Thursday, 28 August 2008



Over 700 RMT Tube cleaners have taken 3 days strike action earlier this summer. They had achieved a 99.2% ballot for action to win the London living wage and decent conditions from their employers, private contractors.

While these cleaning companies are given millions from our fares and taxes by the Government, most cleaners get only £5.52 an hour and need 2 or 3 full-time jobs to survive in London. The private contractors give our cleaners no sick pay, pension or holiday and no free travel between stations, basic conditions for all other Tube workers.

Our cleaners are also subject to bullying and intimidation at work, including repeated National Insurance and immigration checks. The private companies sack them without any procedure or union representation , "third party" sackings, an easy way to get rid of trades union activists. Most cleaners are from ethnic minority communities. Their treatment is a blight on London.

As you might expect, during the previous 3 days of strike action, they were subject to extreme intimidation by the bosses who used strike-breakers; RMT members were threatened with the sack if they dared to strike. Yet the RMT cleaners showed solidarity in their struggle for dignity and respect; they were even able to recruit new members during the strike days!

This is the first time the cleaners have ever taken strike action and their action is already having some effect. In July, with the support of other RMT members, CATP and other supporters, they demonstrated outside the Mayor´s Question Time at City Hall. Boris Johnson promised publicly £7.45 for Underground cleaners by August "at the latest". When asked if he meant ALL the cleaners, he did not answer, But, when the public had gone, he said the London living wage of £:7.45 was only for cleaners in SOME of the contracts. Others would get it next year at some point; and for rest, who work for Tubelines (which makes £ 1 million-a-week profit) he claimed he could do nothing at all.

But as mayor, he has the power to give all cleaners not only the London living wage, but also very moderate demands (like sick pay and 28 days holiday a year) on working conditions.

Divide-and-rule is a favourite tactic for those in power.

So the RMT cleaners are asking for YOUR SUPPORT

CATP knows the cleaning of our Tube is a health and safety issue for passengers - remember the consequences of the rubbish pile- up in the King´s Cross Fire.

What can you do to support the cleaners strike?

SPREAD THE WORD by putting this newsletter up on a notice-board at work.

CATP supporters can phone Dave Welsh 0207-837-0845 for more info

Anyone wishing to donate to the Cleaners Hardship Fund should send donations to Oily New, RMT Unity House, 39 Chalton St London NW1 1JD. Cheques should be made out to Finsbury Park RMT

Ticket Offices Saved from threat of Closure: RMT,TSSA, CATP and passengers throughout London put pressure on Boris Johnson to scrap his predecessor´s closure plans. The Underground had planned to close 40 ticket offices and cut opening hours for most of the rest, with a loss of 270 jobs and ever-lengthening queues, a real victory for passengers and the workforce!
Tubelines Pay Less: RMT members have voted for strike action following a pay offer that would have left workers for Tubelines worse off that their colleagues who work for Metronet and London Underground. Bullying: After the victory of keeping the ticket offices open, some groups of workers on the Tube have voted for action in the Rickmansworth, Charing Cross, East Ham and Waterloo areas over management bullying and other problems.
Bill Posters: RMT members working for multi-national CBS Outdoor are taking strike action over their pay claim.
CATP August 08

Sunday, 24 August 2008

Launch meeting - 5 p.m. Tuesday 30 September: Campaigning Alliance for Lifelong Learning

Dear Colleagues
CALL Launch meeting - 5 p.m. Tuesday 30 September - UCU Conference Centre, 27 Britannia St, Kings Cross, WC1X 9JP.

If you are concerned about the loss of over 1.5 million publicly-funded adult education places ... Come to the launch meeting of CALL - the Campaigning Alliance for Lifelong Learning - on 30 September (details below) and

Please return the attached registration form to . Book early because this promises to be a big event with over 40 already indicating on Facebook that they will be coming.

Supporting / Affiliating to CALL

CALL has been launched initially by NIACE, NUS, UCU, UNISON, and the WEA but we want it to involve all those people and organisations who agree with the six points (below).

