Newsletter: December, 2009

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Newsletter: December, 2009

  1. 1. East London Rail Branch News Vol II, Issue 4 January 2010 0626 East London Rail Branch New s Email: eastlondonrail@rmt.org.uk Chair: John Clarke– 07795237318 Secretary: Ed Shine–07940340128 National Union of Rail, Maritime, & Transport Workers’ GENERAL SECRETARY: Bob Crow IN LOVING MEMORY“ORGANISE!” SISTER AND COMRADE CAROLYN SIDALL ON THE DEATH OF A COMRADE, WHAT IS ONE TO DO? ARE WE TO MOURN, TO BOW OUR HEADS, AND TO BE QUIET? Or are we to celebrate, sing, and praise the fact that we have had the opportunity to know and work with such a person, in advancement the claims of our Un- ion and the future of our class? We are mourning the passing– the far too early pass- ing– of our Comrade and Sister in our struggle, Caro- lyn SiddalTHE BRANCH SECRETARY SAID:‘She refused to change to suit the people who oppress, torture, and im-prison those who disagree with them, and make wage slaves of the re-mainder, and those who dehumanise us all. She had a spirit, foundrarely, but sometimes, that cannot be quenched, cannot be broken, andcannot be dismissed or ignored.She cared more for one person on the lowest wage than a thousand peo-ple on the highest wage... But if one person on the highest wage was introuble, she would dedicate herself to that cause as if that person was onthe lowest wage.She has played her part. It is not over nor will it be forgotten. The onething we believe she would want us to ask is- ‘will we play ours?’.The answer must surely be– YES. NEXT BRANCH MEETING: TUESDAY 17TH JANUARY 2009, 1700 HOURS: 1 The Railway Tavern Public House (Conservatory room), Angel Lane, Stratford, London E15… CONTACT THE SECRETARY FOR DETAILS
  2. 2. East London Rail Branch News Vol II, Issue 4 January 2010Following the recent High Court case involving the fitters, jointers, test room inspectors, day testers,RMT and EDF Energy Powerlink, this is the current shift testers and OLBI fitters. EDF referred to aposition relating to industrial action ballots and previous ballot conducted in 2008 in which the unionthe problems faced by had been able to identify a sub-category of staff, shift testers, and this ballot was confined to individu- als within that category. the trade The term "category" is not defined in the legislation union movement. and there has been little case law on the interpreta-The duties on trade unions to provide employers with tion of the term "category". However, Section 226Anotice of ballots and industrial action place onerous, goes on to provide that the lists and figures suppliedcostly and excessively complicated duties on by the union must be "... as accurate as is reasona-unions. They impose a significant burden on unions bly practicable in the light of the information in theto keep meticulous records of their members’ possession of the union at the time when itaddresses, jobs, and workplaces and often expose complies..."unions to applications for injunctions by employers to Section 226A then provides that information will beprevent industrial action taking place, even where a regarded as in the possession of the unionclear majority have voted in a ballot to support theaction. if it is held, for union pur-Currently, unions are required to provide informationthat would help an employer “make plans”. Under poses:Section 226A of the Trade Union and LabourRelations (Consolidation) Act 1992, if the union  In a document, when in electronic form orpossesses information relating to number, category otherwise;and workplace of the employees concerned in the  and In the possession or under the controlballot, this information must be provided to the of an officer of employee of the union.employer. The union must also provide an explana- The Code of Practice on Industrial Action Ballotstion as to how the lists and figures have been arrived gives further guidance on the appropriate categori-at. sation of affected employees. It provides that theThe application made by EDF to the High Court availability of data to the union is a legitimate factorconcerned a ballot for industrial action over this in determining the unions choice as to categorisa-year’s pay claim. Our members voted in fa- tion.vour of action by a Most importantly in the EDF case, the Judge focused on the requirement that the lists and figures pro- vided by the union be as accurate as reasonably margin of more practicable "in the light of the information in the than 5 to 1. However, the company unions possession". The unions main line of defenceclaimed