WHAT ARE THE RULES by chenmeixiu


									ISSUE NUMBER 4, VOLUME 6                                                 MAY 2005

Essential reading for today’s transport worker

                                                 INSIDE THIS ISSUE...

                                                       TRAIN CREW VOTE TO
                                                       ‘SAVE OUR RAILWAYS’
                                                       PAGE 14

RMT campaigns for national standards
                                                       FIGHTING DISCRIMINATION
                                                       AGAINST SEAFARERS
                                                       PAGE 18

Rail Against Privatisation
4 page pull-out inside!
                                                       TRADE UNION HEROES-
                                                       THE TOLPUDDLE MARTYRS
                                                       PAGE 20

    RMTnews   :: may 2005

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                                                                                                 may 2005 ::     RMTnews

                                                                      LISTEN TO THE
                                                                      VOICE OF
Page 4
Page 7
                                 “W        hat you people have to
                                           understand is that the future is
                                 about service cuts and fares increases”
                                                                                to look at fairer electoral systems such
                                                                                proportional representation to ensure that
                                                                                peoples opinions are reflected in who
SCOTTISH TUC CONDEMNS FERRY      This is how the Department of Transport’s      gets elected.
PRIVATISATION                    director of rail, Mark Lambirth, reportedly        The time has also come not just to
Page 8                           described the future to senior industry        listen to but to act on the concerns of
THE FACTS ABOUT FARE PRICES      figures.                                       working people.
                                     At the same time, a “strategic review”         That means the only legitimate war is
Page 9                           of Northern Rail has been launched             a war on poverty.
PARLIAMENTARY COLUMN             which threatens to slash essential local           It means public services in public
                                 services.                                      hands and no more taxpayers’ money to
Page 10
                                     These are just some of the reasons         subsidise privateers’ profits.
                                 why RMT launched the Rail Against                  It means taking action to reverse the
                                 Privatisation campaign to bring Britain’s      dangerous decline in UK shipping jobs
Page 12                          railways back into public ownership.           that threatens Britain’s status as a
ENGINEERING CONFERENCE -             The overwhelming majority of people        maritime nation.
TOWARDS NATIONAL BARGAINING      want to get back on track to reduce                It means ditching for good any plans
                                 pollution by increasing the use of rail,       to privatise Scotland’s lifeline Caledonian
Page 14                          bus and other environmentally friendly         MacBrayne ferry services.
TRAIN CREW - SAVE OUR RAILWAYS   transport modes at affordable fares.               It means ensuring that working people
Page 16                              We have seen the benefits of public        get a decent standard of living in
YOUNG MEMBERS MEET               ownership since South Eastern Trains was       retirement and acting to end attacks on
                                 taken back into public ownership, after        pension rights
Page 17                          Connex was kicked off the franchise.               And it means making real progress on
SAVE THE OLDHAM LOOP                 Services on SET have improved              workers’ rights and bringing Britain’s
                                 steadily, staffing levels and morale are up    labour legislation back on the right side
Page 18
                                 and it’s costing the taxpayer £1 million a     of international law.
                                 month less in subsidy.                             Drug and alcohol testing has been a
Pages 20                             Rail privatisation continues to be a       controversial issue since its introduction
TOLPUDDLE MARTYRS                disaster and is leading to a continuing        over ten years ago. This union does not
                                 spiral of lack of investment and service       condone the use of drugs and alcohol on
Page 22                          cuts. The government’s Railway Act now         the job, yet the number of incidents
UNION LEARNING FUND              poses a threat to the very existence of        involving incapacity due to drugs and
Page 24                          rural branch lines with the imposition of      alcohol remains very low.
TONY BENN SAYS NO THE EU         so-called Community projects.                      Nevertheless, increased testing is being
CONSTITUTION                         RAP got the arguments for                  aggressively pursued by employers
                                 renationalisation into the public arena        without consultation with this union, and
Page 25                          during the recent general election and         there are worrying sign that it is being
PRESIDENT’S COLUMN               put candidates on the spot.                    increasingly used as a stick to beat staff
                                     The results of that election should give   and even to target and intimidate union
Page 26
                                 a sharp warning to the government that         reps.
                                 it is time to listen to the concerns of            The time has come for national
Page 27                          working people – the genuine voice of          standards which take into account the
WOMEN’S PAGE                     labour.                                        reality on the ground. Employers need to
                                     Britain has clearly shown that it          support staff, not treat them like
Page 28                          doesn’t want a Tory government, but the        criminals.
BOOK REVIEW                      huge dent in Labour’s majority and the             Fianally, in line with our policy of
Page 29                          huge number of voters staying at home          continually improving services, I hope
CLASSIFIED/LETTER/PRIZE          show that Britain doesn’t want a Labour        you enjoy your new-look RMT news.
CROSSWORD                        government pursuing Tory policies either.
                                     Labour’s vote went down to 36 per             Best wishes
Page 30                          cent due to the illegal war on Iraq and
HOW TO JOIN THE CREDIT UNION     the implementation of Tory policies of
                                 privatisation and cuts. The time has come

    RMTnews    :: may 2005

    LONDON                                                                   RECOGNITION
                                                                             DEAL FOR
    CALLING!                                                                 EUROSTAR
    Interested in paid                                                       SECURITY
    telephone work?                                                          GUARDS
                                                                             RMT has just been awarded full union recognition
    RMT is looking for people to         service will also be used to        for 200 security guards working on the Eurostar
    undertake paid telephone work        contact members on various          contract located at Waterloo International, the North
    at Unity House to encourage          issues including missing            Pole depot and Ashford.
    people to contact lapsed             membership detail etc.
    members to encourage them to            Anyone applying should           They were employed by Securitas until recently
    rejoin the union.                    have a knowledge of RMT and         when they were TUPED over to Chubb.
        Earlier in the year, the union   possess strong telephone
    made use of a trade-union            communication skills. The work      RMT won recognition thanks to a lot of great work
    friendly call centre, based in       will be on a casual basis for       by local rep Billy Kelly and Eurostar Passenger
    Edinburgh, to contact lapsed         around £10 per hour for a three-    Services branch secretary Mick Lynch.
    members. This proved to be a         hour shift each night, although
                                                                             “They never gave up during this two-year battle to
    great success, with a large          this has yet to be finalised.
    number of members rejoining             The Call Centre will be set up   win RMT recognition for guards performing security
    the union.                           with advice from a manager at       in the rail industry,” said Alan Pottage of the union’s
        As a consequence, RMT            the centre in Edinburgh and full    organising unit.
    wants to carry out a trial in-       training will be provided.
    house call centre, based at Unity
    House, outside of normal                If you know of anyone who
    working hours, operating a few       would be interested, please write
    evenings each month. The             to either of:

