Monday, 26 August 2013

RMT announces London Overground strike action

RMT announces London Overground strike action

Publication Date: August 16 2013 from acknowledgements to Steve Cushion, secretary UCU reired members' branch.

Rail union RMT confirmed today that London Overground guards, who have voted overwhelmingly for strike action and action short of a strike in a ballot following the announcement by Transport for London (TfL) of their plans to introduce Driver Only Operation (DOO) on the whole of the London Overground network, will take action for 48 hours over the coming Bank Holiday weekend.

The grades balloted have been instructed NOT to book on for any shifts that commence between:-

  • 00:01 hours on Sunday 25th August 2013 and 23:59 hours on Monday 26th August 2013.

Furthermore members have been instructed to take industrial action short of a strike: 

  • By refusing to work any overtime and not agreeing to any shift movement between 00:01 hours on Sunday 25th August 2013 and 23:59 hours on Monday 26th August 2013.

The London Overground guards are the first group of staff to face the threat of the sack as a direct result of the Government-imposed cuts of 12.5% on TFL  but with a billion pounds worth of cuts lined up over the next five years, and confirmation that all ticket offices are facing the prospect of closure, they will not be the last. RMT has made it clear that it is geared up to widen the balloting franchise across transport services in London and will not allow individual groups of staff to be picked off by Boris Johnson's transport officials.

To underscore the essential role of the guards, last month there was a major incident near Kentish Town which required the emergency evacuation of over 100 passengers in searing heat between stations. That evacuation was led by the guard and even LOROL admitted in their statement - "The prompt actions of London Overground staff enabled the incident to be brought to a close as quickly as possible." The company and TFL are now preparing to sack those very same staff whose actions they were praising just a few weeks ago. 130 safety-critical guards jobs are threatened.

RMT is warning that the axing of guards across London Overgroundwill give the green light to the thugs, thieves and drunks to turn this important and growing rail service into a criminals playground. It  will also turn London Overground services into a no-go area for those with disabilities and others needing assistance as both trains and stations are de-staffed in the name of the TFL cuts drive.

As well as balloting for industrial action RMT will be taking the political fight over this cash-lead attack on safety critical guards jobs into the House of Commons and City Hall and will be organising a series of public meetings and protests aimed at building support from the travelling public.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:

"RMT have sent out a clear message in the nine to one vote for both strike action and action short of a strike on London Overground over the appalling, cash-driven assault on our guards members and the absolutely essential role that they play. These are the very same staff who have been praised for safely evacuating passengers from emergency situations and who are the eyes and ears of the service at a time of growing violence and thefts on our trains. The failure of the TFL senior management, under Boris Johnson's leadership, and the company to pull back from these proposals has forced RMT to announce this strike action.

"The fight to defend 130 safety-critical guards jobs on London Overground will be centre stage in RMT's overall battle to defend jobs and safety on London's transport services. RMT recognises that this lethal proposals has been brought about as result of the 12.5%  cut in TfL funding announced in George Osborne's Comprehensive Spending Review. RMT has made it crystal clear that 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 has already sent shockwaves through transport services and 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. They will be met with the fiercest possible resistance from RMT as we link up the groups of workers in the firing line. RMT remains available for talks."


Sunday, 25 August 2013

Peru: Civil Service Act threatens trade union rights

Peru: Civil Service Act threatens trade union rights

In partnership with Public Services International, representing 20 million workers who deliver vital public services in 150 countries.

Peru's proposed new Civil Service Law contains serious threats to human rights including the labour and trade union rights of over half a million Peruvians who provide public services. If approved, it will:

* remove the right of public sector unions to negotiate wages 

* determines a model of union organisation in the sector 

* allow for the implementation of reforms in the structure of employment and public services without any legislative consultation. 

* deny the right to strike in essential sectors, without defining which sectors are essential.

Tell the President of Peru that you won't stand for such an erosion of union rights!.

You can help! Type in your name and email address, then click on 'Send Message' on the bottom of this page. 

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Type in your message here - or just use the existing message. 

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EDL not welcome in Tower Hamlets – Don’t let the racists divide us

EDL not welcome in Tower Hamlets – Don’t let the racists divide us
Saturday 7 September
Assemble 11am
Altab Ali Park, Whitechapel Road, London E1.
Called by Unite Against Fascism