that we had given insufficient information in was that we had relied upon our membershipour Notice of Ballot. In that Notice, the union said database in categorising the affected members asthat the members who were to be entitled to vote in "Engineer/Technicians", and that no other informa-the ballot were "all those members of this union tion was in our possession for the purposes of theemployed by the company in the category of statutory notification requirements.Engineer/Technician". The members were spread The Judge concluded that the words "in the light of”between three workplaces. EDF claimed that it didnot recognise the categorisation of "Employee/ did not mean that the unions obligation wasTechnician". restricted to the provision of information which was in our possession. In other words, in a case such asThe company described two principal groups of staff: this where the balloting constituency was relativelyCraft staff and professional staff. Within craft staff small, the Judge concluded that the union was underthere were a number of identified trades including NEXT BRANCH MEETING: TUESDAY 17TH JANUARY 2009, 1700 HOURS: 2 The Railway Tavern Public House (Conservatory room), Angel Lane, Stratford, London E15… CONTACT THE SECRETARY FOR DETAILS
  3. 3. East London Rail Branch News Vol II, Issue 4 January 2010an obligation to make further enquiries as to the the union‟s only option would be to pursue antrades of the members concerned. He was not per- application to the European Court of Human Rightssuaded by the argument made on the unions be- in Strasbourg, if we so wish.half that it was obvious to EDF Power link that the Our solicitors are of the view that, bearing in mindballoting constituency was actually all members em- recent positive decisions from the Strasbourg Court,ployed at the three sites. However, since the High there are prospects of success if the matter can beCourt injunction the union has applied once considered by the Court under Article 11 of Themore for permission to appeal to the Court of Ap- European Convention. There are already decisions ofpeal but this was refused. In response to this, and in the International Labour Organisation‟s (ILO)order to exhaust all domestic avenues, we have Committee of Experts which condemn the pre-ballotappealed against this decision and asked for it to be notification procedure in the United Kingdom. Thereviewed at an oral hearing. This is likely to be heard essence of the criticism is that the identification ofby the Court at the end of January. If the application the balloting constituency is a matter of internalis declined again, there is no further avenue to union democracy and should not provide an oppor-progress the issue within the UK judicial system. tunity for challenge to the validity of the ballot byHowever, if our appeal is heard by the Court of an employer. Where there is an existing ILOAppeal and is then unsuccessful at that level, it Committee of Experts decision criticizing a particularwould be necessary to proceed with an application requirement of national law, the Court is more likelyfor permission to appeal to the Supreme Court, and to find an unjustified infringement on Article 11.then argue that appeal if such permission is granted. That is the case here.If, however, permission is refused at any stage, thenEARLY DAY MOTION (80)- TABLED BY LINDARIORDAN, MP, IN SUPPORT:‘That this House notes the decision of Network Rail to an-nounce the loss of thousands of frontline jobs by Spring A national Network Rail Rep‟s meeting was held at2010; believes that this will mean that in a matter of months Union Headquarters, Unity House, on the 7th Janu-there will be a drop of up to 20% in the number of rail work- ary 2010, and considered, amongst other things,ers carrying out essential inspection and maintenance work; the ripping up of Terms & Conditions (Rosters andfurther believes that these deep and rapid cuts raise genuine adherence to PTR&R established agreements), pay,and urgent concerns as to whether Network Rail will be able 1500 job cuts, and new T3 Possession Rules.to ensure the safe and efficient running of the railway, in- It was decided to launch one national campaign tocluding the adequate inspection and repair of track, signals, counter this all-out attack by Network Rail on ouroverhead lines and other infrastructure; is deeply concernedthat Network Rail is failing to consult the Trades Unions on members. The Council of Executives will be consid-the safety implications of the proposals; further notes that ering the views stated from the shop-floor