      Alan Pottage                          Peter Waters
      RMT National Organising Manager       RMT Membership Manager
      Maritime House (Side Entrance)        Unity House
      Clapham Old Town                      39 Chalton Street
      London SW4 0JW                        London NW1 1JD

                                                                  Members Helpline
                                                                  Freephone 0800 376 3706
                                                                  Open six days a week 8am until 6pm

                                                                  e-mail: info@rmt.org.uk

                                                                  Legal helpline: 0800 587 7516
                                                                  Seven days a week

                                                                                                                               may 2005 ::     RMTnews

HUNDREDS of RMT members at                 RMT general secretary Bob               that they are no longer prepared     round the table with us and
Initial City Link took strike           Crow said that the company had             to tolerate City Link pay rates      thrash out a decent settlement,"
action for 24 hours earlier this        rewarded members' contribution             that in some cases barely            Bob Crow said.
month after the company                 to the growth of its profits with          register above the minimum               The dispute involves Initial
compounded low pay in the               a “shameful, indecent and                  wage,” he said.                      City Link staff at Ashford,
company by imposing a below-            frankly unacceptable pay cut".                 RMT's drive to end low pay       Cardiff, Carlisle, Exeter, London
inflation wage increase.                   "Our members have indicated             has struck a chord among Initial     Central, London North, London
                                                                                   City Link workers, and               South, Heston, Norwich, Park
                                                                                   membership levels have grown         Royal, Plymouth, Rochester,
                                                                                   substantially.                       Swansea, Tonbridge and
                                                                                       The union has made it clear      Sunbury.
                                                                                   to the company that it was              Current basic pay rates for
                                                                                   happy to talk, but imposing a        drivers range from £4.97 an
                                                                                   pay cut would not help.              hour – which will be below the
                                                                                       "If Rentokil-Initial really is   new national minimum wage of
                                                                                   committed to high standards of       £5.05 due in October – for the
                                                                                   behaviour in relation to all its     lowest-paid at Swansea to £6.71
                                                                                   employees,' as it claims to be on    an hour for the highest paid at
                                                                                   its website, then it will make       Ashford, Norwich and
                                                                                   sure that City Link management       Tonbridge. In London the rates
                                                                                   accept the need to abolish           are between £6.09 and £6.50 an
                                                                                   below-subsistence pay, get           hour.

   Transport for London staff strike                                                      STRIKE AT ‘ONE’
   HUNDREDS of RMT members at Transport for London took strike action                         NEARLY 300 conductors ticket examiners and revenue
   earlier this month over the breakdown in industrial relations after voting             protection inspectors at train operating company One will
   by a margin of six to one for action.                                                  strike on Saturday May 21 and Tuesday June 7 over the
   Around 230 members working in TfL’s call centre and information centres,               company’s failure to offer a new technology payment for
   the London Transport Museum, office staff and as revenue control                       the introduction of new Avantix ticketing machines.
   inspectors, bus controllers and staff instructors took action following the                The company accepts that the machines will initially
   failure to resolve a series of disputes.                                               slow revenue collection, and that will affect staff income.
                                                                                              RMT general secretary Bob Crow said that it was a
   These include the introduction of a new
                                                                                          mystery why One was refusing to agree a deal as other
   attendance and disciplinary a code
   without consultation; failure to consult                                               National Express subsidiaries had already made payments
   call-centre staff over a move to a                                                     for the introduction of these machines.
   temporary new base – which members                                                         .“In the long run the company stands to make
   believe is the first step to exporting the                                             enormous gains and it is only right that the workforce
   call-centre work overseas; redundancy of                                               should share in them.
   Transport Museum staff and failure to                                                      “The company’s offer of one per cent on commission
   resolve outstanding safety issues                                                      for 12 weeks is unlikely to cover our members’ lost
   concerning revenue control inspectors.                                                 income, and means that the workforce is effectively being
                                                                                          asked to subsidise the introduction of new technology,” he
   RMT made it clear that it was prepared
   to talk to resolve the situation and told     PICKET: TfL staff picketed TfL               The union has been negotiating since last October, and
   TfL that it would would achieve nothing       headquarters at Windsor House,
   by “burying its head in the sand”..           Victoria Street, and LUL
                                                                                          has already suspended a ballot to allow further talks to
                                                 headquarters at 55 The Broadway          take place, but One have not budged so far.

    RMTnews   :: may 2005

    TOM DOES A                                                                            Yvonne’s
    MARATHON                             VETERAN RMT member Tom Angus
                                         ran the London Marathon in five
                                                                                          RMT member Yvonne Scarrott
                                                                                          ran the London marathon for
                                                                                          'Kith and Kids', a London based
                                                                                          charity for disabled children and
                                                                                          young people.
                                         hours 45 minutes last month in aid
                                         of the union’s orphan fund.                         This was her third Marathon
                                            After months of training, Tom                 and she achieved a personal best
                                         completed the gruelling 25 mile                  of three hours 18 minutes,
                                         event in order to raise hundreds of              beating her previous personal
                                         pounds for the orphaned children of              best of three hours 54 minutes.
                                         union members.
                                            Tom complained, with a hint of
                                         irony, that it had not been a fair
                                         race as Paula Radcliffe had started
                                         nearly an hour earlier.
                                            “I had no chance of catching her
                                         up after that,” he said.

                                         If you or your branch wants to donate to the
                                         orphan fund make cheques payable to RMT
                                         orphan fund and send to Unity House, 39
                                         Chalton Street, London NW1 1JD

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                            Home visits and telephone appointments can be
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                                19 South St. Mary's                             Tel. 01472 311711
                            Gate Grimsby, North East                         www.bridgemcfarland.co.uk
                             Lincolnshire DN31 1JE                            e-mail jrb@bmcf.co.uk

                                                                                                                       may 2005 ::   RMTnews

                                         STUC CONGRESS
                                         CONDEMNS FERRY
STUC congress condemn Scottish Executive's attempts to privatise the
essential lifeline ferry services operated on the Clyde and to the
Western Isles by Caledonian MacBrayne
RMT SCOTTISH regional organiser Phil                RMT general secretary Bob Crow recalled         Rail nationalisation was agreed at Labour
McGarry said that maritime unions and the        that rail privatisation had been carried out    conference last year, Bob pointed out.
STUC are working tirelessly along with the       in line with an EU directive on separating         "If it's Labour Party policy, how come it
island communities to halt the tendering         infrastructure from train operations and        doesn't go in the manifesto?" he asked,
process.                                         forcing "competition" on to the railways.       stressing that it would help Labour's other
    "There are clear alternatives to tendering      This approach had also been behind the       policies and bring in more money to invest
the services, as shown in the report by          demand to privatise the CalMac ferry            in health and education.
economist Jeannette Findlay of Glasgow           services in Scotland, Mr Crow pointed out.
University," he noted.                              He told conference that he felt that he
    "Let's send a clear message from this        had to lie down in a dark room after
congress. CalMac is not for sale - lifeline      hearing Transport Secretary Alistair
public services must stay in public hands."      Darling's speech.
    On the launch of the RAP campaign,              "Yesterday, Alistair Darling told you he
congress also unanimously backed calls for       wasn't going to renationalise the railways -
renationalisation and for specific powers for    and you applauded him at the end of his
the Scottish Executive to take the country's     speech," noted Mr Crow.
passenger services back under public                "You should have told him to go and get
control.                                         stuffed," he added, to laughter and applause.   STUC delegation at Dundee

