no to antitrade union laws, we’re not going to put up with the privatisation of our industries, we need to build social housing for the poor in this country and make socialism a decent word against and not the dirty word it’s become in the right wing press”. But he added that it’s “no good whinging” and called on the union to continue forging links with like-minded political parties and groups of activists to form a winning movement. Mr Pinkey explained how he visited Brighton earlier this year to offer solidarity to students occupying Sussex University and said the “uplifting” experience was like “going back to 1968, with students getting involved with workers”. He said the union could blend it’s experience with youthful activism by campaigning alongside

groups such as Occupy, UK Uncut and 38 Degrees. He was also clear the TUC needed to “show some leadership and grow some teeth”. “Marches are all well and good but we need to move onto the next stage,” he said. “We need a general strike and we need it now because that is the only way these people will listen”. Most importantly, in his first speech as president, Mr Pinkey pointed out how the union was going from strength to strength. “Despite all the challenges we face, I believe our union is in good shape to meet anything that’s thrown against us,” he told members. “We’ve always led the fight, we’ve always punched above our weight. “We’ve improved and extended what we offer at our training centre at Doncaster when other unions are closing their doors. “We’ve seen a massive increase in attendances at our grades and advisory conferences. “Initiatives for young members have grown, they’ve taken ownership of them now and the future of the union is in safe hands. “People who say that trade unions are dead dinosaurs and finished need to take a look at what we’re doing and the improvements we’re making for our members,” he said to applause.

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TORIES LOCK IN BUS CUTS

Union calls for bus renationalisation to halt decline of the industry The government plans to devolve the Bus Service Operators’ Grant (BSOG) to local authorities and funding will be based on figures for tendered routes and services, effectively locking in bus service cuts since May 2010. BSOG is a substantial source of funding to private bus companies and was worth over £350 million in 2012-13 alone. This money will now be allocated to bus companies by local government rather than the Department for Transport. If councillors on the local transport authority want to decide which routes they want the bus companies to run and decide how much passenger’s pay, under something called a

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Quality Contracts Scheme, they will have to prove they can work in partnership with bus companies in order to apply for and receive Better Bus Area (BBA) funds. This is a further incentive for bus companies to block a Quality Contract which would regulate private operators’ fares and service levels within a defined area. In a further blow to integrated transport rail replacement bus services will no longer be eligible for BSOG funds. The union has responded to the consultation which was launched last year. While RMT supports devolving BSOG funds in principle it remains opposed

to the government’s cost-cutting proposals, including the use of the latest funding streams to calculate how much BSOG each authority would receive which would lock in the 1,300 cuts to bus services that have been made by bus companies and local authorities in the last three years. RMT general secretary Bob Crow said that the Con Dems were locking in cuts to bus services that have been lost or withdrawn by local authorities, as well as any cuts made by private operators. He said that BSOG funds should continue to be ringfenced, otherwise cash strapped local authorities and those with no interest in bus services will

spend the money in other areas. “The bus industry is the lifeblood of the economy in many areas and simply cutting off support for it will have a massive impact on millions of people. “However this government of millionaires is not interested in public transport for millions because they never use it. “Taking the industry back into public ownership would help the economy and encourage people out of their cars and onto public transport,” he said. *RMT’s response to the bus subsidy reform consultation can be viewed on the RMT website.


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LEGAL

NEW LEGAL SERVICES RMT general secretary Bob Crow explains new legal services the union is putting in place following sweeping changes to the legal system As a consequence of the ongoing Tory/Lib Dem attacks on working people and their access to justice the union has reached the decision to create a legal department to deal with employment cases initially and to set up a dedicated RMT advice line; ie a one-stop legal shop. The government has made it illegal for union solicitors to do free (pro-bono) work in return for doing our personal injury work. It has also banned unions from recovering insurance premiums on members personal injury cases, formerly RMT takes the risk by self insuring our members by running cases when high street firms probably wouldn’t. This means that RMT solicitors Thompsons have to charge for all the employment advices and free advices on non-work matters and RMT can’t use the insurance fund to help us fund future cases. As a result the union took the decision to take these matters in-house and set up a legal department. RMT has engaged the services of an employment solicitor and the union will be engaging a legal secretary/administrator who together with our legal officer will deliver legal services. From August 1 the union will establish the RMT Advice Line on 0800 376 3706 in England and Wales and 0800 328 1014 in Scotland

