london busworkers: olympic 500 – phoney war or wages battle?

First published in Solidarity Forever, paper of London Regional Committee IWW(IWGB), which comprises the London Busworkers Branch (IU IU530)

The union Unite has raised the profile of the campaign to secure a £500 bonus payment for the 28,000 bus workers in London. Leaflets, posters and even executive members have appeared in some garages. The demand for the bonus is just. The increased revenue the bus companies will make during the Olympics will more than cover the cost of a bonus in recognition of the even more stress and demands placed on bus workers. However, this issue raises far wider questions. The campaign has placed on the agenda the more important issue of the steady deterioration of bus workers wages and working conditions. Continue reading “london busworkers: olympic 500 – phoney war or wages battle?”

Advertisements

support the tube strikes!

by Joe Thorne

See here for a full list of RMT picket times and locations – go down and visit from 22:00 Monday night or Tuesday morning!


Many of us will have been defending the tube strikes that begin on Monday evening, and continue – amongst different groups of workers – until the end of Tuesday to friends and fellow workers.  Many will be grumpy about their journey being disrupted; susceptible to TFL and government propaganda; and – perhaps without admitting it – somewhat jealous of the leverage, organisation, and (at least what they imagine to be) the superior terms and conditions of RMT members.  RMT General Secretary Bob Crow may be a figure of particular annoyance. Continue reading “support the tube strikes!”

facing different ways?

by Professor Gregor Gall, University of Hertfordshire

In recent weeks, the RMT union has put out a number of important calls to the union movement. First, it called for an emergency meeting of the TUC general council in order to develop a planned and pro-active collective response to the austerity package announced by the coalition government. Second, through its general secretary, Bob Crow, the union made a rousing call to arms at its annual conference for ‘general and co-ordinated strike action across the public and private sectors to stop their savage assault on jobs, living standards and public services.’ In this, the union said ‘The unions must form alliances with community groups, campaigns and pensioners organisations in the biggest show of united resistance since the success of the anti-poll tax movement. Waving banners and placards will not be enough – it will take direct action to stop the Cameron and Clegg cuts machine.’

In other words, the RMT was calling on the union movement to take Greek, French and Italian lessons through mass mobilisations. Yet, in the same two weeks as these developments, the TUC general council agreed to invite David Cameron to address its congress in September. There was only one dissenting voice on the general council (that of the FBU). Initiated by TUC general secretary, Brendan Barber, the general council members bar one accepted his logic that the TUC and union movement should engage in dialogue with the new coalition government. Here it seems that for the TUC it is pretty much business as usual in as much that the TUC wants to be accorded the status of a social partner by the new government even though there is no chance of that – certainly less so than there was under the ‘new’ Labour years. Therefore, the union movement can be said to be facing at least two different ways. Continue reading “facing different ways?”

tube pay deal: the wages of disunity?

A member of Finsbury Park RMT looks at the London Underground (LUL) dispute and the role of the unions on the Tube

Once again it is nearly a year since we should have had a pay rise. It has been settled after a protracted campaign led industrially by the RMT while the other unions maintained a deafening silence (apart from a certain union leader who encouraged his members to scab in the summer). Continue reading “tube pay deal: the wages of disunity?”

cleaners are not objects to be bought and sold!

Join the protest 12 noon, Weds 18 November, Templar House, 81-87 High Holborn, London, WC1V 6NU

The cleaning contract on London Underground’s Bakerloo, Victoria and Central Lines is set to be renegotiated and a new company is expected to grab it. It is likely to demand new (and worse) conditions and will trawl again through workers’ immigration status.Cleaners, many of them migrant workers, are sick of being handed around from company to company, and continually facing poor pay and conditions. Their RMT union has called a protest in their support at the headquarters of Metronet—which is responsible for the contract. Continue reading “cleaners are not objects to be bought and sold!”

london underground: deadlock over pay

by Vaughan Thomas, RMT London region chair (LUL)

It’s early November and the view from the 23rd floor offices of Euston Tower must be one of the best in London. Low clouds obscure the top of the adjacent Post Office Tower but the “belly of the beast” – the City of London – is clearly visible in the distance; a constant reminder of the reason we are here at ACAS, deadlocked over pay.

tubewire
The global financial crisis has had enormous repercussions for working people in all walks of life, in both the private and public sectors.

Even the Underground, which in recent years has tended to be insulated from the worst problems due to massive government investment, is feeling the pinch. And it’s the workers at the bottom who are being pinched hardest. This time, more than any other, it’s important that the transport unions stick together to fight management. Continue reading “london underground: deadlock over pay”

‘full and democratic debate’: but when?

by David Broder

London’s Camden Centre was packed to the rafters on Saturday for the RMT conference on working-class political representation. The enthusiasm of its participants was, lamentably, much at odds with the dire initiative likely to be spawned by the event.

no2eu

While RMT has conference policy to convene workers’ representation committees across the country to select candidates, this event, like a similar one in February, was a mere rally for the follow-up to the No2EU European election campaign. There were no resolutions or votes; there was minimal debate and no-one who had opposed or criticised No2EU was allowed to speak. As with the June election’s initiative, it seems that a small clique in the union around Bob Crow and Pat Sikorski, along with allies in the leadership of the Morning Star/Communist Party of Britain and the Socialist Party, will set the agenda for a General Election coalition. Continue reading “‘full and democratic debate’: but when?”