Newsletter: Early March, 2010


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Newsletter: Early March, 2010

  1. 1. East London Rail Branch News Vol II, Issue 6 Early March 2010 0626 East London Rail News Branch New s Email: Chair: John Clarke– 07795237318 Secretary: Ed Shine–07940340128 National Union of Rail, Maritime, & Transport Workers’ GENERAL SECRETARY: Bob Crow THERE’S A JOB OF WORK TO BE DONE... JOINWe have a difficult situation at ditions and so also potentiallyStratford, comrades– that of NO dangerous for the same obvi-RMT Representative, poor Repre- ous reasons. This is not exactlysentation from the Liverpool Street going to stop people gettingLDC, and no-one willing to take on colds, or ‘flu, or prevent MfAthe responsibility of taking this on. hearings!AMONGST THE ISSUES WE ⇒ Extra cleaning duties haveHEAR ABOUT ARE: been ‘doled out’ to platform⇒ An Agency employee seriously staff without an attempt even assaulted in the temporary plat- being made to go through the form office when a drunk necessary discussions with Lo- through a leaflet-holder him cal Reps; and split his lip; whilst he is not ⇒ Agency staff doing safety criti- (yet!) an RMT member, this cal (train despatch) duties, could happen to any of the roles which should be per- staff– and late at night, and formed by OUR members... weekends– probably WILL DO.⇒ Mem ber s having to do ‘Customer Service’ duties dur- ing the peak period on platform 10 without any refuge against either violent conduct or the winter elements, and is forced into the passenger shelter (which of course is generally FULL for the same reasons!) or at the top of the stairs which is RIGHT AWAY ! ALSO usually full in those con- NEXT BRANCH MEETING: TUESDAY 16th MARCH 2010, 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 6 Early March 2010 THOUGHT FOR THE MOMENT ‘All over the place, from the Sinks: popular culture to the propa- Generators: Blocked sinks in the mess room on ganda system, there is constant A temporary generator has been platform 18 at Liverpool Street. Al- pressure to make people feel situated on Platform 10 roadway though the responsibility of Network that they are helpless, that the at Liverpool Street. The original Rail, it has taken four weeks to get only role they can have is to one must apparently be up- a plumber. It was then closed for a ratify decisions and to con- graded due to not being able to whole day and in the words of Bro. sume.’ cope with the new Sushi bar con- Nubley, ‘stank the whole place out’, cession. Bro. Nubley questions with reference to something smelly ‘Any dictator would admire the whether a Risk Assessment has in Bradford in the old days. This is uniformity and obedience of been done, as it releases fumes. also a H&S risk. The cleaner, one the U.S. media.’ This could be dangerous to staff of our members, who had to ‘mop- and passengers. These maybe in up’ after the plumber had gone ‘Everybodys worried about place for the next three weeks. should claim extra-duty payment as stopping terrorism. Well, the work involved went beyond the theres a really easy way: stop norm, and she has been treated participating in it‘ abominably. Initial Cleaners: ‘I have often thought that if a It has been attempted to move rational Fascist dictatorship them due to a lack of space in were to exist, then it would the locker room on platform 18 choose the American system.’ Communications Office: but Network Rail are not provid- NXEA have attempted to move ing them with adequate facilities, Comms to the Control Room. Bro. ‘If the Nuremberg laws were for example, they have provided Nubley attempted to explain the applied, then every post-war another locker room... with no somewhat convoluted story, viz- American president would lockers. This demonstrates sheer ‘So Control are not talking to Liver- have been hanged’ incompetence or a complete dis- pool Street, they can hear us but regard for staff well-being. we cannot hear them, and enough Noam phone calls go unanswered, they are working at Liverpool Street (platform 18) during the day but LIVERPOOL STREET upstairs weekends and nights’.