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A selection of past newsletters, events and campaign issues



CATP meeting for supporters will be at the Exmouth Arms, Starcross St, NW1 on Monday, 21 April 7-8.30p.m. (Euston Br and Euston Square tube)




Campaign Against Tube Privatisation Newsletter : March 2008

 

Chair: John Leach

Secretary; Oliver New

 

Giving you the facts that Passengers are not told : TODAY.....INCONVENIENT DELAYS:

 


TOMORROW PASSENGERS COULD BE IN DANGER

 The Rail Unions, RMT and TSSA, are in dispute with Tube bosses over a raft of safety and staffing issues which they say will affect staff and passengers: staff are being balloted for action. RMT General Secretary, Bob Crow said, "Each of these issues is serious in its own right, but together they amount to a fundamental and unacceptable attack on safety standards and the casualisation of safety-critical work."




Read on to find out why CATP agrees that passenger safety is threatened.

 

The two rail unions have told London Underground that the proposed closure of 40 ticket offices with cuts in opening hours for many more, as well as de-staffing, the introduction of "mobile supervisors", the use of private agency and security staffing, the "simplification" of emergency plans and guidelines and other proposals mean serious risk to the safety of tube passengers as well as staff. CATP supports the rail unions´ campaign. What has led to this situation?

 

Last year London Underground announced proposals to close 40 ticket offices and cuts in opening times for many dozens more, knowing full well the enormous queues passengers currently face. Many stations would be left without any uniformed staff except at the busiest of times...a mugger´s paradise! But last year joint campaigning by the RMT, TSSA with the support of CATP and passengers throughout London got these proposals put postponed. But, after further discussion, London Underground has refused to withdraw its plans to shut our ticket offices.

 

Safety levels reduced

 

Now London Underground (LU) has also decided to unilaterally vary the emergency plans and guidelines by removing the section which specifies the minimum number of each grade of station staff that are on duty at any time. Under the guise of "simplification", LU has also changed its policy regarding the circumstances when staff, including tube drivers, can refuse to work on grounds of safety. Tube passengers are already tired of hearing delays being announced "due to staff shortages" (among other reasons); that is grossly inconvenient. But paring down staff below agreed safety levels is downright hazardous! LU also wants to introduce "mobile supervisors" responsible for several stations at once and to staff previously Silverlink stations only during the limited hours decided by the previous franchise-holder. But what happens in an emergency when the itinerant supervisor is in the wrong place or stuck between stations on a train?

 

Sub contractors staffing stations in London Underground uniforms

 

LU wants Tube staff for the new Terminal 5 Heathrow station to be sub-contracted from other firms, but wearing LU uniform. Indeed, LU wants to continue using agency staffing at former Silverlink stations The above matters of creeping privatisation are just some of LU´s demands. As passengers, we need every station properly-staffed by the appropriate number of directly-employed, fully-trained staff, supervised by station supervisors in line with agreements and agreed safety requirements.

 

Our Money Wasted.... while privateers rake in the profit and cleaners are on poverty wages

 

If the current dispute embraces creeping privatisation and risky cost-cutting, we note the dire waste of public money while Metronet remains in administration. The original target date of mid-January for its return to the public sector under direct Transport for London control has been missed. The government estimated the first 6 months of administration from July last year cost £345.5million, over and above Metronet´s share of around £1billion in "infrastructure service charge" paid out to the to the Tube privateers each year. With another £14.4 million being swallowed up every week, the cost will pass £500million if the Metronet contracts remain in administration on April 2. (So some of its shareholders are still making a handsome profit from the public purse out of contracts they effectively awarded themselves) .The longer the Metronet contracts stay in administration, the bigger the threat to the essential Tube upgrades London badly needs. Meanwhile, the East London Line was shut down in December for extensive refurbishment (to open again in 2010) when Ken Livingstone will have sold it off to be run by several private companies. And all this time railway cleaners are still not even earning the minimum required to live in London ... Ken Livingstone´s London Living Wage of £7.20 an hour With the mayoral and GLA elections in view, passengers will wish to question all candidates about these important issues.






Greg Tucker

RMT members learned with great sadness of the untimely death on Sunday 6 April 2008 of Greg Tucker, Secretary of RMT´s Waterloo branch since 1993 and of the Union´s National Conference of Train Crews & Shunting Grades since 1992.

Greg had suffered a malignant throat cancer diagnosed over a year ago and was admitted to St Thomas´ Hospital on Saturday afternoon where he died some hours later.

As well as being a leading socialist activist for over 30 years, including a period in the 1980s when he served as a local government councillor as part of the ruling Labour group in Lambeth, south London and subsequently following expulsion from the Labour Party when he became a founding member and parliamentary candidate in Streatham for the Socialist Alliance in 2001, Greg Tucker played a crucial role in the emergence of RMT as a democratic, fighting, industrial trade union following the NUR-NUS merger in 1990.