and co-the cuts are in part due to the fact that the economic rail ordinate action shortly.regulator , the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR), has asked LOBBY PARLIAMENT– NETWORKNetwork Rail to make efficiency savings of up to 21% overthe next five years; is further concerned that because the RAIL: PUT SAFETY FIRST!ORR is both the safety and economic regulator it will be dif- Wednesday January 27th 2010ficult for an objective view to be taken as to whether the 12:30- ASSEMBLE WESTMINSTER TUBEsafety of passengers and workers will be put at risk; believes 14:15- RALLY (COMMITTEE ROOM 14,the cuts cannot be justified; and calls on the Government to HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT)use its power as primary funder of Network Rail to intervene 15:30– LOBBY YOUR M.P.to ensure that Network Rail directors put safety first’ JOIN THE RALLY!!! NEXT BRANCH MEETING: TUESDAY 17TH JANUARY 2009, 1700 HOURS: NEXT BRANCH MEETING: TUESDAY 20TH OCTOBER 2009, 1700 HOURS: 3 The Railway Tavern Public House (Conservatory room), Angel Lane, The Railway Tavern Public House (Conservatory room), Angel Lane, Stratford, London E15… CONTACT THE SECRETARY FOR DETAILS Stratford, London E15… CONTACT THE SECRETARY FOR DETAILS
  4. 4. East London Rail Branch News Vol II, Issue 4 January 2010 THOUGHT FOR THE MOMENTYou will not be able to stay home, brother. Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, and HootervilleYou will not be able to plug in, turn on and cop out. Junction will no longer be so damned relevant, andYou will not be able to lose yourself on skag and skip, women will not care if Dick finally gets down withSkip out for beer during commercials, Jane on Search for Tomorrow because Black peopleBecause the revolution will not be televised. will be in the street looking for a brighter day. The revolution will not be televised.The revolution will not be televised.The revolution will not be brought to you by Xerox There will be no highlights on the eleven o‟clockIn 4 parts without commercial interruptions. news and Jackie Onassis blowing her nose.The revolution will not show you pictures of Nixon The theme song will not be written by Jim Webb,blowing a bugle and leading a charge by John Francis Scott Key, nor sung by Glen Campbell, TomMitchell, General Abrams and Spiro Agnew to eat Jones, Johnny Cash, Englebert Humperdink, or the Rarehog maws confiscated from a Harlem sanctuary. Earth.The revolution will not be televised. The revolution will not be televised.The revolution will not be brought to you by the The revolution will not be right back after a messageSchaefer Award Theatre and will not star Natalie bbout a white tornado, white lightning, or white peo-Woods and Steve McQueen or Bullwinkle and Julia. ple.The revolution will not give your mouth sex appeal. You will not have to worry about a dove in yourThe revolution will not get rid of the nubs. bedroom, a tiger in your tank, or the giant in your toi-The revolution will not make you look five pounds let bowl.thinner, because the revolution will not be televised, The revolution will not go better with Coke.Brother. The revolution will not fight the germs that may cause bad breath.There will be no pictures of you and Willie May The revolution will put you in the driver‟s seat.pushing that shopping cart down the block on the deadrun, The revolution will not be televised, will not be tele-or trying to slide that color television into a stolen ambu- vised,lance. will not be televised, will not be televised.NBC will not be able predict the winner at 8:32 The revolution will be no re-run brothers;or report from 29 districts. The revolution will be live.The revolution will not be televised.There will be no pictures of pigs shooting downbrothers in the instant replay.There will be no pictures of pigs shooting downbrothers in the instant replay.There will be no pictures of Whitney Young beingrun out of Harlem on a rail with a brand new process.There will be no slow motion or still life of RoyWilkens strolling through Watts in a Red, Black and GILL SCOTT HERON, MUSICIAN AND SPOKESMAN FOR A GENERATIONGreen liberation jumpsuit that he had been savingFor just the proper occasion. NEXT BRANCH MEETING: TUESDAY 17TH JANUARY 2009, 1700 HOURS: The Railway Tavern Public House (Conservatory room), Angel Lane, 4 Stratford, London E15… CONTACT THE SECRETARY FOR DETAILS