The line will be staffed by our industrial relations department who currently advise members on work related and union matters. They will help members with non-work related problems like debt; housing; matrimonial; immigration and sale of goods. The line will be open Monday to Friday 08.00 to 18.00 and 09.30 to 16.00 on Saturdays. Our advice team aim to assist members with preliminary advice and where specialist legal assistance is required point a member in the right direction. When a member needs specialist legal services the union will recommend solicitors or an appropriate organisation that has been approved by the union to assist and take up the case and won’t rip the member off with exorbitant charges. RMT Criminal Helpline on 0765 911 8181 in England and Wales and 0800 328 1014 in Scotland The criminal helpline is for members and their family if arrested by the police or questioned under caution in or out of work. The line is open 24 hours a day seven days per week. Employment advice and representation The employment advice and representation procedure remains unchanged. If the member has a work-related

employment problem that requires advice from the legal team they should contact their regional office and complete an L2 form (also downloadable from our web site) which they should send with supporting documents to the regional office. Our regional staff will assist in assembling the documents required and do membership checks and the regional officer countersigns the form and sends to head office for advice. The legal team will decide whether the case has merits and I decide whether representation should be provided. Members must complete the form in good time and note that most employment cases have strict time limits of three months less one day in which to lodge an employment tribunal

application. If member doesn’t do it in time they will be too late. RMT’s legal team will undertake to give a preliminary opinion on the merits of the case within seven working days. This will be either written; via telephone or at a face-to-face meeting whichever is convenient at the time for the member and bearing in mind time limits. If the union decide that there is a case then we will pay all the tribunal fees and ensure that the member is represented at any hearings. Regarding compromise agreements and settlements, the legal team will deal with these for members. Members should contact the RMT legal officer on 0207 7387 8818.

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MANSFIELD STALWARTS

MANCHESTER STALWARTS

John Sinnot

RMT executive committee member Kevin Morrison presented Manchester Victoria branch member Ray Carter with a present following his retirement after serving the Terry Fillingham and Rod Booth both work for Stagecoach at Mansfield and each has 40 years union membership.

Tom Duckmanton also received his 40 years membership from East Midland Bus branch

WIGAN BRANCH NOMINATES

STEVE SHAW FOR NORTH WEST REGIONAL ORGANISER ACCOUNTABLE TO THE ORDINARY MEMBER

HOLYHEAD NO1 BRANCH NOMINATES

STEVE SHAW FOR NORTH WEST REGIONAL ORGANISER

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WORKINGTON BRANCH NOMINATES

STEVE SHAW FOR NORTH WEST REGIONAL ORGANISER

WARRINGTON AND DISTRICT BRANCH SUPPORT

STEVEN SHAW FOR NORTH WEST REGIONAL ORGANISER

union for 36 years including as a branch secretary. Kevin also presented John Sinnot with his 40 year service medallion as a union member.

PENZANCE AWARD

Penzance No1 branch secretary Alan Osborne received his 40-year union service badge recently from young members organiser Ashley Farrent. Alan gave an emotional speech about the history of the NUR and his Roy Davis also works for stagecoach at Mansfield and he has completed 47 years union membership,

Ray Carter

life and times as a union member and representative. There was also a retirement presentation for RMT driver Chris Abbley who finished in April after nearly 40 years on the footplate.

YOUNG MEMBERS ON COURSE Dear Editor, I would like to express my gratitude to Dave Marshall and Andy Gilchrist for putting on an excellent Young Member's AGM Course this in year in Brighton. Next year I will be thirty and this was my last chance to attend this education course and it is a must for any young activist. I can honestly say that our union’s structures and policies make much more sense than they ever did before. I can now see how to utilise the rules and tools we have in our hands effectively to the greater benefit of my brothers and sisters and start to drive real results. RMT has invested heavily in my education and others much more than any employer has in my working life. It's a testament to the commitment and drive this union has to ensure we remain a fighting union looking after our members not only in the workplace but also in the greater society and globally. Thank You. Barry Weldon


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SHIPPING NEWS he union has been notified that both the MV Beachy Head and the MV Longstone RO/RO Ministry of Defence ships will both be either laid up or sold at the end of the year, leading to the loss of around 70 of both ratings and officers jobs. This is despite receiving assurances that all six strategic RO/RO ships that were purposebuilt through a PFI initiative would remain in service for the foreseeable future and in particular the two condemned vessels on commercial charters were safe until the end of the current charters. RMT is angry and frustrated that no alternative work will be sought for these ships and the MoD order is just to dispose of them without any thought or consideration for those seafarers who will now face unemployment, some with no prospects at all of gaining further employment at sea. Serious questions need to be asked of the MoD and a set of questions are being tabled by RMT’s Parliamentary Group to the Minister.