EDL not welcome in Tower Hamlets
The fascist English Defence League (EDL) has announced plans to demonstrate in East London on Saturday 7 September.
They have attempted to march in Tower Hamlets three times before. On each occasion trade unions, Muslim, Christian, Jewish, other faith, LGBT communities, local elected politicians and many more stood together and prevented them from entering the borough. Now more than ever it is crucial we stand together again. The EDL is trying to stir up racial hatred following the murder of soldier Lee Rigby in May, we must not let them.
Wherever the EDL go attacks on Muslims and other communities occur. In June, a Muswell Hill mosque and community centre was burnt to the ground and ‘EDL’ was found painted on the walls.
In July, three mosques in the West Midlands were subjected to bomb attacks shortly before the fascists mobilised several hundred in Birmingham. We want to show that the EDL and their fascist ideas are not welcome in Tower Hamlets or any other part of London. We need a vibrant demonstration of multi-cultural East London.
Unite Against Fascism and United East End are urging all antiracists and antifascists to join a demonstration opposing the EDL on Saturday 7 September 2013. We must stop these racist street thugs from dividing our communities.
EDL not welcome in Tower Hamlets – Don’t let the racists divide us
Saturday 7 September
Assemble 11am
Altab Ali Park, Whitechapel Road, London E1.
Called by Unite Against Fascism

Friday, 23 August 2013

TUC Congress 2013: Green fringe meeting

TUC Congress 2013: Green fringe meeting
Green fringe meeting: Tuesday 10 September, 12.30 to 13.45
Climate change - The burning questions
With Diana Holland, AGS, Unite; Sue Ferns, Director of Research & Communications, Prospect/TUC General Council; Dom Anderson, NUS Vice President; and Matt Wrack, GS, Fire Brigades Union.
How can we burst the 'carbon bubble' and drive green growth? The 'greenest government ever' seems a distant illusion, with the Coalition backing 'fracking' and new oil and gas subsidies. There's a green alternative to austerity, mass unemployment and low pay. We need a jobs-rich, green industrial strategy to create tens of thousands of quality, skilled jobs across the UK. And we need to take action ourselves, building greenworkplaces and new alliances for greenand decent jobs.
Organised by the Trade Unions Sustainable Development Advisory Committee (TUSDAC).
TUC Congress - energy motions
The preliminary agenda for TUC Congress (Bournemouth, September 9-11)

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Stop Pickles attacking PCS

Noel Lynch via 
6:07 PM (1 hour ago)
to gptu
Subject: Fw: Stop Pickles attacking PCS

Dear All,

It's interesting that the government is trying to end the check off system
on the Deaprtment of Communities and Local Government. Do they see PCS as
standing in the way of smashing local authority staff?

I encourage everybody in Barnet Trades Union Council and BAPS to sign this

If you have any further enquiries, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours fraternally

Austin Harney,

Secretary of Barnet Trades Union Council.

----- Forwarded Message -----
From: PCS Publications <>
Sent: Friday, 16 August 2013, 12:12
Subject: Stop Pickles attacking PCS


Dear Colleague,

We need your help to stop Eric Pickles ending the decades old "check-off"
system of paying union subs direct from wages in the department for
communities and local government (DCLG).

We have only been given a few weeks notice to sign all our members up to
direct debit. Our reps have been prevented from signing members up to direct
debit in the workplace. PCS has made it clear it will pay for the check-off
service, but this has been ignored.

It is clear that Pickles decision is nothing than an attempt to undermine
the strength of our union within his department.

We are determined to resist this attack on basic trade union rights. We have
taken our case to the high court and there will be a hearing on 3 September.

Our members in DCLG need a strong union and they need your support. If
Pickles gets his way, then other Ministers may follow.

Tell DCLG permanent secretary Sir Bob Kerslake you do not accept this
decision to


Public and Commercial Services Union

Monday, 12 August 2013

London Green Party Slams “Sadistic” Benefit Cap

London Green Party Slams “Sadistic” Benefit Cap 
The London Green Party has slammed the government’s benefit cap being rolled out across London today as “sadistic” and has called upon London’s Councillors to show compassion in implementing the policy. 
The cap, which has already been trialled in Bromley, Croydon, Enfield, and Haringey, means that the amount of benefit couples and single parents can claim per week will be limited to £500. This applies to the most commonly claimed benefits – Child Benefit, Housing Benefit, Jobseeker’s Allowance, and Income Support. Today marks the final stage of the roll-out of the cap. 
The London Green Party has staunchly opposed the cap since it was first introduced, stating that it will hit the poorest the hardest. The party quotes research from London Councils which shows that the introduction of the cap will lead to 133,000 households being unable to afford their rent due to the high cost of living in the capital. The party argues that the result will be an increase in homelessness in the capital as more and more families are forced into poverty. 
Caroline Allen, a London Green Party candidate for the forthcoming 2014 European election said: “The government is pursuing a sadistic policy. It’s the old strategy of divide and rule. They’re creating a false idea that the country is made up of ‘benefit scroungers’ and ‘taxpayers’ whereas in reality this is an incredibly cynical oversimplification. Research has shown time and again that very few people choose benefits as a lifestyle and it's the landlords who have got rich from the rising housing benefit bill while people who want to find work simply can't, or end up on zero hours contracts and poverty pay.

The benefit cap is just one part of its continuing efforts to force poorer people out ofLondon. In Haringey, one of the London boroughs subject to the initial trial of the cap, there has already been a sharp increase in eviction notices for families who, as a result of the cap, now simply cannot afford to pay their rent. This, sadly, is going to the reality for more and more households across London as the cap is enforced across the capital.”