  You have the right
  to be accompanied
  at Investigatory
  AN article in a Labour Research
  publication recently cast doubt on
  whether members could insist on being
  accompanied at an investigatory hearing.
      However, the right to be accompanied
  was established by RMT at an
  Employment Appeal Tribunal and as far
  as the union is concerned this right still
      Some managers may now refuse to
  allow members to have a representative
  in attendance. Therefore, the
  memorandum reproduced here has been
  sent to branches so that members can use
  it if necessary.
      Copies of the letter can also be
  obtained by phoning the RMT helpline.

    RMTnews   :: may 2005

    RMT REVEALS                                         ALL COUNTRY ANNUAL SECOND-CLASS FARES
                                                                                                         2,026.5 Euros, all zones in the Netherlands
                                                                                                         3,000 Euros, unlimited travel throughout Germany

    THE FACTS                                           CITY REGIONAL FARES
                                                        Paris 'Carte Integrale'        £946.49           E1,387.2 zones 1-8 approx 20-mile radius

                                                        approx 20 miles radius
                                                        Madrid Annual C2 Zones         £507.36           E743.6 approx 40-mile radius
                                                        Berlin                         £818.76           cE1,200, approx 40-mile radius
                                                        London Zones 1-6               £1,580.00         approx 15-mile radius

    PRICES UNDER                                        ANNUAL SEASON TICKETS 2005

                                                        STATION                   MILES      COST
                                                                                                             Yearly £ per
                                                                                                             return miles    % Germany      % N’lands

    PRIVATISATION                                       Apsley
                                                        Ashwell & Morden
                                                        Basildon                  24         £1,860.00       £38.8           91%            135%

    Fares in London                                     Bayford
                                                        Bletchley                 46         £2,840.00       £30.9           139%           205%

    and South East up                                   Bracknell
                                                        Brookmans Pk
                                                        Bushey                    15         £1,692.00       £56.4           83%            122%
    to three times as                                   Cambridge

    expensive as other                                  Downham Market
                                                        E Grinstead

    European                                            Garston
                                                        Grays                     19         £1,512.00       £39.8           74%            109%

    conurbations                                        Hatfield
                                                        Haywards Hth
                                                        Hemel Hempstead
                                                        Hertford N                18         £2,024.00       £56.2           99%            146%
    SEASON TICKETS and travel cards in other European   Hitchin                   31         £2,748.00       £44.3           134%           199%
                                                        Huntingdon                58         £3,432.00       £29.6           168%           248%
    conurbations cost a fraction of those in London     Kempston Hardwick         58         £3,264.00       £28.1           159%           236%
    and the South East, a new RMT study has             Kings Lynn                96         £3,956.00       £20.6           193%           286%
                                                        Knebworth                 25         £2,340.00       £46.8           114%           169%
    revealed.                                           Leigh-on-Sea              32         £2,224.00       £34.8           109%           161%
        Released during the RMT Rail Against            Leighton B’rd             40         £2,816.00       £35.2           138%           204%
                                                        Letchworth                33         £2,924.00       £44.3           143%           211%
    Privatisation campaign, the study shows that in     Littleport                76         £3,452.00       £22.7           169%           250%
    the Netherlands and Germany, commuters can          Maidenhead                24         £2,140.00       £44.6           105%           155%
    buy an annual go-anywhere ticket for £1,382.68      Maidstone                 39         £2,492.00       £31.9           122%           180%
                                                        Meldreth                  47         £3,136.00       £33.4           153%           227%
    and £2,046.90 respectively – compared with cost     Milton K’nes              49         £3,284.00       £33.5           160%           238%
    of a season into London from Milton Keynes, at      Newark                    120        £6,068.00       £25.3           296%           439%
                                                        Northampton               65         £3,536.00       £27.2           173%           256%
    £3,284, Huntingdon at £3,432, or Brighton, at       Peterborough              76         £4,988.00       £32.8           244%           361%
    £2,952.                                             (incl GNER)
                                                        Peterborough              76         £3,740.00       £24.6           183%           270%
        London travelcards also compare                 (WAGN only)
                                                        Potters Bar               12         £1,480.00       £61.7           72%            107%
    unfavourably with European neighbours, with         Purfleet                  15         £1,512.00       £50.4           74%            109%
    the cost in London, for travel in an approximate    Reading (any co)          35         £2,916.00       £41.7           142%           211%
    15-mile radius from the centre, at £1,580,          Royston                   43         £3,136.00       £36.5           153%           227%
                                                        Sandy                     44         £2,996.00       £34.0           146%           217%
    compared to Madrid (40-mile radius) at £510,        Shepreth                  48         £3,136.00       £32.7           153%           227%
    Berlin (40-mile radius) at £829 and Paris (20-      Shoeburyness              39         £2,392.00       £30.7           117%           173%
                                                        Southend                  35         £2,300.00       £32.9           112%           166%
    mile radius) at £950.                               St Albans Aby             23         £2,224.00       £48.3           109%           161%
        In the report, widely covered by the media,     St Neots                  51         £3,220.00       £31.6           157%           233%
                                                        Stevenage                 27         £2,560.00       £47.4           125%           185%
    the union pointed out that the private sector was   Thorpe Bay                37         £2,392.00       £32.3           117%           173%
    taking out a billion pounds a year from the         Tilbury Town              21         £1,512.00       £36.0           74%            109%
    railways and £2 million a week from the Tube.       Tring                     31         £2,816.00       £45.4           138%           204%
                                                        Waterbeach                61         £3,264.00       £26.8           159%           236%
        “Is it any wonder that commuters are paying     Watford Jctn              17         £2,064.00       £60.7           101%           149%
    through the nose for their season tickets?” RMT     Watlington                90         £3,788.00       £21.0           185%           274%
                                                        Watton-at-Stone           22         £2,208.00       £50.2           108%           160%
    general secretary Bob Crow said.                    Welham Grn                15         £1,728.00       £57.6           84%            125%
        “Commuters in European countries where the      Welwyn Garden City        20         £2,060.00       £51.5           101%           149%
                                                        Welwyn N                  22         £2,172.00       £49.4           106%           157%
    railways remain in public hands pay a fraction      Westcliff                 34         £2,300.00       £33.8           112%           166%
    of season ticket costs here.                        Woburn Sands              50         £3,264.00       £32.6           159%           236%
                                                        Wokingham                 36         £2,932.00       £40.7           143%           212%
        “The time has come to draw the line under       Wolverton                 52         £3,284.00       £31.6           160%           238%
    privatisation and bring our rail and Tube back
                                                        Prices converted at Euro = £0.6823
    into the public sector where they belong,” Bob
    Crow said.