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I have not met one seafarer working there who was not told that there was up to 25 years work on these ships and now after just 12 years, you’re finished, gone, disregarded. An absolute disgrace by any standard and all they can offer is a measly small increase over and above the statutory minimum redundancy payments. That is not acceptable and RMT is demanding more, but more importantly the union wants the company to look for suitable alternative employment for those seafarers. If by chance the ships are sold the union wants TUPE to apply so no-one loses their jobs. Discussions are well underway and the company is seeking volunteers following our demands that there should be no compulsory redundancy. The union wants four weeks per year of service, plus notice and a substantial payment for any retraining and if the MoD can’t pay all the redundancy then Bibby’s and the other four companies in the syndicate will need to dip into their profit that

they have made from the ships over the last 10 or 12 years to improve the package. I will be keeping members up to date with any progress and arrangements are being made for ship visits to keep members informed. RFA RMT’s pay submission has been made to the RFA for an increase in rates of pay from July 2013 although I am sure we are going to be told, yet again, that they are restricted by government austerity measures. It is clear now that the only way we will get anything over and above government pay restrictions is to take action. On a brighter note, I have just sighted an RFA Fleet bulletin, obviously from the Commodore’s Office, which states “we are to be reassured that the MoD spending review is not expected to see any further reduction in RFA personnel. The RFA is one of the few areas of defence that will actually grow over the next few years with more people needed to man the new additional ships

as the Tide Class Tankers are introduced and additional opportunities that the future manning of Solid Support work will bring”. In addition the Commodore assures us that the work related to the RFA Value for Money study and RFA Future Development programme have put RFA in a good position to argue against any further reductions. They are well on their way to achieving the 10 per cent savings that are required and bench marking against civilian shipping and the Royal Navy prove that RFA is a “lean organisation that is delivering its mandate”. Watch this space. RMT national secretary Steve Todd

RECORD TURNOUT FOR DURHAM GALA ore than 150,000 people poured into Durham for the 129th annual Miners' gala in July. Striking RMT Tyne and Wear cleaners joined the crowds on the first day of two weeks of action to demand a decent pay rise. Hundreds of banners and marching bands wound through the city, watched by cheering and applauding hordes. Trade unionists and their families rallied in the gala field calling for the Con-Dem coalition to be defeated and demanding that the Labour Party fight austerity not appease it. RMT general secretary Bob Crow addressed the crowds with a call to the trade union movement to create a new

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political project to challenge head on the pro-business, antiworker agenda of the three main political parties. “RMT was expelled from the Labour Party almost a decade ago and in that time we have actually increased our political influence as we have had the freedom to back candidates and parties who demonstrate clear support for this trade union and its policies. “The Labour Party cannot sneak into government by default, our job is not to prop up the political class behind this racket, our job is to sweep it away,” he said. Durham Miners' Association general secretary Dave Hopper described the gala as "the best I have attended in my 28 years as a union official".


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TOLPUDDLE MARCHES ON rade unionists and socialists from across the country converged on one of the biggest Tolpuddle Martyrs festivals in the Dorset village for many years. Revellers enjoyed the sunshine while taking in the music, plays, kids areas, lectures, meetings, discussions and debates that make this festival one of the most popular in the trade union calendar. Many meetings and rallies took place over the weekend and veteran left wing campaigner Tony Benn had made his way to the festival to address the crowds. RMT Wessex regional organiser Mick Tosh put the case for renationalising rail at a busy Action for Rail fringe meeting. “Renationalising our railway is a very popular policy but instead we have McNulty. “The McNulty report is about

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job losses, creating ghost platforms, fare increases and running down services. “We need an integrated transport network and to get that you need to renationalise rail,” he said to applause. Shadow transport secretary Maria Eagle told the meeting that rail policy was still being discussed within the Labour Party. Executive member Daren Ireland intervened during a TUC meeting on the European Union pointing out that EU structures were imposing austerity and attacking trade union rights across the continent. Many RMT banners appeared on the annual march through the village led by Bob Crow and the RMT brass band. The RMT contingent ended the march by gathering their banners around the band while they serenaded the marchers bathed in sunshine.

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RMT AT PRIDE

his summer RMT activists marched with around 15,000 people in London’s 42nd lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender Pride parade, the biggest event held in a decade with half a million or more people lining the streets. The theme of this year’s Pride was ‘Love and Marriage’ as the Equal Marriage Bill moves forward in parliament. RMT activists carried the union lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) banner and placards to highlight a commitment to campaigning for LGBT rights here in the UK and to demonstrate our solidarity with LGBT workers and activists across the world in the many countries where they face discrimination and violence. The parade began in Baker Street, passing through Oxford Street, Piccadilly and Trafalgar Square before ending at Whitehall. About 150 groups were involved in this year's parade including other trade unions and the TUC. TUC conference Delegates to this year’s TUC LGBT conference discussed a wide range of issues including