  5. 5. East London Rail Branch News Vol II, Issue 4 January 2010 CARRY ON REORGANISING!!! IT HAS BEEN SUGGESTED TO THE BRANCH that the true reasons for the recent NXEA Revenue Protection re-RMT warns of serious risks to safety organisation (the second in eight months!) is the result of aover plans to cut tube line inspec- cynical Public Relations job. This is because, the Depart-tions ment having failed to win an Industry-recognised „Investors In People‟ Award last year on account that staff complained that managers were „invisible‟ and thin on the ground, theTUBE UNION RMT today warned of serious risks to Department was re-organised last March to create a wholepublic safety as it emerged that track safety patrols new tier of 6 Duty Managers and twice that number of Shifton the Jubilee Line Extension are to be cut from twice Leaders (Supervisors). This immediately created a far moreweekly to just weekly in a move which may be ex- „visible‟ management, and lo-and-behold! within the yeartended across the Piccadilly, Northern and Jubilee the Department had won this IIP Award on the next at-Lines. tempt. Is it, we have been asked, purely coincidence that within the week of the Award being granted, the latest re-The halving of the frequency of safety inspections on organisation was announced that then removed the Shiftthe line is in contravention of current safety standards Leaders that were so crucial to winning the IIP Award, andlaid out for the whole of London Underground and as the only winners, oddly enough... Were the Managers!!!a result Tube Lines, which is responsible for the sec- LESSONS TO BEtion of track, has applied for a formal concession torelease them from current agreed safety procedures.RMT are pointing to the move to halve safety inspec-tions as clear evidence that claims by Mayor Boris LEARNED...?Johnson that the £5 billion black hole facing TfL will Yet again many members, particularly within thenot result in front line cuts are nonsense. most affected Grade, that of Shift Leader, are greatly disappointed and feel let down by the fact that noBob Crow, RMT General Secretary, said: sooner have they settled in and established them- selves, that the job they worked hard and long for“We have warned all along that the multi-billion has suddenly been withdrawn like a rug beneath theirpound black hole facing TfL, and the financial chaos feet. So: perhaps it should be remembered in futureat Tube Lines, would result in real service cuts and that however hard you work, however much you givewould impact on safety and reliability. We now have them for nothing, however much you let them take,concrete evidence that our fears were well founded. they will ALWAYS keep coming back for a little bit“The shift of policy from twice weekly to weekly track more. Because they see they can!safety inspections is one that RMT will fight. There is a THEY WILL NOT BE GRATEFUL FOR IT NOR TREATvery real danger that if Tube Lines are able to rip up YOU WELL THROUGH GRATITUDE.existing safety agreements and standards on the Jubi- If we do not fight for our rights then they are NEVERlee Line that the rest of their tracks will follow with guaranteed; give them what they want for nothingdire consequences for jobs and passenger safety.” and it will never be enough!!! NEXT BRANCH MEETING: TUESDAY 17TH JANUARY 2009, 1700 HOURS: 5 The Railway Tavern Public House (Conservatory room), Angel Lane, Stratford, London E15… CONTACT THE SECRETARY FOR DETAILS
  6. 6. East London Rail Branch News Vol II, Issue 4 January 2010 ELECTED: ALEX GORDON THIS BRANCH’S NOMINATED CANDIDATE WILL BE THE NEXTRMT PRESIDENTTRAIN DRIVER Alex Gordon. Of Bristol rail branch, and Presidential nominee of East London Rail Branch, hasbeen elected to serve as the President of RMT, Britain‟s biggest specialist transport union, for the comingthree years.In the postal ballot that closed today Bristol-based Alex, who will take up office in January, beat four othercandidates and replaces John Leach, a London Underground worker whose term of office ends at the closeof the year.RMT‟s President is the most senior lay official in the union, whose responsibility is to uphold the union‟s rule-book and to preside over meetings of the union‟s executive bodies, including the sovereign annual generalmeeting.“Alex Gordon is a highly respected RMT activist who has served his union at all levels, from the all-importantlocal rep to the union‟s executive, and I know he will make an excellent President,” RMT general secretaryBob Crow said today. NEXT BRANCH MEETING: TUESDAY 17TH JANUARY 2009, 1700 HOURS: 6 The Railway Tavern Public House (Conservatory room), Angel Lane, Stratford, London E15… CONTACT THE SECRETARY FOR DETAILS