                                                                                                                  may 2005 ::      RMTnews

MERSEYRAIL GUARDS SET FOUR                                              Parliamentary column
WEEK DISPUTE                                                                                Back to
RMT GUARDS at Merseyrail are
to strike on Saturday May 21,
                                        “The offer that emerged from
                                    the mediation process was
                                                                                            campaigning in
Saturday May 28, Friday June
10 and Saturday July 9 after
                                    essentially no different from the
                                    one they have already taken
decisively rejecting unacceptable
strings attached to the
                                    strike action over.
                                        “Merseyrail still want our      W    hen you examine the details of the election results
                                                                             constituency by constituency you will find that on average
                                                                        members of the RMT Parliamentary group gained better results at
company’s 35-hour week              members to pay for their 35-
proposals.                          hour week by losing rest days       the polls than most other Labour MPs.
    In a ballot of the 170          and they have found that just as    The reasons are obvious. In addition to the fantastic campaigning
members, the company’s offer        unacceptable now as it was in       support from the union and its membership, RMT parliamentary
was rejected by 104 votes to 13     March.                              candidates were campaigning on a clear programme of the
– a margin of eight to one.             “We have been waiting for       union’s policies which included public ownership of the rail
    “Our members have once          four years for this issue to be     industry, an end to privatisation, and decent pay, conditions and
more voted decisively to reject     resolved, and the company has       pensions.
an offer from Merseyrail that       no-one to blame but itself for      As the union’s national march proved, the demand for bringing rail
gives with one hand and takes       the disruption its intransigence    back into public ownership and control proved to be a popular
away with the other,” RMT           is causing,” he said.               issue on the doorstep. Opinion poll after opinion poll have
general secretary Bob Crow said.                                        demonstrated not only widespread support for this policy but also
                                                                        large scale opposition to privatisation not just in the rail industry
                                                                        but public services overall.
Centra Buses breach health                                              The question in this new Parliament is whether the government is

and safety rules to break strike                                        listening. In his first speech after the election result, the Prime
                                                                        Minister said that he would listen and learn from what was being
RMT reported ‘serious breaches’     for up to 24 hours, in clear        said on the doorsteps in the campaign. However, within days he
                                                                        announced that his third term in office would be “unremittingly
of safety rules by Centra Buses     contravention of driving hours
                                                                        New Labour” and he went on to appoint a series of ministers who
in the company’s attempt to         regulations.                        are drawn from a narrow circle of what can only be described as
break strike action in south           The union fears that Centra is   New Labour zealots, transferred in from the SDP or the Tory party.
London earlier this month by        placing the public in serious
employing unqualified agency        danger by flouting safety rules     The Prime Minister’s programme for the new session of
                                                                        Parliament set out in the Queen’s speech does not provide much
staff.                              rather than negotiate a
                                                                        evidence of a government listening or learning.
The union asked the health and      settlement to the dispute behind
safety inspectorate to pay an       the stoppage.                       Not only does it fail to address the question of public ownership
emergency visit to the Croydon         The RMT claim is for a basic     of the rail industry but it has a continuing and underlying theme of
depot over fears that agency        £500 weekly wage, equal             privatisation of public services. Even the justice system is now not
drivers without appropriate         contracts and pay for all           immune from the privatisation threat as the government has
                                                                        committed itself to further privatisation of the prisons and
passenger carrying vehicle          employees, no zero-hours
                                                                        probation service. In health and education services the use of the
licenses (PCVs) are being used      contracts, adequate annual
                                                                        private sector and the promotion of private control of services
by Centra.                          leave, sick-pay from day one of     threatening to gather momentum in the coming period.
    There were also reports that    employment, full rostered
agency drivers have been            earnings for victims of assaults,   Within the long list of legislation proposed in this session of
instructed to remain with           fair allocation of overtime and     Parliament which is to last 18 months there is little sign of the
                                                                        Warwick agreement reforms promised to the trade unions before
vehicles and available to drive     an end to victimisation.
                                                                        the election. Lurking behind the legislative programme is the
                                                                        continuing fear that the Government is to press ahead with the
                                                                        mass job cuts in the civil service and the planned reduction in
SUNDERLAND RAIL SERVICES UNDER THREAT                                   public sector pension benefits. In addition, the government is
RMT reacted angrily to the          happen exactly a year after the     proposing changes to incapacity benefits which will require close
                                                                        scrutiny if we are to head off cuts in benefits and the introduction
Strategic Rail Authority’s          Trans-Pennine Express services
                                                                        of a regime which will penalise the sick and disabled.
insistence that halving rail        from Sunderland to Manchester
services linking Sunderland and     York, Leeds and Liverpool were      Throughout this new session, the RMT Parliamentary group will
the Metro shopping Centre at        axed.                               continue to work with the union to monitor legislation and issues
Gateshead are ‘a good idea’.           “I am not sure what the city     as they progresses through Parliament and will be speaking up to
   RMT general secretary Bob        has done wrong, but it appears      represent the interests of RMT members, seeking to amend the
                                                                        legislation wherever possible and if necessary oppose anything
Crow slammed the drastic cut to     that the SRA is determined to
                                                                        which in our judgement and the judgement of the union
an important rail link, and         send Sunderland to Coventry,
                                                                        undermines the rights and quality of life of RMT members and
questioned how the SRA could        because year on year it is being    their families. RMT members can rest assured that our union will
describe it as a ‘good idea’.       isolated from the rest of the       have once again a strong and powerful voice in this Parliament.
   “It is even more astonishing     national rail network,” Bob said.
because the latest cut is due to                                                John McDonnell MP
                                                                                For Hayes and Harlington
                                                                                RMT Parliamentary group convenor