If you are interested in being involved or in your organisation affiliating to CALL, please inform Funso Akande on giving your details:



Position held (if any)



Individual involvement: YES / NO

Organisation affiliation: YES / NO

Any Other Information:

With best wishes

~paul ~

Paul Mackney - NIACE Associate Director (FE)

E: / M: 0797 435 3709

A: NIACE, CAN Mezzanine, 32-36 Loman Street, London SE1 0EH

FOUNDING STATEMENT FROM Campaigning Alliance for Lifelong Learning

We have founded CALL, the Campaigning Alliance for Lifelong Learning , because we believe that affordable access to the life changing opportunities provided by education is the hallmark of a civilised society.

CALL is a non-party political alliance. The only qualification for joining is commitment to our six founding principles below.

Our founding conference will take place at 27 Britannia St, London, WC1X 9JP on 30 September 2008 at 5.00pm. Discussion will focus on a new manifesto for the expansion life long learning. If you want to attend or send a conference delegate, you can either:

· complete and return the attached form

· register online at

CALL believes our education system should provide:

1. quality of access to high quality education for all learners (regardless of: class, gender, age, ethnicity, sexual orientation, disability, asylum status or employment status), including a statutory right to learning in the workplace

2. universal access to basic skills, ESOL and ICT courses and a first level three qualification regardless of age

3. learner, teacher and community involvement in all levels of decision-making about their learning wherever it takes place

4. learning for personal wellbeing and development and the maintenance of local authority adult education

5. a path out of poverty and disadvantage including widening participation in higher education and the provision of a second chance later in life

6. a stable, motivated and rewarded workforce of professional practitioners.


Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Iran's war on trade unions

President Ahmadinejad is intensifying the repression of labour
activists. We should support them in their fight for basic rights.

By Peter Tatchell

The Guardian – Comment Is Free – 18 August 2008

The anti-worker dictatorship in Iran has stepped up its attacks on
labour activists, with a new wave of arrests and jailings.

Among those recently jailed were two workers' rights campaigners, Ms.
Sousan Razani and Ms. Shiva Kheirabadi. They have been sentenced to 15
lashes and four months in prison for the "crime" (under Iran's Islamic
law) of participating in a May Day celebration in the city of Sanandaj
earlier this year. The verdicts were issued by the Criminal Court of
Sanandaj – branch 101.

On the same charges the same court sentenced Mr. Abdullah Khani to 91
days prison and 40 lashes and Mr. Seyed Qaleb Hosseini to six months
imprisonment and 50 lashes.

In addition, Mr. Khaled Hosseini, a worker activist, was sentenced to
91 days suspended jail and 30 lashes because of his efforts to support
the trade union leader, Mahmoud Salehi, who was imprisoned at the time
and was being denied medical treatment. The charges against him
include "disturbing public order and agitation."

Meanwhile, Mr. Mansour Osanloo, leader of Tehran's bus workers
syndicate, remains in jail since he was sentenced to five years jail
in July 2007 for his union activities.

Nine of his union members have recently had their dismissal from their
jobs upheld by the Islamic courts, which do not recognise trade unions
or workers rights. The sacked men were all bus drivers, who had
suffered two years of harassment and victimisation for the 'crime' of
establishing a free and independent trade union.

Another labour activist, Mr. Afshin Shams, was arrested in July 2008.
He is a member of "Coordinating Committee to Help Form Workers'
Organisations", and a member of the "Committee in Defence of Mahmoud

These arrests and jailings coincide with a wave of strikes and
demonstrations against profiteering, corruption and shady business
dealings by the country's political and religious elite, as reported
in The Guardian last month.

Many of the strikes are in response to President Ahmadinejad's
collusion with employers who are pushing through redundancies,
withholding pay and forcing down wages.

Alborz tire workers are owed two to five months pay. At the Shahryar
Dam in Mianeh, the staff have not been paid for four months. More than
40 workers of Mahloran company in Broojerd city been unpaid for seven
months. Last week, employees at the Sanandaj Textile Company were
violently attacked when they held a rally in Farvardin Square in
protest at the sudden shut down of plant operations and mass lay-offs.

The workforce at the Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Company, which employs more
than five thousand workers, have been on strike too. The last time
they took industrial action, they won three months of unpaid wages.