"I am proud of the role that I have played in building one of the best parts of one of the most progressive, fighting democratic unions in this country" - Greg Tucker, 31 March 2008

Greg joined British Rail as a member of Platform staff at Vauxhall station in 1980 later becoming a Guard first at Clapham Yard and then at Waterloo depot. Following the 1988 Traincrew Agreement between BR and the trade unions Greg became part of the first tranche of Guards to become Train Drivers. Along with several of his generation who cut their trade union teeth as Guards in the 1980s, Greg maintained a fierce loyalty and commitment to industrial trade unionism through the NUR and from 1990 the RMT.

In 1992 Greg was elected Secretary of RMT7acute;s newly formed National Conference of Train Crews & Shunting Grades, which merged the former Locomotive Grades with the Guards & Shunters Grades Conference. In a recent letter addressed to RMT Conference delegates less than a week before his death, he wrote: "I am proud of the role that I have played in building one of the best parts of one of the most progressive, fighting democratic unions in this country."

Greg Tucker believed strongly in the common interests of all workers, but specifically in the need for Train Drivers to defend Guards´ safety and operational responsibilities against the encroachment of Driver Only Operation train services as BR sought to slash jobs and wage costs in preparation for privatisation.

Already a leading figure within RMT as a delegate at numerous AGMs during the 1990s Greg campaigned against rail privatisation. In 1999 Greg Tucker stood as candidate for General Secretary of RMT. Although unsuccessful this was an indication of the prominent position on the left that he occupied within our union. Greg was elected onto RMT´s Council of Executives for the period of office 1997 to 1998 where he distinguished himself by winning a successful strike ballot by RMT Guards and Driver members against plans by South West Trains to introduce Driver Only Operation trains on their suburban services.

Following SWT´s climb down and promise to withdraw DOO equipment, which they had recently purchased and begun installing at great expense, RMT´s General Grades Committee at Greg´s insistence forced SWT´s Managing Director to sign an affidavit to the effect that the DOO plan was withdrawn, a humiliation which SWT always remembered. It is Greg´s great legacy that SWT train services remain DOO-free with a Guard on every train in passenger service today.

On 10 June 2001, following his return to work after standing for the Socialist Alliance in a parliamentary General Election campaign in Streatham against sitting Labour MP, Keith Hill, Greg became the latest victim of SWT management who sought to sack him as a Train Driver and permanently exclude him from any safety critical position. Greg fought the victimisation and triumphed at his Employment Tribunal, which found: "the dismissal was part of a concerted manoeuvre involving several influential members of the Respondents´ management". Commenting on the veracity of the SWT managers the Tribunal noted: &quote;Like that of Mr Cook, and in striking contrast with the frank and straightforward testimony of the Applicant [Mr Tucker], we found much of Mr Marsden´s evidence incredible, and some of it risible."

At the 19th National Conference of Train Crews & Shunting Grades held in York on 1 to 3 April 2008, delegates unanimously and with acclaim carried the following resolution:

Recognition of Brother Greg Tucker

"This Conference thanks Brother Greg Tucker for his long-standing service as Secretary of the Train crew & Shunting Grades Conference.
Greg is a tireless advocate for the members we represent, a proven fighter for our class and a good friend to us all. This Conference pays its deepest and most sincere thanks for his contribution and commitment to our movement and we send our best wishes to him and his family.
We agree to hold a minute´s applause in appreciation of the role Greg has played in our trade union. Furthermore we agree to send flowers to Greg and Joan.
Viva Greg Tucker!"

The Funeral: will take place from 12.30-13.30 on Wednesday, 16 April 2008 at West Norwood Crematorium and Cemetery, Norwood Road, West Norwood, London SE27 9JU. Tel: 020 7926 7900. Just 5 minutes walk from West Norwood train station. Buses 2, 68, 196, 315, 322 and 468 stop outside.

A Wake to Celebrate the Life of Greg Tucker: Greg´s many friends, workmates and comrades are welcome to join his family at the funeral and are also invited to attend a celebration of Greg´s life following the funeral from 13.30 hrs at The Bread & Roses Pub, 68 Clapham Manor St, London SW4 6DZ.

Alex Gordon
Monday, 7 April 2008




London Underground´s East London Line closed on 22nd December 2007 for major engineering works and extension. Unfortunately, the Mayor and the Government have decided that it will re-open as a Privatised Line, run by a private profit making company. Tube privatisation is opposed by 75% of Londoners - not surprising since we are paying the bill through a massive public subsidy to the privatised rail companies, both Underground and Overground.





Bring rail back under UK Government control, Green Party Conference (17th Feb 2008), calls to re-nationalise British railways


This conference welcomes the recent transfer into government ownership of some of the rail freight and passenger train operating companies. However, conference regrets that the government now responsible for some of our rail services is not the UK government but are the governments of Germany, France and Netherlands. It is bizarre that a Labour government, that used to be committed to a publicly owned and accountable railway, is now content to see this country's railways run by foreign governments that are not accountable to UK citizens. This conference calls upon Green Party executive to write to the government to demand that the UK government takes back into public ownership all aspects of the railways as soon as possible so that our railways can be owned by and be accountable to UK citizens.