      Time for national
     standards for drug
     and alcohol testing

                                                                                                                        may 2005 ::      RMTnews

                                                                                                                 was used, it must provide an

                                                                                                                 accurate result so as to avoid
                                                                                                                 any member being falsely
                                                                                                                 accused and possibly losing
                                                                                                                 their jobs. This was eventually
                                                                                                                 agreed and a contract awarded
                                                                                                                 to the Health & Safety
                                                                                                                 Laboratory to carry out a study
                                                                                                                 of the various methods of drug
                                                                                                                 testing, and in particular the
                                                                                                                 efficacy of oral fluid/saliva
T    he application of drugs and
     alcohol testing has been seen
as a controversial issue since its
                                        Network Rail as a positive result
                                        invariably results in instant
                                        dismissal. Moreover, six Tube
                                                                             appropriate guidelines, leaving
                                                                             staff ignorant of procedures and
                                                                                                                     The outcome of that study
                                                                                                                 was recently considered by the
introduction on the railways            maintenance workers that tested         The selection process for
                                                                                                                 General Grades Committee. They
back in 1992.                           negative were still sacked by        random testing is also open to
                                                                                                                 noted that the accuracy of oral
    It is an offence under              Metronet last year after empty       question as private healthcare
                                                                                                                 fluid testing was largely
sections 27 and 28 of the               beer cans were found in a            providers often attend the
                                                                                                                 equivalent to that achieved
Transport and Works Act 1992            widely-used mess room.               nearest depot and test all the
                                                                                                                 through urine testing, but as the
for employees to carry out, and             Excessive waiting time for       staff that happen to be around
                                                                                                                 introduction of oral fluid testing
for employers to allow                  screening has also led to staff      rather than employing a more
                                                                                                                 could raise other concerns, it
employees to carry out safety           being held against their will        systematic method which would
                                                                                                                 was felt that Branches should be
critical tasks while under the          after the end of their shift and     be less open to abuse. This lack
                                                                                                                 sent a summary of the study
influence of drugs or alcohol.          the withholding of food and          of an objective process has also
                                                                                                                 findings and their views sought
    The union endorses the view         drink.                               led to allegations that trade
                                                                                                                 on the matter.
that coming to work under the               Other issues include a routine   union activists are being
                                                                                                                     In particular, the study
influence of drugs or alcohol is        lack of facilities for urine         disproportionately targeted for
                                                                                                                 highlighted the fact that the
unacceptable. However, it should        samples to be taken with dignity     drug and alcohol testing.
                                                                                                                 adoption of oral fluid testing
also be recognised that the             in private, leading to unhygienic
                                                                             FAIR TREATMENT                      could also affect the time
number of incidents involving           practices.
                                                                                                                 normally needed to obtain
drugs and alcohol at work are               Assistant general secretary      The union has requested
                                                                                                                 samples which may be far
very low.                               Mick Cash said that transport        meetings with Network Rail to
                                                                                                                 quicker and, therefore, may not
    Moreover, it has been widely        workers face some of the most        discuss all these concerns. RMT
                                                                                                                 need staff rosters to be altered.
reported that testing has been          stringent testing around,            general secretary Bob Crow has
                                                                                                                 Also, the time window for the
used as a stick to beat and             including unannounced testing        made clear that the manner in
                                                                                                                 detection of most drugs in oral
intimidate staff. Drug and              which was imposed by Network         which drug and alcohol policies
                                                                                                                 fluid is shorter than in urine,
alcohol policies are also reported      Rail 18 months ago without           were being carried out created a
                                                                                                                 and so may indicate a closer
to be applied in a draconian            consultation with the union.         lot of anger and undermined
                                                                                                                 relationship with actual
manner with little attention                He said that the problem was     confidence in the system.
                                                                                                                 impairment at the time of
being given to education and            not testing as such but the             “The present situation is
treatment.                              arbitrary and uneven way the         leading to a breakdown of
                                                                                                                     The different time windows
    Positive drug tests resulting       company had imposed the              consensus on this issue.
                                                                                                                 could also have implications
from over the counter                   policy.                                 “What is required are
                                                                                                                 where staff from different
medications that create little or           “The puritanical and heavy-      national standards underpinned
                                                                                                                 companies may work alongside
no relation to work performance         handed zeal with which these         by fair treatment of staff,” he
                                                                                                                 each other, but each of those
have also led to knee-jerk              tests are carried out are causing    said.
                                                                                                                 companies have different
dismissals.                             problems for staff,” he said.           Bob said that if there is no
                                                                                                                 methods of testing. In such a
    Last year’s report of the               Mick said that it appeared the   satisfactory outcome to the talks
                                                                                                                 situation, it is possible that
Independent Inquiry into Drug           principle driving Network Rail       then members will be consulted
                                                                                                                 workers having ingested the
Testing at Work concluded,              D&A policy, including the            and industrial action would not
                                                                                                                 same amount of
following an 18-month                   imposition of unannounced            be ruled out.
                                                                                                                 drug/medication at the same
investigation, that some drug           testing was the need to save
                                                                             ALTERNATIVE DRUG TESTING            time, could obtain different
testing methods were a "costly          money.
                                                                             METHODS                             results
and divisive" way of managing               “Previously, staff were
                                                                                                                     Branches are advised that
employees, and was an                   booked off in order to have          In response to proposals a few
                                                                                                                 their views in this matter should
"inappropriate use of managerial        testing carried out but now          years ago for the use of mouth
                                                                                                                 be submitted before the end of
power".                                 testing is carried out on the job.   swabs to collect oral fluid for
                                                                                                                 July and in the meantime local
    The TUC reported to the                 “This can clearly affect staff   drug screening purposes, the
                                                                                                                 or company level representatives
inquiry that while appropriate          performance as they may be           RMT called upon the rail
                                                                                                                 should not engage in any
for staff in safety critical posts it   distracted by such a trauma and      industry to commission
                                                                                                                 discussions with management
“should be part of a                    their mind might not be on the       independent research to evaluate
                                                                                                                 on the possible introduction of
comprehensive safety strategy           job,” he said.                       the various drug testing
                                                                                                                 oral fluid testing. Any such
that includes support for staff             There have also been             methods.
                                                                                                                 proposal by an individual
who test positive”.                     widespread complaints that              Our aim was to ensure that
                                                                                                                 company should be reported to
    This is clearly not the case at     some employers have not issued       whatever method of screening
                                                                                                                 head office immediately.

     RMTnews    :: may 2005

     Towards national

     Engineering grades meeting in Sheffield                                                                    Network Rail’s own code stated
                                                                                                                what drugs rendered workers

     agreed to convene a special two-day                                                                        unfit for work under rule 3.2
                                                                                                                and this imformation should be

     conference to discuss the need for national                                                                more widely distributed.