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homophobic hate crime, International LGBT rights, resisting the government’s austerity policies, solidarity for transgender workers, homophobia in sport, and young homeless LGBT people. RMT’s first motion demanded justice for Steven Simpson, a gay autistic student who was killed in last year on the night of his 18th birthday party. Steven was verbally abused, stripped, and his body scrawled with offensive slogans. He was doused in tanning oil and his killer set fire to him. The flames engulfed him and Steven died the next day suffering 60 per cent burns. The killing of Steven Simpson was clearly a hate crime motivated by his sexual orientation and disability. But the judge Roger Keen dismissed the crime as ‘goodnatured horseplay’ and a ‘stupid prank that had gone too far’. Steven’s killer was sentenced to an unusually short sentence of just three and a half years in prison. Moving the RMT motion, brother Mujahid made clear that a ‘stupid prank’ is knocking on someone’s door and running

away. “This was murder fuelled by homophobia and prejudice against disabled people,” he said. RMT also called on the TUC to support campaigns against homophobia around the world; raise the issue of LGBT rights at international events; build solidarity links with LGBT rights campaigners and trade unionists, support and mobilise for protest actions and support LGBT people facing deportation to countries where they face homophobic or transphobic persecution. TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady condemned government attacks on vital workplace protections for LGBT

people. “This government is happy to be seen as a champion of equal marriage but it is axing vital legal protections for gay and lesbian employees because they are a ‘burden’ on business. “The government’s austerity measures are having a severe impact on Britain’s LGBT communities. “Real-term cuts to the NHS are undermining a range of services, including the care provided to transsexual people. “Massive cuts to the police service mean that fewer resources are being given to fighting hate crime when and where it occurs,” Ms O’Grady added.

LEIGH FOLKO FESTIVAL Bob Crow and Chris Baugh in Leigh-on-Sea

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ver 10,000 people flocked to the trade unionsponsored Leigh-on-Sea folk festival in Essex now in its 22nd year. The event is supported by RMT, PCS and SERTUC, Southend trades council and local union branches. RMT general secretary Bob Crow attended, enjoying the festivities at the end of June. “There is sea, sun, sand and cockles what more could you ask for at this great community event,” he said.

PCS assistant general secretary Chris Baugh also showed support. “This festival is a real gem run by volunteers which shows us what communities can achieve by working together,” he said. The festival is accompanied by a festival CD with all the tracks were donated by performers in order to raise funds for the event. For more information go to http://leighfolkfestival.com


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VOLUNTEERS: Front row: Pat McCarthy, Laura Storer from Thompsons Solicitors, Shirley Ann Venning. Second row: Don Hawkswood, Neil Sanders, Pat Collins and Dennis James and Chris Instone took the picture who came along after his early shift at work.

RMT AT THE CHAIN MAKERS FESTIVAL R

MT’s Midlands regional council had its banner on display on a stall at the Cradley Heath Women's Chain Makers Festival earlier this summer. The RMT stall enjoyed a lot of public interest and everyone really enjoyed taking part in this great event. Pat McCarthy

and Don Hawkswood walked the parade at 11am while others ran the stall. The festival celebrates the achievements of 800 women chainmakers who fought to establish a minimum wage in 1910 following a 10-week strike. The employers sought to

deny them their rights but were met with forceful opposition. The strike was led by trade unionist Mary Macarthur, who founded the National Federation of Women Workers and later stood for Parliament as a Labour candidate. People gathered in Mary

Macarthur Gardens near Cradley Heath railway station for a commemoration at Mary's statue followed by banner procession led by local children to Bearmore Park for the festival which continued into the afternoon.

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£50 PRIZE CROSSWORD

Last month’s solution... The winner of last month’s prize crossword is Ann Joss, Aberdeen. Send entries to Prize Crossword, RMT, Unity House, 39 Chalton Street, London NWI IJD by September 5 with your name and address. Winner and solution in next issue.

ACROSS 1 Ruin (10) 8 Outdoor (4-3) 9 Affect with wonder (5) 10 Meaningless (5) 11 Building (7) 12 Conflict (6) 14 Part of the eye (6) 16 Lacking special distinction (7) 17 Deception (5) 19 Money (5) 20 Dawn (7) 21 Adjustment (10)

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DOWN 1 Untrained (13) 2 Frightening (5) 3 Small storeroom (6) 4 Avoiding (7) 5 Explanation (13) 6 Discharge (4) 7 What the Spanish need back (6) 12 Steady (6) 13 Erupt suddenly (5,2) 15 Japanese female entertainer (6) 17 Spore-producing plants (5) 18 Legal document (4)


JOIN RMT BRITAIN’S SPECIALIST TRANSPORT UNION Visit www.rmt.org.uk to join online or call the helpline on freephone

0800 376 3706 Problems at work? Call the helpline (Now with two operators) Keep your RMT membership details up-to-date In the light of draconian anti-trade union laws that have been used against the union, members should keep their personal data up to date. It also important to note that in order to keep members informed your union requires your mobile telephone number and email address. Members can do this via the RMT website, telephone the RMT helpline above, or writing to the membership department at RMT head office, Chalton Street, London NW1 1JD.

RMT News July/August 13  

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