I wrote this article for my local anti-cuts campaign newsletter in Hackney in August 2010:
April 2010: In 1998, the recently-elected New Labour government announced a ‘public-private partnership’ for London Underground. Operations would remain in the public sector, but the infrastructure would transfer to private consortia on 30-year leases. The unions fought this proposal for five years.
Both London Underground and Tube Lines - and, no doubt, many other companies - will tell us that they "have to" cut jobs because of the economic crisis. But a look at London Underground's history shows that this is not just untrue - it is the opposite of the truth.
From 'Solidarity' newspaper, January 2010:
A decision by the PPP Arbiter in December may prove to be a fatal punch to private infrastructure company Tube Lines and the whole ‘Public-Private Partnership’ set-up on London Underground.
On 17 December 2009, the PPP Arbiter published an important document, which may turn out to be a staging post in the collapse of Tube Lines and – following 2007’s similar collapse of Metronet – of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) itself.
Until 2009, an RMT member could only stand for election as a delegate to the union's Annual General Meeting (AGM) once s/he had been a member for five years. Many union branches felt that this rule was unfair and out-of-date, and submitted a proposal to that year's Special General Meeting to reduce the qualifying period to three years. Following a lively debate and a close vote, the proposal was passed.
Here is a summary of what happened, with the highlighted words providing links to articles on the RMT London Calling website that give more details. To read some of the linked articles (the more controversial stuff that was discussed in 'closed session'!), you will need to be logged in to that website (for which you need to be an RMT member and have registered an account).
This is my personal report on the RMT AGM, which was also published in 'Solidarity' newspaper, and on Stroppyblog.
At RMT's 2009 AGM, I proposed this resolution on behalf of Stratford no.1 branch. Lots of delegates spoke in favour of the resolution, telling stories of management abuse of sick staff in their company and/or area. This relates strongly to one of the three issues of our current Jobs Pay and Justice dispute. The resolution was passed unanimously. This is the text of my speech.