The strikers have been buoyed by the success of the Khodro car workers
who walked out in June to demand wage increases and an end to
mandatory overtime – and won their demands.

The Tehran regime is increasingly hostile to rising working class
militancy, which it fears could become political and turn into a mass
movement against the government. The ruling Ayatollahs are
particularly nervous of the possibility that the unions might link up
with students, left-wingers, civic organisations and oppressed
national minorities (like the Arabs, Kurds and Baluchs) to form a
united front for a free and democratic federal state.

Information about the ethnic cleansing of Arab people in Iran can be
read here:

The prospects for regime change from within are discussed in my TV
interview with the Iranian activist Maryam Namazie.

Tehran's crackdown on union activists is, in fact, part of a broader
assault on civil society and campaign groups, as the right-wing
Islamist regime in Tehran seeks to stifle dissent and tighten its grip
on power.

This repression includes a rise in death sentences on opposition
activists. In Iranian occupied Baluchistan, an estimated 700
nationalist and human rights campaigners are on death row.

Even small, peaceful and lawful protests by women are violently
suppressed, which is more evidence of the regime's insecurity and

Typical is the persecution of Kurdish Iranians. On July 20 2008, Mr.
Farzad Kamangar was sentenced to death in a seven minute show trial,
where three minutes were taken up by the prosecutor reading the
allegations and the defence was given a mere four minutes to state its
case. Mr. Kamangar's lawyer was never notified prior to the trial of
the offence with which his client was charged.

Mr Kamangar, a young teacher, was originally incarcerated on 18 August
2006. He was tortured over allegations (probably trumped up) of
collaborating with the Pejak Party, being a member of Kurdistan
Workers Party (PKK), transporting explosives and various other
doubtful accusations. Since then, he has been transferred from one
jail to another, from one city to another and from one judicial and
security jurisdiction to another. The Islamic Republic of Iran has
ignored all Iranian and international pleas for clemency.

Thirty people were executed on 27 July 2008 in Tehran. Saeed
Mortazavi, the attorney general, denounced them as "drug dealers,
murders and insurgents". A confidential source inside the public
prosecutor's office reported that some of them were people who had
participated in the mass protests against gas price increases last
year. "The execution of these people is in accordance with the new
regulations called the Social Security Enhancement Plan," Saeed
Mortazavi is reported to have said. This plan is the regime's hardline
strategy to crush criticism, dissent and protest.

Mohammad Mostafaee, a defence attorney, seemed to cast doubt on
official claims about the crimes of the executed men. He told Deutsche
Welle Broadcasting: "My understanding is that these so-called
insurgents are special people. The date of their execution is not a
routine practice. Normally, every last Wednesday of each month, the
Tehran criminal prosecutor's office carries out the executions, but in
this case they will be executed on Sunday. These are people who have
had their trial in either Enghelab Islami (the Islamic Revolutionary)
courts or in the special crimes' courts." This explanation implies
that at least some of those who were executed were probably not common
criminals, but deemed to be more serious and threatening political

While the people of Iran, including oppositionists, do not want a
western military attack on their country, growing numbers do want
democracy, human rights, social justice, trade union rights and an end
to Tehran's neo-colonial subjugation of ethnic minority peoples.

You can support Iran's heroic trade union activists by signing this
petition to the Tehran leaders,

and by supporting the International Alliance in Support of Workers in

You can also add your solidarity with the Iranian people by joining
Hands Off the People of Iran (Hopi), which campaigns both against a
military attack on Iran and against the clerical and Tehran's
neo-liberal despotism.

Watch this online TV interview with the Hopi organisers.

Together, we can all do something to help our beleaguered sisters and
brothers in Iran. Like us, they want freedom and equality. And they
deserve it too.


NOTE: Please do not reply via this automated email system.

If you want to respond to this email, or at any time to contact Peter,
please email him at his NEW email address -

Peter Tatchell is the Green Party parliamentary candidate for Oxford
East and


Donations are requested to help Peter Tatchell's campaigns promoting
human rights, democracy and global justice. Peter is unpaid and
receives no grants. He depends on donations from friends and

Please make cheques payable to: "Peter Tatchell Human Rights Fund".

