ISSUE 1   BRANCH NEWS                                                           FEBRUARY                                  ...
0626 EAST LONDON RAIL– BRANCH NEWS                                                                  FEBRUARY 2008 CORRESPO...
0626 EAST LONDON RAIL– BRANCH NEWS                                                              FEBRUARY 2008Continuing wi...
0626 EAST LONDON RAIL– BRANCH NEWS                                                      FEBRUARY 2008                     ...
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Newsletter: February, 2008


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Newsletter: February, 2008

  1. 1. ISSUE 1 BRANCH NEWS FEBRUARY 2008NATIONAL UNION OF RAIL, MARITIME, & TRANSPORT WORKERS’ GENERAL SECRETARY: BOB CROW BRANCH MEETING FEBRUARY 2008 Welcome to the first edition of East London Rail Branch News, a monthly newsletter designed to keep all those who were unable to attend their RMT Branch meeting in touch with what went on. Many thanks and fraternal greetings to all those who did attend the last meeting on Thursday 21st February 2008. They were from LOROL (London Overground Rail Opera- tions Ltd, the ex-’Silverlink’ franchise) Arnold Randall (RPI, Gospel Oak), Pauline Wilson (Station Assistant, Leytonstone High Road), Terry Pope (Station Assistant, Leyton Midland Road), and the Branch’s Assistant Chairman, John Clarke (Conductor, Stratford Depot); from LER, the secretary, Ed Shine (Revenue Protection Assistant, Liverpool Street), and from Network Rail, Glenn Wallis (Signaller, South Totten- ham box). Bro. Eric Cato represented our retired members, and our guests were Pauline Akrill, Industrial Relations Offi- cer at RMT Head Office, and our Council of ExecutivesEDITORIAL member Derrick Marr. Apologies were received from Bros.THIS WAS ANOTHER SUCCESSFUL Branch meeting, reasona- Ron Smythe (Revenue Protection Assistant, Liverpoolbly well attended, especially by our comrades in LOROL, who Street) and our Chairman, Dave Nubley, and Mushi Aligave the Branch a lot to discuss, including issues over uni- (both Platform Staff at Liverpool Street).forms, local messing facilities, and management negotiation–all of which should be familiar to London Eastern Railway The minutes of the last meeting were agreed as a true re-(’one’) staff. However, it was difficult to look at Liverpool cord. Arising from the minutes, it was noted that Bro. K.Street/ Stratford issues in the depth and breadth which they Patel (Platform Staff at Liverpool Street) who had previ-deserved as the Secretary was the sole member from LER! ously shown interest in an RMT-sponsored trip to Cuba hasYet there are many issues facing LER staff which need to be since left employment with ’one’; Bro. Daniel Rouse (RPAresolved, and the Branch is the perfect platform to raise Liverpool Street) had successfully entered an IGP1 againstthem AND resolve them. Anyone raising an issue or a prob- his transfer to Shenfield depot; Bro. Cato was rejected as alem will be in friendly and supportive company, and the ad- delegate to the Black & Ethnic Minority Conference due tovice given will be the product of tears of experience of differ- his retired status; and Bro Wallis had been accepted as theent companies, different managements, and different ways Branch’s delegate to the Annual General Meeting 2008.of dealing with things.THIS IS YOUR CHANCE TO SPEAK YOUR MIND ABOUT NEXT BRANCH MEETING:YOUR WORK– WHERE YOU SPEND HALF YOUR WAK-ING LIVES!- IN FRIENDLY AND COMFORTABLE SUR- THE RAILWAY TAVERN, STRATFORDROUNDINGS. BEING IN THE UNION IS ONLY HALF OF THURSDAY 20TH MARCH 2008:IT– KEEPING THE UNION INFORMED IS THE OTHERHALF! YOUR REPS’ CAN ONLY DEAL WITH WHAT THEY 18.30 HOURSKNOW ABOUT. SO COME AND TELL THEM!