                                                                                                                IMPLEMENT WELFARE RULES
     collective bargaining                                                                                          Conference agreed that it was
                                                                                                                time that Health and Safety
     DELEGATES agreed that the            conditions and the health and      Electrical and Track London        Executive (HSE)
     union should campaign for a          safety of all our infrastructure   Underground said that the          recommendations for provision
     “comprehensive and                   members,” he said.                 computers being used to pick       of welfare facilities at
     meaningful” collective                  Bill Rawcliffe, York and        out staff for testing were very    infrastructure maintenance and
     bargaining machinery for grades      District reminded conference       impressive as very often they      renewal sites.
     covered by conference,               that being brought back in-        chose RMT reps.                        Brendan Kelly, Bristol Rail
     including those still outside        house was not a cure-all.             Dave Hobbs, Newport said        said that some contractors
     Network Rail.                           “Network Rail is not British    that testing was being carried     ignore health and safety
        Steve Smart, March and            Rail, it is driven by cost and     out by “shoddy” contract firms     recommendations for welfare
     District said that harmonising       profit,” he said.                  and that there was clearly a       facilities for transient workers.
     the myriad of different pay rates       Danny McNicol, East             need to inform members what            These facilities include
     and conditions would be a long       Midlands warned that the sort      their rights are.                  adequate washing, toilet, rest
     and difficult task, but it had to    of harmonisation required would       Assistant general secretary     and changing facilities and
     be done.                             “come to nothing” if PT&R          Mick Cash said that increasingly   somewhere clean to eat and
        “In Network Rail we are           arrangements were not protected    Network Rail was bringing in       drink during breaks.
     looking at a clean sheet of paper    and abuses investigated            random screening.                      “Now many people have been
     on which to create a system for      thoroughly by the union.              “This is being done without     transferred over to Network Rail
     the betterment of all,” he said.        Conference resolved to          consultation with the union and    it is time for a new start and
        Mark Farrington,                  convene a special two-day          the consensus on the issue is      start spending some profits on
     Warrington District warned that      conference at the earliest         breaking down,” he said.           decent facilities for the
     the use of ‘role clarity’ could be   opportunity.                          Greg Hewitt, Brighton           workforce.
     used to “blur grades” and                                               reported that staff were being          “If we are still discussing
     undermine conditions.                DRUG AND ALCOHOL TESTING           forced to give urine samples on    this issue next year with no
        “We need to protect grade            Drug and alcohol testing        the track without “dignity of      improvements we will have
     structures in this process and       methods should be reviewed and     privacy”.                          failed as a union,” he warned.
     stop management abandoning           those tested should not be kept       Willie Devlin, SET London           Gerry McCann, Ayr added
     competency levels,” he said.         beyond their normal hours of       Underground said it was            that many female workers were
        John Boyle, Wishaw and            work, conference agreed.           necessary to find out what was     coming into the industry,
     Motherwell said that those              Steve Wallace, Fort William     going on in each area in order     making it even more important
     private companies not brought        said he had been held for hours    to establish national standards.   “to get this sorted out once and
     back in-house under Network          after work for a drug and             “In LUL we had the case of      for all”.
     Rail were ignoring procedures        alcohol test.                      the Farringdon Five where staff         Peter Trend, reporting for
     and making people redundant.            “This is false imprisonment     were found to be negative and      the Council of Executives, said
         “We need one standard            and constituents a breach of       were still sacked” he said.        that the union had made
     across the industry ensure the       human rights,” he said.               Barry West, Cornwall Mid        representations to Network Rail
     protection of jobs, pay,                Doug Hammersley, Signal,        West reminded conference that      over the issue and the union’s

                                                                                                                   may 2005 ::     RMTnews

position was being moved            provision rules should be           sector.                             importance of a strong and
forward.                            published in the union journal         Doug Hammersley said that        united membership in securing
   Barry West said that under       to ensure the widest possible       Tube privatisation had resulted     the protection of jobs and
health and safety rules there was   distribution of information.        in engineering workers going        improvements in pay, conditions
a clear duty of the employers to                                        over to the profit-driven private   and health and safety.
provide welfare.                    END PPP                             contractors Tubelines and              He said after a local audit he
    “There is a need to educate     Conference called on the union      Metronet.                           was shocked to find the how
members on the dangers of           to continue to campaign for            “What has happened to            many people were not members
unhygienic practices and inform     London Underground Limited          mainline staff following            of the union.
them of their rights,” he said.     engineering infrastructure to be    privatisation is happening to us       Peter Skelly, Bridgend
   He suggested that welfare        brought back into the public        now.                                Llantrisant and District said the
                                                                           “Now whenever there is a         union had agreement from
                                                                        problem they do not talk about      Network Rail for the union to
                                                                        safety, they ask if it a case of    attend induction courses to
                                                                        ‘variance of contract’, in other    explain the benefits of RMT
                                                                        words are they liable,” he said.    membership.
                                                                           Willie Devlin said that these       “We have a right to attend all
                                                                        infracos were lining their          induction courses and where
                                                                        pockets at the expense of the       this isn’t happening the union
                                                                        workforce and the taxpayer.         should be informed,” he said.
                                                                           “They are disbanding gangs          Gerry McCann said that one
                                                                        and handing the work over to        key area was the need to recruit
                                                                        sub-contractors.                    health and safety reps which
                                                                           “This union should not rest      represent a very important of
                                                                        until Tube infrastructure is back   the union’s work.
                                                                        in-house where it belongs,” he         Gerry Hitchins of the RMT
                                                                        said.                               organising unit highlighted the
                                                                                                            problems at Grant Rail, where
                                                                        RECRUITMENT AND                     the company will presently only
                                                                        ORGANISATION                        recognise the union for those
                                                                        Conference agreed that it was       staff recently transferred from
                                                                        necessary to encourage members      Jarvis.
                                    Martin Valente                      and local reps to pro-actively         “We should have recognition
                                                                        recruit members and build the       rights for all infrastructure
                                                                        union at the workplace.             members,” he said.
                                                                           John Boyle outlined the

                                                                     GRANT RAIL RMT MEMBER MARTIN VALENTE
                                                                     GIVES HIS THOUGHTS ON HIS FIRST GRADES
                                                           This gives me the opportunity to        to Grant Rail RMT members and his
                                                        thank everyone at the conference for       determination to achieve our goal of
                                                        their support for every RMT member at      recognition.
                                                        Grant Rail. I will be informing them           How every delegate showed, by the
                                                        that Grant Rail workers have the           way they spoke to me, that they are all
                                                        support of so many in our fight for        behind us.
                                                        recognition.                                   I’ll try and make them feel as I do
                                                           I will be telling them about the        that we are now part of a strong
                                                        hard work being done by Gerry              transport union, a union that will
                                                        Hitchin and the organising team on         always be there for us.
                                                        our behalf.                                    So going to the conference has
                                                           I will be telling them about the        made me stronger as a union rep. As I
                                                        speech made by our secretary Bob           left I felt that I could take on Grant
                                                        Crow and how he referred many times        Rail any day, but don’t tell them that.