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Zimbabwe - Trial of Wellington Chibebe and Lovemore Matombo

Zimbabwe - Trial of Wellington Chibebe and Lovemore Matombo
Wellington Chibebe and Lovemore Matombo, General Secretary and President, of the ZCTU, are due to re-appear in court on 27 August 2008 to face the charges of “spreading falsehoods prejudicial to the State” on the speeches made during May Day celebrations this year. Both Wellington and Lovemore remain on bail until the termination of their trial which has now been postponed twice. Under their bail conditions, they are not allowed to address public or political gatherings, which constitutes a clear breach of freedom of speech and association.
The TUC is sending a letter to the Zimbabwean Ambassador, expressing concern over the trial and urging him to use his influence to drop the charges.
It would be very helpful if you would send similar letters to the Embassy of Zimbabwe in London, publicise them on your union websites and encourage union members to send messages of solidarity through
The ZCTU will keep us informed of any developments regarding the trial and very much appreciates our support and expression of solidarity.

Tuesday, 19 August 2008

GPTU supports RMT strikers (part 2)

Full support for RMT strike action in Tubelines: Green Party Trade Union Group

Green solidarity with public transport workers

Greens question Tory transport policy for London

The Green Party Trade Union Group fully supports the 1,000 Tubeline workers who intend to start the first of two 72-hour strikes, after the company tabled a poor offer on pay and conditions.

In line with trade union legislation, the RMT gave notice of their industrial action last Wednesday but have neither heard from Tubelines management, not Chief Executive Terry Morgan.
RMT members voted by a margin of three to one to take strike action over pay, pensions and travel facilities. The RMT's general secretary. Bob Crow, has made the comparison with Metronet where workers doing exactly the same job as those who maintain track and trains for Tubelines on the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines, have been offered higher pay rates, a superior pension and better travel facilities.

While the management of Tubelines has put much effort into scapegoating the RMT in this dispute by calling their action "political", they haven't bothered to sit down and negotiate a settlement. The only guarantee of a quick resolution to this crisis is for Morgan and co to sit down with the RMT and listen to the grave concerns the RMT have about the pay settlement for their members in Tubelines.

Meanwhile, the break-down in communication between the management and unions has taken another turn for the worse with the resignation of Tim Parker, Chair of Transport for London . Parker's resignation is the third resignation, as Darren Johnson, Green GLA member stated "Tim Parker is the third key figure to resign in less than four months, reflecting the rushed nature of appointments and giving an appearance of chaos in the new administration. Londoners deserve a better deal from the man they have entrusted to run their city."


Notes for Editors: For further information please contact Pete Murry, Secretary of the GPTU on 07736525187

GPTU supports the RMT strikers

Don't believe the Evening Standard (except when it publishes letters from us knocking Boris Johnson).

This is the RMT's case (from their website )

Stop throwing insults around and negotiate, RMT tells Tubelines

Publication Date: August 18 2008

TUBELINES BOSS Terry Morgan should stop throwing petty insults around and get around the table to negotiate a solution to the current pay and connditions dispute, London Underground’s biggest union says today.

Some 1,000 RMT members are set to down tools from noon on Wednesday in the first of two 72-hour strikes called after the company tabled a pay and conditions offer substantially below that agreed by Metronet for people doing identical work.

In a press interview published today Morgan accused RMT of mounting a “political” strike.

“We gave Tube lines notice of our strike action last Wednesday, and we have heard nothing from the company since,” RMT general secretary Bob Crow said today.

“If Terry Morgan wants to avoid a strike he should get around the table with us to negotiate a pay and conditions package that our members will find acceptable.

“It is no good burying his head in the sand and claiming it’s all political, because that won’t make our members’ grievances go away.

“The reality is that Tubelines already pays rates lower than Metronet and offers inferior pensions and travel facilities, and the reason our members voted by a margin of more than three to one to strike is because what is on the table will widen that gap..

“If Terry Morgan doubts that this is an industrial dispute he should try putting some more money and better conditions on the table,” Bob Crow said.