  2. 2. 0626 EAST LONDON RAIL– BRANCH NEWS FEBRUARY 2008 CORRESPONDENCE LONE-WORKING ~ AGENCY STAFFItems of particular interest to the Branch received in ~ REVENUE PROTECTION ~ MESS ROOM FACILI-February included both the receipt of our nomination TIES ~ UNIFORM ~ RESTRUCTURINGof bro Glenn Wallis as the Branch’s delegate to theRMT’s 2008 Annual General Meeting and subsequently Station Assistant Terry Pope (LOROL, Leyton Midland Road sta-a confirmation of his being accepted. So congratula- tion) requested that Risk Assessments be done regarding thetions to Glenn, and of course the Branch expects a 12-hour lone-working shifts currently rostered for Sunday work-full report back of the main event of the year where ing. This is a recent introduction, and there are serious Health &the democracy of the union is in action! Safety implications: the line (Gospel Oak to Barking) runsWe were officially informed that the Branch’s pro- through some extremely deprived areas of north and east Lon-posed name change from Great Eastern Rail to East don with all the social problems that stem from that; theLondon Rail was passed by the General Grades Com- Branch agreed that at these stations two-person working,mittee having been already approved by the Regional whether through shift over-lap or otherwise, should be theCouncil. We did this to reflect the inclusive nature of norm. It is an anomaly in that many of these staff were re-the RMT in covering different workplaces and the fact cruited under Silverlink (with Silverlink contracts), but were notthat we represent all Grades in the Branch regardlessof employer or TOC franchise. on the list of TUPE’d staff; the Branch felt that, similarly to the Sunday working issue, these members of staff are not beingA circular was received from the General secretary treated fairly or equally with existing employees due to merelykeeping us up-to-date with the proposed introduction being new, which is unacceptable.of a LER-run Revenue Protection Depot at Cambridge.The Company has been trying to introduce new The issue of employers’ continuing use of agency workersgrades which were not agreed under harmonisation arose, and a good point was made that since LOROL has pro-(which pretty clearly shows that their commitment to vided them with the same uniforms, but a much poorer stan-that document is only when it suits them!); the RMThave provisionally agreed this so long as there is no dard of training (on average three to four days for agency staffon-train working. So all members should immediately rather than the three to four weeks given to employees), thismake their Rep or local Officer aware if they know of can get regular staff into confrontational situations with theany Meteor staff doing on train work. public. For example, if an agency worker has misinformed or poorly treated a passenger, the passenger may ‘take it out’ onInvitations were received to the RMT Political School6-11 July 2008 in Doncaster. Guest speakers and the the next staff member they see, assuming they are the same.RMT Parliamentary Group will be there speaking on Bro. Arnold Randall made a similar point regarding thevarious topics of interest to trade Unionists, such as ‘Magenta’ Revenue Protection agency used by Silverlink/international solidarity, the European Union, Political LOROL. Management have called this– in the words of a LOROLParties, the far right, and local campaigning. There Customer Services Manager spoken to by Bro. Randall- aare only 12 places available so anyone who wants to ‘quick-fix’. In this case, to ‘fix’ the fact that they need to ‘staff’attend– and definitely can! -should contact the previously-unstaffed stations to fulfil their contract with TfLBranch Secretary on 07940340128 ASAP. which they cannot do with existing staff. It was suggested thatWe were informed that Network Rail Op’s , Customer perhaps the company– like so many TOC’s– should be concen-Service, Project, and Engineering staff may shortly be trating on recruiting well-trained, professional, full-time, andin dispute over rates of pay and conditions ; and in directly-employed staff rather than resorting to ’quick-fixes’Lincoln, Signallers are to strike in support of a col- which just so happen to be ‘on the cheap’ too. Which meansleague’s treatment and to defend PT&R agreements,so watch this space! that TfL is happy because the franchise obligations are being met; LOROL’s bean-counters are happy; the only losers are theA complete list of all the secretary’s correspon- staff whose professionalism and conditions are being eroded dence received is available at every Branch Meeting or by emailing the secretary at: and the long-suffering travelling public who are getting half a service. 2 NEXT MEETING: THURSDAY 20th MARCH 2008—RAILWAY TAVERN, ANGEL LANE, STRATFORD– 18.30 HOURS. PHONE 07940 340 128 FOR DETAILS OR EMAIL
  3. 3. 0626 EAST LONDON RAIL– BRANCH NEWS FEBRUARY 2008Continuing with Revenue Protection issues, Bro Randall said they are still chasing their claim for a Time+¾ Sundayrate, on account that the existing Time+½ was never agreed or written down (no document even now exists) andtherefore never superseded the original, higher, rate. Bro Wallis said that ticket issuing facilities have been re-moved from RPI’s (agency and in-house) and Guards. This seriously reduces the number of options available toRPI’s and leaves them with very little discretion– and such discretion is an integral part of following the Inspectors’Handbook. It was noted that the company must have far more faith in the infallibility of their Oyster equipmentthan experience suggests it deserves… If RPI’s are unable to issue tickets and passengers are unable to touch-in orout, presumably they will deducted five pounds and risk a Penalty Fare: a situation which is as bizarre as it is pos-sible.Regarding ‘Magenta’ agency staff, LOROL claim they are committed to bringing these posts in-house; the Branchagreed that if this was not resolved by the 22nd March 2008, a resolution would be proposed to take action on thisissue of fundamental importance.Whereas Revenue staff used to work under the auspices of the Railway Act 1994 and associated legislation, nowthey also issue Penalty Fares under TfL statutes too (e.g., the Greater London Authority Act 1999) but so far with-out