     RMTnews    :: may 2005

     A packed RMT train crew conference
     in Edinburgh called for the defence
                                                                                                                   represented a serious threat to
                                                                                                                   the very existence of many rural
                                                                                                                   lines Ed Fontaine, Plymouth
                                                                                                                   warned conference.
                                                                                                                       “Handing these lines over to
     of national rail services and the role                                                                        rail enthusiasts would be a
                                                                                                                   prelude to closure or the

     of the guard                                                                                                  creation of small private rail
                                                                                                                       “This means fare increases,
     CONFERENCE agreed that the           the role of the guard.               passenger groups.                   replacing services with buses
     Railways Act, Community Rail             Greg Tucker, Waterloo said           Craig Johnston, Carlisle City   and job losses and this union
     partnerships, the re-privatisation   it was necessary to develop an       said that if the government         should not stand back and allow
     of South Eastern Trains,             industry-wide strategy that          really wanted to reduce             branch lines to close without an
     contingency plans and the            clearly defines the role of the      subsidies and save money it         almighty fight,” he said.
     Northern Rail review all             guard and restricts companies        should bring the railways back          Pat Sikorski said that the
     represented threats to jobs,         from diluting safety                 into public ownership and “kick     current crisis was due to
     services and the role of the         responsibilities in the pursuit of   the profiteers off the network”.    government policies that
     guard.                               profit.                                  Growing uncertainty over        allowed the drive for profit to
         Craig Johnston, Carlisle City        Assistant general secretary      Northern Rail has been              be put in front of the interests
     said it was appaling that train      Pat Sikorski said that the new       heightened by comments made         of the industry.
     operating companies were             revamped guard’s charter             by Director of Rail Strategy and         “Community Rail represents
     undermining the rulebook by          outlined the role of the guard,      Resources Mark Lambirth who         Beech-style cuts that leaves
     imposing secretive so-called         including in the event of the        warned senior industry figures      rural and regional lines to be
     “contingency plans”.                 failure of on-train safety           that: “What you people have to      run by enthusiasts as long as it
         “On Northern Rail this has       devices.                             understand is that the future is    lasts, bearing in mind that there
     meant that trains can remain in          “We cannot allow the             about service cuts and fares        will only be short-term
     service with no emergency            imposition of rule changes and       increases.”                         subsidies.
     brake systems or TIS,                contingency plans without                These comments were even             “All these issues are
     undermining safety on the rail       consultation,” he said.              more alarming given the powers      encapsulated under the Rail
     network and representing a                                                in the new Railways Act making      Against Privatisation campaign
     threat to passengers and staff,”     DEFEND NORTHERN RAIL                 it far easier for the government    which points to the need of an
     he said.                             Conference agreed that the           to cut rail services.               integrated public transport
         Conference demanded the          ongoing review of Northern Rail          Conference called on the        network,” he said.
     withdrawal of such contingency       services taking place just           union to fight any closures or
     plans and for action to be taken     months after the creation of the     bustitution plans that may come     NATIONAL PAY BARGAINING
     if companies refused to do so.       new franchise threatens cuts,        out of the review of Northern       The time has come to put into
                                          the replacement of services with     Rail services.                      practice union policy of one
     ROLE OF THE GUARD                    buses and line closures.                                                 national pay system for all train
     Conference agreed that rule             Alex Holden, Manchester           DEFEND RURAL LINES
                                                                                                                   crew grades, conference agreed.
     book changes, the introduction       Victoria said that a massive         Plans to introduce nearly 60           Greg Tucker, Waterloo said
     of new stock, refranchising and      campaign was required to             Community Rail Partnerships         the union should work towards
     timetabling were undermining         defend these services involving      (CRPs) by the government            common pay claims, based on
                                                                                                                   common terms and conditions
                                                                                                                   in all companies as part of a
                                                                                                                   campaign for national collective
                                                                                                                   pay bargaining.
                                                                                                                      “Before World War Two this
                                                                                                                   union achieved one national set
                                                                                                                   of job descriptions, pay and
                                                                                                                   conditions for all train crew
                                                                                                                   when the network was in
                                                                                                                   private hands.
                                                                                                                      “It has been done before and
                                                                                                                   we can do it again,” he said.

                                                                                                                 may 2005 ::      RMTnews

   Steve West, Manchester
South said that ending the
current fragmentation of terms
and conditions was part of the
wider campaign to ending the
chaos caused by rail

Conference called for a fair,
welfare-based drug and alcohol
policy to replace the arbitrary
policies presently in place which
was based on pre-judgement
and prejudice.
   Craig Johnston, Carlisle City
said that conference supported
RMT policy in not condoning
being under the influence of
alcohol or drugs while at work.
   “However, the policies have
only one consistency, “if
positive, you are guilty”, which
always results in dismissal, and    structures were looking for a        RECOGNISE RMT DRIVERS                Susan Marshall, Shrewsbury
that mitigating circumstances       unified policy and standard          Conference agreed that RMT        said that the same situation
are never taken into account,”      procedures.                          drivers working for C2C           existed at Central Trains and she
he said.                               He said that testing was not      deserved representation rights.   was “sick and tired” of being
   He described cases where         “random” on London                      Danny Owen, North Thames       dictated to by another union.
staff have had their drinks         Underground as claimed.              said that the company was            Greg Tucker, Waterloo
spiked then tested and sacked.         “In order to make up the          refusing to negotiate with the    pointed out that under British
   “Such policies have resulted     numbers they test the spares in      union and had entered a single    Rail the union had negotiating
in staff being branded as drug      the depot.                           union deal with ASLEF.            rights for drivers. “All we are
takers or alcoholics, degraded,        “But it is clear they won’t          “This is an infringement of    asking is to have them returned
humiliated and stripped of their    employ more spares to allow a        basic human rights to join a      to us,” he said.
dignity,” he said.                  proper random procedure due to       union and these single union
   Pat Sikorski said that the       cost,” he said.                                                        ID CARDS
                                                                         deals should be scrapped,” he
new union health and safety                                              said.                             Conference agreed that should
                                                                                                           ID cards be introduced by the

 SSP leader addresses conference                                                                           government, the union must
                                                                                                           resist any attempts by train
                                                                                                           operating companies to use staff
                                   Scottish Socialist Party           inequality,” he said.
                                                                                                           as part of police, immigration or
                               leader Colin Fox reminded                  He outlined plans for a
                                                                                                           security structures.
                               delegates why the RMT in               demonstration in Edinburgh on
                                                                                                              Brendan Glenn, Manchester
                               Scotland opted to affiliate to the     July 2 to ‘Make Poverty History’.
                                                                                                           South said that identity checks
                               SSP.                                       “As the local Scottish
                                                                                                           were not the job of train crew
                                  “We share the same                  Parliament member, I invite you
                                                                                                           and never should be.
                               principles, policies and               all to come along and campaign
                                                                                                              Bob Law, East London Line
                               aspirations,” he said in a well-       for democracy against
                                                                                                           said that staff could be exposing
                               received speech.                       undemocratic organisations like
                                                                                                           themselves to violent attacks if
                                  “These principles are more          the G8, the World Trade
                                                                                                           they were coerced into carrying
                               relevant than they have ever           Organisation, the IMF, the World
                                                                                                           out such duties.
                               been, including the need to            Bank and EU commissioners,”
                               combat poverty, low pay and            he said.

