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.
Workers' self-defence starts with getting unionised at work. This section includes material on the trade union struggles and issues I am involved in and/or urge you to support!
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 Many union branches felt that this rule was unfair and out-of-date, and submitted a proposal to that year's Special General Meeting to reduce the qualifying period to three years.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.
In March 2009, Israel Railways, a state-owned company, launched a new policy denying employment to railroad crossing guards who have no permit to carry weapons - that is: who have not served in the Israeli army. This policy will lead to the lay-off of the approximately 150 Arab railway workers who monitor and maintain Israel's level crossings.
Here's an interesting one from back in 2009:
One of RMT's equality reps emailed me a few questions for a course he is doing. I thought it might be worth sharing the questions and my replies with website readers.
1. What do you think are the key equality issues in the workplace?
In October 2010, French rail workers were on strike. I sent this message of support to them.
I am writing on behalf of the London Transport Region of the National Union of Rail Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) here in the UK.
I will be a guest speaker at the Communication Workers' Union's Disability Conference in Leeds on Saturday 8 November.
I will be speaking about Autism in the workplace, looking at why autism is a trade union issue, myths and facts about autism, relevant laws, and organising against discrimination and in support of workers with autism or with autistic dependents.