(PLATFORMS)- HEALTH & The Branch thanked Bro. Nubley for his clear if slightly bizarre SAFETY REPRESENTA- analysis of this example of lack of TIVE: RAE communication. CAMPBELL Chomsky (1928- ) Proposed: D. Nubley Seconded: E. Shine Libertarian, IWW trade unionist, Passed Unanimously. anti-Imperialist, philosopher,Rae Campbell (Platforms, Liverpool Street) nominated: Secretary to ac- spokesman and defender of thetion paperwork ASAP, and confirm with the South East Regional Office oppressed, and anti-wage slave...that this constituency is available following the Branch’s nomination ofSteve Campion last year and his subsequent displacement. NEXT BRANCH MEETING: TUESDAY 16th MARCH 2010, 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 6 Early March 2010 Interview Feedback: Applicants for internal vacancies are not receiving feedback on their failure in interviews; this denies them their prospects for improvement and development within the Company. GOB Line DFC Representation: It is believed by members on the Gospel Oak- Barking line that they should have their own Functional level Representative as with forty-plus members this is a sizeable (Route rather than Grade-based) constituency in its’ own right. It is believed that the Retail DFC already have enough work to do with the rest of LOROL retail staff and that lack of direct representation at this level could mean the views of GOB line staff are not receiving the attention they deserve. A somewhat lively discussion and healthy debate then ensued, with a pro- Annual Leave: posed Resolution, below.Although it was beneficial to our ‘LOROL- Creation of Gospel Oak- Barking Functional Constituency’members to be granted six free Proposed: L. SimpsonAnnual Leave days due to roster- Seconded: Noneing problems and an extra 11 days Resolution fell. Objection of Bro. Randell, on the grounds of it breaching aon top, it is ridiculous that having previous agreement with LOROL, minuted.given all this extra leave it then Secretary to investigate the position of creation of this Constituency withhas to be taken by 31st March the LOROL Regional Organiser Bro. Steve Hedley.2010.On top of this Leave applicationsare being turned down due to alack of staff. For example, be-tween Canonbury and Hackney Wick only three Leave applications have been granted.The Company have effectively offered something that that they have no intention of honouring.In the words of the Branch Secretary, ‘How easy it is to offer something that will never need to be given...’In the words of a LOROL member ‘They’re taking the piss’ Rostering:There was meant to be a review of Ros- Taxis:ters within three months of its implemen- Under Restructuring, staff are entitled to provision of transport on cer-tation, and this has now been over a tain shifts (generally starting between 05:35- 06:35), and new en-year. This to be discussed with Joe Hen- trants should be entitled to this as well as the Agreement does notdry before the next Branch meeting. exclude them. But this is not being offered and of course new en- trants are not aware of what is available to them. Reps to publicise this to new entrants and help them enforce their rights. Removal of Posts:Between Homerton and Camden Road, ona Tuesday there is only one member of CUTS COST LIVES!- say NOstaff on Spare for a ten-hour shift. The to Network Rail jobs cull:company are attempting to get rid of RMT is fighting Network Railspare shifts at a payment of £750; for this plans to slash 1,500 safety-payment they want an ‘Area Relief’ which critical jobs. FIGHT ANDwill be multi-functional. Note that since STRIKE FOR SAFETY– DE-Restructuring, all new ‘Customer Hosts’ FEND JOBS AND THE RAIL-are multi-functional. WAYS NOW! NEXT BRANCH MEETING: TUESDAY 16th MARCH 2010, 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 6 Early March 2010 THERE IS A TENDENCY FOR MANAGERS TO CLAIM THAT ‘THE COMPANY PAYS YOUR WAGES’, BUT AS WE WILL SHOW HERE, IT IS NOT THAT SIMPLE. IN FACT, WAGES AND WORK ARE AN ECONOMIC CONTRACT BETWEEN YOU AND YOUR Our starting point is that wages is the sum of money we get when we sell our ability to work (our labour power), to the boss. This labour power is a commodity like any other. Yet it is a different one to physical commodities. It comes attached to human beings who find little if any satisfaction in their work and whose real life begins outside work - at home or in lei- sure activities. Another important difference is that we do This runs counter to conventional wisdom. The defenders