Tube Lines maintains track and trains on the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines, but it also operates emergency response units across the Tube network, and the stoppage is expected to have a serious effect on LUL’s ability to run a service.

Thursday, 14 August 2008


(with acknowledgements to Romayne Phoenix)

This Saturday, thousands of trade unionists and citizen groups will march on a Southern Africa leadership summit, waving red cards to signal that Mugabe must go. Stand with the marchers and the people of Zimbabwe -- send a red card now

Hopes are slipping away for a deal to resolve Zimbabwe's political crisis. Yesterday, Robert Mugabe announced plans to ignore the ongoing negotiations with the opposition MDC party, form a sham "Government of National Unity" with a breakaway opposition faction, and open
parliament next week.

This weekend, when Southern Africa's 15 leaders, including Mugabe, meet at a major summit in Johannesburg, they will look out upon a sea of red.

Thousands of Southern African trade unionists and other citizens will march to the summit waving red cards -- the football penalty symbol for expulsion -- and call for Mugabe to go. The organisers have appealed to Avaaz for international support, and will carry signs at the march
representing the "red cards" sent by Avaaz members.

The region's powerful trade unions have threatened that unless Southern African leaders take action now, they will refuse to handle goods coming to or from Zimbabwe and will squeeze Mugabe out. A massive march this weekend backed by 100,000 supporters from around the world will be a overwhelming signal to Southern African leaders that they must act now
before the crisis becomes even more desperate -- to announce that the Mbeki-led negotiations have failed, and to launch a new and fairer negotiating process immediately. Click below to send a red card, and pass this message along to friends and family!

Four and a half months have passed since the people of Zimbabwe voted for Morgan Tsvangirai and the Movement for Democratic Change on 29 March. Hyperinflation has exploded to an unimaginable 40,000,000%, and millions now face starvation. The EU, US, and UK have pledged a $1.9bn financial aid package to stabilise Zimbabwe's economy, feed the hungry and combat hyperinflation -- but only if Mugabe is removed.

Meanwhile, distribution of food aid by local and international humanitarian agencies has been prohibited by Mugabe's government. Torture camps remain in operation, political violence continues in some rural provinces, and 12 opposition MPs languish in jail on trumped-up
charges. The Mbeki-led talks are collapsing, as Mugabe and his military high command insist on retaining control.

The people of Zimbabwe need strong allies willing to take bold action. Already, more than 300,000 Avaaz members -- including tens of thousands in Africa -- have signed petitions, donated funds, and written to their leaders in global campaigns for democracy and justice. After Avaaz flew a 280-square-metre banner over an Mbeki-chaired United Nations meeting,
South Africa finally called for the release of elections results. In April, trade unions and civil society groups including Avaaz led a successful campaign to block a Chinese arms shipment to Zimbabwe. Now, as the crisis accelerates, our voices matter more than ever -- we can send
an electronic wave of red cards to Johannesburg and bolster the efforts of on-the-ground advocates pressing for change.

Join the global outcry now, and then pass this message along!

With hope,

Ben, Alice, Ricken, Brett, Paul, Iain, Pascal, Graziela, Veronique, and
Milena -- the team

PS: For a report on Avaaz's campaigning so far, see:

PSS: Here are links to sources for this alert:

"Zimbabwe: Mugabe set to keep power amid rumours of breakaway deal" -

Guardian, 14 August 2008

Information on the march - COSATU / SW Radio Africa

"South Africa: Unions Bid to Halt Zimbabwe Arms Ship" - Business Day
(Johannesburg), 22 April 2008

"No arms for Zimbabwe" - Avaaz campaign

Tuesday, 12 August 2008

Oppose Neo-Nazi march through Berlin immigrant district on 23rd August 2008

Message from Priya Shah

The Neo-Nazis are marching through the largest immigrant district in Berlin - Neukoelln on 23rd August. They will march towards the site of a new Hindu temple as they believe symbols of this nature attack 'German' culture. How can the Berlin authorities permit this? Surely the symbol of Naziism is the largest provocation of all?!