  7. 7. East London Rail Branch News Vol II, Issue 4 January 2010 Our Council of Executives’ member, Bro. Michael Lynch’s Report to the London & Anglia regional Council Executive Com- mittee on the 2nd November 2009Recruitment Officers Report: Comrades, brothers and sisters:Derrick Marr was out on Recruitment week, The following are “urgent” matters for thefour days out of the five. information of the Executive Committee:Figures will be ready for the December Full General GradesRegional Council Meeting. 16 new mem-bers in Kings Cross Branch Area. Successful  Monday 28th December 2009 – The GGC has had a report that Southern areRecruitment for Kings Cross and St Pancras. not going to honour the replacement public holiday in terms of premium paymentLOROL- 29 members left of which 15 were etc as the actual Boxing day falls on a Saturday. If any other companies are in this position reports will need to be sent up to the General Grades Committee (GGC)Guards. ASAP if any action is to be taken.All BRANCHES to select between now andMarch for the Recruitment Plan (one day  Network Rail Maintenance Pay – the long running 2009 pay settlement wasper Branch). All Branch Recruitment plans voted on by members who massively voted in favour of the revised proposals on a scale of 10 to 1.to be emailed to the Regional Council Sec-retary and Recruitment Officer.  Network Rail Reorganisation – Members are being updated via text, emailRegional Organizers Report: and on the website on all of the developments. Our Coordinators and Senior AGSEWS Dagenham Dock, Purfleet , and Ripple are fully involved in the consultations and negotiations and regular reports areRoad, the A‟ Grades and B‟ Grades all to be given to the GGC who in turn are meeting regularly with the Reps. My view is that RMT has to crystallise the many and complicated issues into a straightforwarddowngraded to B‟ Grades policy brief that our members can rally around and defend if we need to go to aSecretary’s Correspondence: ballot.AGM for 2010 is being held at Aberdeenand 2011 at Fort William, now seeking a  London Midland Pay – A 2-year deal has been proposed, the offer for 2009 is 1% from April and 1% from November with a £350 minimum. For 2010, the offervenue for 2012. This is to be discussed at is 1.5% or RPI staged again as 1% in April with 0.5% in November, again with £350the Full Regional Council Meeting in De- minimum. However the Company Councillors have rejected the offer and re-cember. quested a ballot for strike action. The matrix has been prepared and this goes outRetired Members Section Report: shortly.New young Retired Members not attend-  Carlisle Cleaners – Eurostar Contract – we have a new set of proposals thating, delegates not being nominated. Ap- may resolve the dispute. The rate will move to £7.40 in December and 13peal to London Midland Retired Members months later to £7.68 which is a big step towards the London Living Wage. ThisBranch Social will take place on Wednesday will go to the GGC this week and then for consultation to members.16th December 2009. Posters emailed to all Council of ExecutivesLondon & Anglia Regional Council mem- High Court Judgement - we recently had another negative judgement in the Highbers. Court in relation to ballots which may throw into question our balloting practicesResolution: and procedures. We await the full judgement this week and the CoE will thanGeneral Secretary makes available of all consider next steps.members receiving Pension Benefit.Reports from Officers and Delegates: This is not an urgent matter but one for the future. Two Regional CouncilsS Smart; update on Network Rail Phase 2bc (Midlands and London Transport) have sent resolutions up asking for a seconddiscussions. Phase 2bc meetings will con- Regional Organiser due to workload. These are likely to be declined by the CoEtinue up to mid January 2010 on the basis that we can’t review one region in isolation and that resources andResolution: D Jabbar; to bring MOM‟s in workload have to be reviewed on a national basis. But it may pay this R.C. to keepthe Signalers Conference as they cover an eye on this issue given our membership and geographical layout. I believe that we too would have a reasonable case and I believe we should look at putting to-Signalman. gether a brief on this issue to influence the coming debate. NEXT BRANCH MEETING: TUESDAY 17TH JANUARY 2009, 1700 HOURS: The Railway Tavern Public House (Conservatory room), Angel Lane, 7 Stratford, London E15… CONTACT THE SECRETARY FOR DETAILS
  8. 8. East London Rail Branch News Vol II, Issue 4 January 2010 PHONE: 0207 7529 8835 8

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