of this system not sell ourselves once and for all (like claim that the ‘free market’ always brings discrepancies between supply slaves). We sell the boss part of our time - and demand; If commodities are in short supply, prices rise and other which is why the wage ‘bargain’ can some- companies rush in to meet demand (and make a profit). Eventually prices times look like a contract between freely fall. If the market becomes glutted and prices then fall below what the consenting adults. commodities cost to produce, companies move into sectors where they can make a profit and the whole cycle begins again. However, this freedom conceals a different kind of slavery. We have no choice but to sell our labour power, unless we are pre- Wages, too, have to obey the market: any attempt to keep wages pared to rot on the dole - and often we artificially high will only lead to the costs of production being too high and dont even have that choice. workers pricing themselves out of a job. The wages we receive do not begin to repre- These ups and downs show the fundamentally anarchic nature of the sys- sent the full value of what we produce for tem, not its calmness, and have produced in the last 150 years mass un- the employer. What determines the value of employment, famine, wars and ecological disaster. every commodity is the amount of socially This current economic system drives wages down to a minimum. This is necessary labour required to produce it. The sometimes disputed by the fact that a worker today, with a mortgage, car value of wages is calculated in exactly the and holiday in Spain, is not living on the poverty wages of the nineteenth same way. It equals the amount of labour century. We do not deny that wages can rise: when capital grows so do time needed to produce what it takes to wages. But the wealth of capital grows incomparably greater than keep us and our children alive. But we work the wealth of workers. So the tendency to keep wages to a minimum several more hours a day. The value of what is relative to what is produced. we produce in these extra hours is appropri- ated by the boss as his ‘property’- or profit. And today the costs of reproduction (manufacturing and creation, for ex- ample) are much higher than they were in the past- Workers need to travel to work, to stay healthy, to remain literate etc.Furthermore, So the apparently equal bargainof wages being exchanged for a given quantityof work turns out to be a totally unequal bar- The more workers sell their labour power, the more the power of capitalgain: wages are the means whereby the boss grows at the expense of the workers, even if wages increase. Comparedmakes workers work for nothing for most of the with the resources that can send human beings into space or multibillion-time. aires whose wealth outstrips that of half the world, wages today are as much a minimum as they ever were.This is why employer and worker do notshare a common interest. The inevitableconflict between the two is not personal, WHO PAYS YOURbut historical and economic. SO YOU DO! NEXT BRANCH MEETING: TUESDAY 16th MARCH 2010, 1700 HOURS: The Railway Tavern Public House (Conservatory room), Angel Lane, 4 Stratford, London E15… CONTACT THE SECRETARY FOR DETAILS
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  6. 6. East London Rail Branch News Vol II, Issue 6 Early March 2010 NATIONAL EXPRESS EAST ANGLIA- MISUSE OF MFA PROCEDUREThe Branch wishes to echo the concerns of our Comrades in Leeds City, Workington, and other Branches regarding mis-use of ‘Managing for Attendance’.National Express East Anglia refused by their actions to listen to or accept the concerns of this Union regarding N151(‘Swine Flu’). They continue to place members on various Stages of the MfA Procedure notwithstanding that:⇒ The World Health Organisation declared a Pandemic last year;⇒ The Department of Health supported this analysis;⇒ That rail industry is a Category Two responder under the Civil Contingencies Act, and TOC’s are required to co-operate with Government bodies (e.g., the Department of Health/ Health & Safety Executive);⇒ And that NXEA’s own ‘Pandemic Flu Planning Framework’ (02-10-08) clearly states that ‘taking all reasonable stepsto ensure that employees who are ill or think they are ill during a pandemic are positively encouraged not to come into work’.They even admit that ‘personnel policies may need to be reviewed to achieve this aim’.The branch also notes that:⇒ Members have been placed on MfA for being off sick after being assaulted and suffering workplace industrial injurieswhen their own ‘MfA Guide for Managers’ states: ‘ensure absence receives the appropriate mixture of concern and consid-eration for the employee’s welfare’.