The Party has called upon councils to ensure they are doing all they can to support those affected by the changes in benefits. Ultimately though radical change of our housing system is required. The Green Party is calling for rent caps, new social housing, and an end to write to buy and a land value tax. All proposals that would readjust our broken housing system, the Party states. 

Caroline added, “60 years ago my Grandparents suffered at the hands of a slum landlord and were forced out of London due to the high cost of housing, leaving their family and friends behind. At least they had decent new council housing to move to. I'm horrified this is happening again and where is there for vulnerable people to move to now? Left to the mercy of rogue buy-to let landlords, who seem to me to be the real scroungers here.” 
 Contact and Spokespeople
For more information please contact Matt Hawkins, co-Media Officer of the London Green Party on or 07515 895998.
1.       For more information on the benefits cap, please see:
2.       For more information on the London Green Party, please visit:
3.       For further details on the research conducted by London Councils, please see:
4.       For further information on the debate over whether benefits can be considered a “lifestyle choice” please see:

Saturday 24 August 2013 Croydon Trades Union Council special event to support George Tapp

On Saturday 24 August 2013 Croydon Trades Union Council is holding a special event to support George Tapp who was so seriously injured while campaigning against Black Listing. The event will also be an opportunity for Trades Unionists to show general support for the Anti Black Listing Campaign.

The event at Ruskin House (Croydon's Trade Union and Labour Centre)
23 Coombe Road, Croydon CR0 1BD will be addressed by leading speakers from the Anti Black Listing Campaign. There will be live music and the Ruskin House Club Bar will be open from 7:00 p.m.

This is a very worthy cause - please support.

Roy Aird
Secretary - Croydon TUC




FRIDAY 16 AUGUST 2013 18.00
(nearest tube HOLBORN)

Celebrating a vital battle in working class history
Concentrating on what is to be done today to win trade union freedom and build solidarity action

Speakers include the
TONY BURKE (UNITE) Campaign for Trade Union Freedom
the Anti-Blacklist Campaign

Organised by
Cities of London & Westminster Trades Council
Islington Trades Union Council - Dockers Network -
Greater London Association of Trade Union Councils

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

We Own It - A Message for Railways, Royal Mail, the NHS and Much More

We Own It - A Message for Railways, Royal Mail, the NHS and Much More

Posted: 06/08/2013 00:00

Royal Mail
When I give speeches up and down the country, two topics vie for the loudest cheers from a wide variety of audiences - one is the Green Party's call to return railways to public ownership, the second is when I say "we believe in a publicly owned and publicly run NHS".
Yet somehow, I find when talking to journalists, both of these ideas - indeed our strong support for public ownership of essential public services - is regarded as a "radical" idea.
It's an indictment of the state of our national politics - the distance that the ideas of our political class in the form of three largest parties has moved from the general public - that it's hard to find an organised voice outside that of the Green Party and the unions speaking up for it.
Yet the public - and the Green Party - understand that privatisation and outsourcing have been disastrous, built on putting public funds straight into private profits, cutting the pay and condition of workers and the quality of services. And all too often, as we've been finding with the water companies - the piling of debts on to essential public services, while capital is extracted to further boost private profits and financial risks multiplied.
We've seen a long trail of disasters and all too often tragic disasters. You just have to recite the acronyms - A4EG4SAtos.
It's unsurprising then that a new organisation, We Own It, launching today, has found that the public rejects default privatisation by 10:1, and that 80% think that private bids.
It has launched with a draft bill, the Public Service Users Bill, which would require public ownership to be considered before privatising or outsourcing services, as well as in the bidding process.
We Own It's new report 'Better in Public Hands' says public ownership is making a comeback, not that public affection and sense of its value ever went away.
The models need to be carefully considered - renationalisation or maintaining national ownership makes sense in some cases (notably and topically Royal Mail), but often what we need to be looking towards is a more decentralised, flexible model that obeys the principle of subsidiarity, decisions being made as close as possible to the places where they'll have an impact.
This is something that's particularly pressing and important in electricity generation - we need to encourage the model of local mutual ownership of wind farms, of solar panels, or run-of-river generating schemes and, in future, tidal generation.
If a multinational company sweeping into town and plans to build a windfarm on the hill, transforming the landscape, but the profits make no local impact, sweeping instead off to London - and all too often then straight into the nearest convenient tax haven - it's unsurprising if this seems an imposition, an insult to be resisted. If the wind farm is owned by, planned by the community, the benefits flowing down into town in the term of dividends on community bonds, funding for the local school and a new roof for the village hall, however, it will be seen, experienced very differently.
But we need to start thinking too about ways, in a time of increasing water stress, we can get back control over our water supplies, our electricity and gas grids, and more.
That's a big challenge for We Own It - and a good place to start is keeping what we still have. The NHS is a critical, popular issue that I'm sure the new organisation will be working on.

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