I am attempting to get together enough people to put pressure on the Berlin authorities to ban this march. There'll be more information shortly on what you can do to prevent this from taking place. At this stage, we need both local and international solidarity and:

1: press contacts (international)
2: Individuals to distribute flyers in Berlin
3: people to write to and email the Berliner senate and police department (details to follow)
4: additional strategy advice/other support

Contact Info

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

The South Korean government has issued arrest warrants for the leaders of the country's trade union movement.

FYI (from Andy Hewett)

A reminder that the repression of Trades Unions and workers' rights is not only a past time favoured in the UK and that our struggle is indeed an international one.

----- Forwarded Message ----From:

Sent: Tuesday, 5 August, 2008 9:52:31 PM

Subject: August - a good month for crushing a labour movementAugust is a time when many of you (particularly those living in thenorthern hemisphere) are on vacation. Thousands of you won't even seethis message until you come back to work.If I were the leader of a country intent on crushing an independent trade union movement, this would be a good time to do so. The out cry around the world will be limited. After all, it's August.

About ten days ago, the South Korean government issued arrest warrants for the leaders of the country's trade union movement. Among those named were the President, Vice President and General Secretaryof the Korean Confederation of Trade Unions (KCTU), as well as leaders of affiliated unions. The KCTU Vice President was arrested by police and she's now being held at the Youngdeungpo Police Station.The others are still at large. Police have encircled the unionheadquarters in Seoul.

The "crime" these trade union leaders are accused of committing is this:

in early July, they called for a general strike. The South Korean government, in defiance of universally recognized human rights standards (including ILO conventions) has decided that this strike was illegal.The KCTU has asked us all to take a moment and send off a strong message of protest to the South Korean government. LabourStart has launched a major new online campaign to do precisely that.

Please go here now to send off your message:

If you are on Facebook, sign also up the new Cause we've created,here:

Time is of the essence and we need to mobilize thousands of our fellow trade unionists very quickly. I know that I can count on all of you.
Thank you
Eric Lee

NEWS FROM THE GREEN PARTY of England and Wales LGBT GROUP 5/8/2008

LGBT Greens launch petition to push Urgent review of Home Office approaches to LGBT asylum

Calls for instruction, training and guidance for all asylum staff

Phelim Mac Cafferty, media spokesperson for LGBT Greens stated

"After much campaigning on the issue since the cases of Iranian LGBT asylum seekers Pegah Emembakhsh and Mehdi Kazemi came to light, we have got clearance from the web team on the Prime Minister' website for our petition.

We now challenge the government to start treating LGBT asylum seekers with the fairness that they deserve. These are people who have often fled persecution, rape and torture who flee to our country and our response is to lock them up like criminals. We say enough is enough of this inhumane policy- we need to stick our necks out now and stand up for LGBT asylum seekers."

The full text of the petition is at and below-

In the light of the cases of Pegah Emembakhsh and Mehdi Kazemi, Iranian LGBT asylum seekers, who sought asylum in the UK , we call upon the Prime Minister for an urgent review of the services provided for all LGBT asylum seekers. In particular we think that the following are needed for fair treatment -

1. Compulsory training for all asylum staff on sexual-orientation and trans-awareness.

2. Explicit instructions to all immigration and asylum staff, and asylum judges, that homophobic and transphobic persecution are legitimate grounds for granting asylum.

3. Clearer and up-to-date guidance from the Home Office for asylum judges to reflect the accurate scale of LGBT persecution throughout the world using expert information from NGOs like Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

4. Legal-aid funding for asylum claims needs to be substantially increased.


Notes for Editors:

For further information, please contact Phelim Mac Cafferty Media spokesperson for the LGBT Group on 07765 474 621

Climate Change Condensed and 'How to win the climate change argument in a 15 minute tea break'

Climate Change Condensed Monday 15th September 4:30 – 8:00pm

This is the first course in Britain created specially for trade union members that covers ‘all you need to know about climate change’ in just three hours. There is plenty of discussion and debate along the way. You are guided through the issues by videos of experts – including scientists, campaigners and TU activists.