⇒ Have been placed on over 92-weeks monitoring when their own policy states ‘the maximum length of time an em-ployee’s attendance can be subject to review is 52 weeks’The MfA procedure states quite clearly that each case must be judged on its merits and that the interviewing manager mayuse discretion; whereas the branch hears that Human Resources and management view it as automatic.The Branch condemns the Company’s mis-use of this procedure.We believe that it constitutes aggression, bullying, and a complete lack of care by Management towards members of staffwho need support not threats.We also believe that management are effectively blackmailing staff into coming into work when sick to detriment of thesafety of staff and passengers.The Branch requests that the GGC request the General Secretary to inform the company of our disgust at their Attendanceprocedure and that failure to rectify use of this policy will lead to a situation of dispute, as we must protect, and the Companymust be shown we protect, our members from bullying and victimization. NATIONAL EXPRESS EAST ANGLIA- REVENUE PROTECTION- LONE WORKINGThe Branch hears with dismay that a number of Revenue Protection Inspectors are working on trains alone.The Branch believes that this is in contravention of an agreed Risk Assessment on Double Manning/ Lone Working, under-taken and agreed between the Company and this Union.Inspectors working alone, whether through choice or ignorance of the fact that they should not, jeopardizes the safety of:• Themselves;• Other members of staff;• Members of the public;The Company’s Revenue, equipment, infrastructure.The Branch also notes that single Revenue Inspectors are still classed as working alone even when with the so-called‘Making Travel Safer’ security enforcement team, because the enforcement team are: NEXT BRANCH MEETING: TUESDAY 16th MARCH 2010, 1700 HOURS: 5 The Railway Tavern Public House (Conservatory room), Angel Lane, Stratford, London E15… CONTACT THE SECRETARY FOR DETAILS
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  8. 8. East London Rail Branch News Vol II, Issue 6 Early March 2010(Continued from previous page) Travel Safer’ security enforcement team, because the enforcement team are:• Unable to carry out the same duties as Revenue Inspectors;And do not have the same access to personal security facilities (e.g., ‘amber’ and ‘red alert’ alarm systems.The same objections apply to Revenue Inspectors working alone at station ticket gates as staff in other Grades have theirown duties to perform, are not trained in the same rules and procedures as Inspectors, and ultimately, should not be usedas ‘security’ for another Department.Reps have been fobbed off by managers in a patronizing and self-satisfied way without addressing the very fundamentalconcerns these Reps have raised.The Branch, as this Union does, believes that safety is paramount above all else, so we request that the GGC instructs theGeneral Secretary to write to the Company demanding that the relevant Risk Assessments are publicized, that we believeRevenue Inspectors booked to work alone have the right and the duty to refuse to work on the grounds of Health andSafety, and that managers at all levels are reminded of their obligations concerning agreements and procedures negotiatedwith this and other Unions.Furthermore, that the General Secretary writes personally to all Revenue Inspectors reminding them of the points madeabove and of their right of refusal to work alone if they feel they are being endangered. The R.M.T’s online TV channel where you can get up-to-the-minute informa- tion from your union - and vice versa. This is a fully functioning email ac- count – with one ‘’ email address. You can access the service using your web browser, or configure mails to be sent and received on your phone. Includes 1 gigabyte of storage. The union’s social networking web- site gives RMT