the necessary training in the new regulations. We have been unable as yet to ascertain how, if National RailConditions of Carriage apply on LOROL services, how can TfL’s regulations run parallel? These are things thatLOROL management need to explain as without clarity there will be an increased risk of confrontation.Messing facilities at these newly staffed stations are also outrageously limited for the number of people now ex-pected to use them. For example– no hot water at many stations, and one example was given where, the micro-wave being switched on. it blew the power supply! And at Wanstead Park there are no lights working in the toiletso a hand-held torch is required by users; likewise, the staff had to have their own whip-round in order to buy aheater! These are almost Monty Python-style situations which would probably be funny if they were not so seriousby showing the contempt with which staff (both new and old) are held in by LOROL management.A risk assessment was carried out on the GOB line on 21st January, as well as the above lack of messing facilities,there was a lack of passenger information on ticket issuing facilities, and the Portocabins in use either are or will bea health & Safety risk; Bro. Randall to raise this with management. Along with questions over the limited stafftravel facilities available and the shoddy uniforms, Bro Randall also raised the fact that the GOB and NorthLondon Line needs Local Reps urgently– anyone interested should contact him 07961257608. LIVERPOOL STREET GATELINE STAFF The Branch has managed to obtain a copy of the Automatic Gateline Safety Case which the Company for some years now a have been prevaricating on discussing (at at times, even deny- ing its existence!). The Branch feels this can only be that if no- TICKETS £18– one knows what is in the safety Case, LER cannot then be FREE BAR BUFFET proved to be in breach of it. Your Branch and Local Officers MUSIC and Local Reps will be going through this document with a fine GUEST toothcomb, and any breaches will be automatically dealt with SPEAKERS at a higher level of this union. The Branch has already had many reports– and complaints– about staffing levels on the gateline; the frequently changing rosters; use of badly-trained Agency staff; and the general profit-above-safety culture which pervades throughout the running of this department. On the latter issue (one of the most important) the main point is that according to the safety case, if a number of the gates are out of use, the whole array must be opened to prevent overcrowd- CONTACT THE BRANCH SECRETARY FOR TICKETS: ing and congestion. This is regularly over-ruled by local man-ED SHINE– 07940340128; EMAIL agement. Rest assured, these matters are being taken further. 3 NEXT MEETING: THURSDAY 20th MARCH 2008—RAILWAY TAVERN, ANGEL LANE, STRATFORD– 18.30 HOURS. PHONE 07940 340 128 FOR DETAILS OR EMAIL
  4. 4. 0626 EAST LONDON RAIL– BRANCH NEWS FEBRUARY 2008 ‘one’ RE-BRANDING ~ AGENCY STAFF ~ RPI PROMOTION ~ LIVERPOL STREET GATELINETHE WEEK AFTER THIS BRANCH MEETING direct attack on our members’ right show theirsees the ‘launch’ of National Express’ re-branded ‘one’ franchise as membership with pride. NXEA now insist that‘National Express East Anglia’, an exercise, in the view of the RMT lanyards (neck-cords for I.D. badges,Branch, in cosmetic surgery if ever there was one. As usual in such whistles etc.) are not to be worn; many mem-things there is plenty of money to be spent on re-liverying trains bers of staff seem to object to advertising aand changing sign posts etc; but the Branch wondered whether the bus company on their shoulders and as suchsame liberal spending would be shown when it came to dealing with very few lanyards of any design are nowpay claims and improvement in staff conditions? It was considered, worn… however there has been an explosion inof course, unlikely, and demonstrates the poverty of privatisation: the number of key rings, tie-clips, and badgesthe only ‘job for life’ left on the railway nowadays appears to be for on show. East London Rail Branch congratu-Uniform designers and train decorators who are guaranteed work lates all members on their refusal to be toldevery few years purely in order to replace what they did a few years how they can show off their membership ofbefore! In any other business of course this would be considered this proud Union. Well done. It was also pro-madness; but welcome to Railway Wonderland and keep an eye out posed that research is done into the feasibilityfor a new board of directors… including the March Hare, a Mad Hat- of producing cravat-clips for our female mem-ter, and probably a Humpty Dumpty or two there as well! bers.On a more serious note, the new uniform regulations– which funnily The company have demonstrated time andenough have not been agreed or negotiated with this Union– are a time again how they will lie to this Union and NEXT BRANCH MEETING our’ members and will ride roughshod over agreements. So far they have not introduced the NVQ Qualification which should be the right of all members who wish to progress themselves, and incidentally a requirement for promotion, under the so-called ‘harmonisation’. And although keen enough to create a new grade at their proposed Cam- bridge Revenue Protection depot that was NOT agreed under harmonisation and would have created a lower starting rate for Revenue staff, they have consistently refused– and seem proud of their refusal– to adhere to what they agreed in introducing the Level Two RPI Grade which would be a seamless promotion struc- ture. They are of course happy to have the duties of this grade carried out by Level one RPI’s at the lower rate. The only grades above RPI’s as we speak are Team Leader and then Prosecutions Officer (a managerial post), ef- fectively a denial of prospects (as there are an extremely limited number of these positions. Likewise it can be argued that staff have been recruited/ retained on false pretences and the promise of promotion which does not exist. Promotion prospects for RPI’s are thus slim as in theory to be promoted they must do an NVQ course which is NOT offered in order to reach a Grade which does NOT exist! This is 4 hypocrisy and a breach of faith and will be dis- cussed in depth at next months’ meeting.