The workshop covers the causes and impacts of climate change, the need for adaptation, the
scientific and political consensus, the international carbon budget, large-scale solutions and carbon emissions. It also asks questions like:

What should the TU movement be going for in negotiations?

How should the movement respond to a low carbon future?

How can trade unionists obtain the benefit of the low carbon future?
'How to win the climate change argument in a 15 minute tea break'
Monday 22nd September 4:30 - 8:00pm

How do you persuade colleagues that climate change is real and serious?

How do you overcome denial?

"It's all China's fault". "They just want to put up taxes". "The real reason for climate change is
solar flares, I saw that programme last year".

This course arms you with ways to respond to these views. You work together to develop powerful arguments for action. The course pays particular attention to finding ways to
respond to people who either just don’t want to believe in climate change or don’t want to
act on it.

Please apply for form to
COIN, The Old Music Hall, 106 - 109 Cowley Road
Oxford OX4 1JE or email

The venue:
PCS learning centre, Douglas Houghton House,
231 Vauxhall Bridge Road, LONDON SW1V 1EH
Tel: 020 7801 2700

RMT members at Tube Lines to be balloted for strike action over pay

(with acknowledgements to Phelim MacCafferty)

London 's biggest Tube union RMT is balloting members at Tube Lines for industrial action over pay following an offer that would have left them worse off than colleagues working for Metronet and London Underground.

"RMT is determined that Tube Line members don't fall behind in terms of rates of pay and conditions of service with other colleagues on the Tube netork," said RMT general secretary Bob Crow today.

He said that since the introduction of the PPP contracts, Tube Lines had made enormous profits and could find the money for a similar deal already reached on the Tube network.

"Despite this, they have tabled an inferior pay offer this year, made no movement on improving annual leave and continue to keep the door closed to the pension fund and full travel facilities for newer employees," Bob Crow said.

Tube Lines ballot papers go out on Monday August 4 and the ballot closes on August 13

Sunday, 3 August 2008

Councils to meet unions but say 'pay offer is final': Benefits such as hours and leave on the negotiation agenda

*writes Daniel Lombard*

Council employers are willing to discuss a "wide range of conditions" with union leaders in a second round of negotiations but maintain that 2.45% is their final pay offer. Benefits such as annual and maternity leave and flexible hours are likely to be on the agenda when Unison and Unite return to the table with employers on 13 August, following the two-day strike on 16 and 17 July across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

The negotiations come despite union leaders having threatened a "sustained and escalating" programme of strikes to force employers to increase their offer, which is just under half the current retail price index inflation level of 4.6% .

A Local Government Employers spokesperson said negotiations would be "focused on a wide range of conditions, but the line in the sand from our side is that in terms of pay, the offer of 2.45% is final". He added that negotiations were likely to be confined to this year's pay deal, despite employers' wish to conclude pay deals for 2009-10 and 2010-11 by the end of this year. The unions will review their strategy in September.

Heather Wakefield, head of local government at Unison, refused to rule out further industrial action if talks broke down, but said this may stop short of strikes, a position echoed by Peter Allenson, Unite's national secretary for the public sector. This suggests a work-to-rule strategy may be pursued if talks broke down. Wakefield added: "Conditions such as annual leave, maternity leave, and family-friendly hours are the worst in the public sector. I can't say I'm optimistic because I don't know what [the employers] are going to say, but we want to ensure that local government is no longer the poor relation of the public sector." Allenson said: "We're going into these talks with optimism. We're still fighting for an improved offer as well as improved conditions."

More on this story
(With thanks to Alan Wheatley)

Rochester 3/8/2008; Demo against a new coal fired Kingsnorth power station

Marchers assembling near Rochester's famous minimalist mural

The landgoing galleon of the climate caravan.

Medway Trades Council banner

A Principal Speaker speaking.

Green agitator Hewett gloats as one of his slogans is hoisted on its own placard.

Phil Wilkinson (GMB) speaks for Medway Trades Council in support of the demo

Caroline Lucas speaks to the rally.

An avocado fuelled power station is what we advocate!

Phil Thornhill (Camapign Against Climate Change) speaks to the rally.

I wasn't the only one taking photos.

The march moves off