members a place to meet online to discuss workplace and other issues in a secure environment. The Facebook’ of the Union! MEMBERS’ RIGHT TO CHANGE BRANCHESDue to difficulties in the present system of members choosing to change Branch (whereby new members havethe right to choose their Branch, even though they may not be aware of thee choice available, but one enteredinto a Branch, have no right to change by their choice only by the agreement of the two Branch Secretaries),the Secretary is to investigate whether this is a Constitutional procedure under Rule or a Head Office policy,with a view to altering this current position. As it stands, once you are in a Branch, even if you want to join an-other, it is not up to you: and your choice can be blocked by the Secretary of a Branch you do not want to be-long too! NEXT BRANCH MEETING: TUESDAY 16th MARCH 2010, 1700 HOURS: 6 The Railway Tavern Public House (Conservatory room), Angel Lane, Stratford, London E15… CONTACT THE SECRETARY FOR DETAILS
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  10. 10. East London Rail Branch News Vol II, Issue 6 Early March 2010 Yet again, continuing bizarre behaviour from certain rogue elements of Revenue protec- tion management, this time on the ‘west side’ area. The issues concerning our members now are thus; ‘VIRTUAL MINDER’: This a device, activated via an inspectors’ mobile phone, for reasons of immediate dan- ger to self, security, and others. Members are now apparently being told, after they have reported an assault, and are being de- briefed by a functionary, that failure to acti- vate it, whilst you or your colleague is being assaulted is potentially a disciplinary offence. WHAT?!?!?! It must be remembered that this was intro- duced in response to the Paul Yarwood case, a few years ago, and part of the Joint Working Party on Staff Safety. It has nothing to do with disciplinaries, and everything to do with STAFF SAFETY, if this concept is still understood in management. We attach here a copy of the original Agree- ment on the usage and implementation of this device by the then Revenue Protection Company Council and still-current Head of Revenue Protection . ‘VIRTUAL MINDER’ AGREEMENT SEE POINT FIVE– NOT TO BE USED IN DISCIPLINARIES! This is to be pointed out to all managers/ func- tionaries. IF YOU ARE ASKED TO SIGN THIS LETTER YOU CAN REFUSE AS YOU ARE OBEYING A DIRECT INSTRUCTION– NOT FROM THAT MANAGER– BUT FROM A MORE SENIOR MANAGER– THE HEAD OF DEPARTMENT, MR. A. PERRY, WHO SIGNED THIS AGREEMENT WHICH HAS NEVER BEEN RE- NEGOTIATED. RPI’S, PLEASE TAKE TICKET MACHINES OFF RAILWAY LONE WORKING– PROPERTY! ENDANGER YOURSELVES ! LOSE US MONEY! DOUBLE MANNINGFurther curious activities on the West Side of Revenue Protection, where it isrumoured that Inspectors are being told to take ticket machines with them when A Risk Assessment was carried outattending Court (which can take anything from an hour to a whole day) for the pur- under the previous RPI Companyposes of working the train there and back. Courts can be some distance from sta- Council and H&S Reps, involving Man-tions, and for staff to take equipment that far endangers the security of that equip- agement at Area Level, where Doublement, potentially themselves by making themselves look like a target when not Manning at all times for on-train work-insured, and a clear breach of Cash-Handling Regulations (which the Company ing was agreed. This principle must behas a supposed duty to uphold). For the sake of picking up maybe twenty pounds upheld and defended at all times.on a train, the Company are potentially endangering their staff, equipment, and Please report all breaches of this torevenue. Local Rep’s are confronting this, and the Branch will be updated on this your Local Reps or this Newsletter.issue. NEXT BRANCH MEETING: TUESDAY 16th MARCH 2010, 1700 HOURS: The Railway Tavern Public House (Conservatory room), Angel Lane, 7 Stratford, London E15… CONTACT THE SECRETARY FOR DETAILS
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  12. 12. East London Rail Branch News Vol II, Issue 6 Early March 2010 PHONE: 0207 7529 8835 NEXT BRANCH MEETING: TUESDAY 16th FEBRUARY 2010, 1700 HOURS: The Railway Tavern Public House (Conservatory room), Angel Lane, Stratford, London E15… CONTACT THE SECRETARY FOR DETAILS. 8