     RMTnews    :: may 2005

     The second young member’s conference, held                                                                      RMT to introduce a pension
                                                                                                                     education programme.
                                                                                                                        Young members need to gain
     in Nottingham, proved to be another                                                                             the knowledge required to

     successful step towards firmly establishing this                                                                understand pension issues and
                                                                                                                     how the government is dealing
     new RMT group, writes Nick Quirk                                                                                with the question.
                                                                                                                        Jubilee South & East London
                                                                                                                     line branch requested that
     ALTHOUGH THE conference              not just within the union but in       supported by all RMT members.       young members should be
     attendance was small, it still       social society as well, Tony               Gerry Hitchen of the RMT        targeted for education so that
     proved that the young members        Donaghey stated.                       organising unit agreed and said     they can learn about the union
     in this union are passionate            “The need to attract young          that “its disappointing to be       due to the negative image that
     about improving their pay and        activists is vital for the future of   here in South Yorkshire, an area    the media have inflicted on
     conditions as well as their voice    this union.                            full of trade union history and     trade unionism.
     in the union.                           “There is still a lot of work to    achievements only to discover          Plymouth No.1 branch
         The predominant theme            be done in shaping this young          that many young people don’t        introduced a motion calling on
     among the motions this year          members conference, but this is        even know what a trade union        the union to investigate ways of
     was the need for serious             a great attempt to involve             is,” he said.                       giving financial assistance to
     recognition and rights for the       young members within the                   It seems clear that the         young members to ensure a
     young members section.               union,” he said.                       motions from the conference         better attendance at conference.
         Dave Giles, Jubilee South &         Tony wanted to find out why         need to be taken very seriously        Without this support, it
     East London Line said: ‘I hate       young members are not as               for the future of the union.        would make the continual
     being referred to as ‘the kids’,     active as in the past, he claimed          Education for the young         growth of this section
     it’s about time the RMT treated      that Thatcherism and now               members was another big issue       increasingly difficult and put off
     the young members respectfully.’     Blairism within the New labour         at the conference. The media        potential activists from
         In order to advertise the        party had set back introducing         has been dominated by pension       attending future conferences.
     young member’s movement,             young activists into politics and      problems within the public             Delegates agreed to finish
     many motions called upon the         indeed trade unionism.                 sector which has led to all         conference early to support the
     RMT news and recruitment                The words socialism is              members, particularly the           recent Central Trains dispute We
     departments to produce               deemed to be “bad” with the            younger members, confused and       achieved a lot at this conference
     propaganda aimed specifically        current trend being not to be          worried about the future of their   and hopefully it can develop to
     at young members.                    politically motivated which is         pension.                            attract more activists to have an
         There is a need to increase of   why the young member’s                     A motion submitted by           even better conference next
     activists amongst young people       movement needs to be                   Plymouth No.1 branch urged          year.

                                                                                                                     may 2005 ::      RMTnews

Train crew conference delegate Alex Holden                                                                    figures, the money needed to
outlines the case against handing the Oldham loop                                                             build the extensions has not
                                                                                                              been forthcoming and there is a
line over to tram privateers                                                                                  local campaign called ‘Get our
                                                                                                              Metrolink back on track’.
FOR MANY years railways and              Now, no RMT member is           the system is showing signs of           The company even re-liveried
tramways operated happily side        going to argue against more        age. It is estimated that it will    one of the trams with a huge
by side. However, in the middle       public transport. However,         cost around £100 million to          logo carrying this message.
of the last century, tramways in      converting the Oldham loop to      bring the infrastructure back to     Ironically, that tram derailed in
our towns and cities were             light rail would not provide       1990 standards. This is money        the city centre on old and
dismantled, with only the             additional public transport. It    they have not got, yet they want     shoddy ‘phase one’ track.
Blackpool tramway remaining.          would simply replace one mode      to take more railway.                    With a closure order granted
    That was until a new              of transport with another.            The powers that be are            on the Oldham Loop, the route
generation of tramways came           Furthermore, an objective look     desperate for the expanded           is living on borrowed time.
along with names like                 at the options available reveals   route. In 2002, when the closure         A pre-Metrolink timetable of
Supertram, Tramlink and               that there are few benefits for    of the Oldham Loop was               only two trains an hour from
Metrolink. In greater                 conversion.                        granted, a document supporting       Victoria to Rochdale, stopping at
Manchester, Metrolink won                In fact, less money would be    conversion claimed that journey      all stations, has led to passenger
widespread support and a              better spent on improving          times on trams would be far          numbers dropping like stone.
campaign was launched for the         existing rail infrastructure,      quicker than trains and there            The service is due to revert to
system to be expanded.                rather than wasting millions on    was far more capacity.               the faster four trains per hour in
    Part of this ‘phase three’        chucking trains off the loop and      However, these figures were       each direction when the summer
expansion takes in the heavy          replacing them with trams.         somewhat distorted.                  timetable comes into force, with
rail route known as the Oldham           Metrolink is essentially two       The rail capacity comparison      through trains to Wigan and
loop, running from Manchester         very good former rail routes       was only for a single 142 set        Merseyside also returning.
to Rochdale. This route forms         with a bit of on-street running    and did not consider the 130 per         Hopefully, passengers will
the bulk of work at Manchester        linking the two. The Bury and      cent figure of seating capacity, a   return as well but how long will
Victoria depot as well as Wigan       Altrincham lines were regarded     figure that is routinely broken.     the service remain?
Wallgate.                             as good paying routes, with           The tram capacity figure was          What is clearly required is an
    It is true that the route is in   trains regularly full of           for a seating and standing           end to the uncertainty once and
need of investment. But that can      passengers. Both were snatched     capacity of four persons per         for all and for the closure order
be said for whole swathes of the      from British Rail in 1989 and      square metre of floor space. This    to be repealed. The Oldham Loop
rail network. Moreover, a lot of      turned into the separate           translates to 25 square              could become part of an
the problems on the Oldham            privatised edifice called          centimetres per passenger,           integrated transport network
loop come about as a direct           Metrolink.                         probably less as the seats are       which utilises the present
result of the uncertainty                Since then, very little has     larger.                              infrastructure and provides a
surrounding the route.                been spent on infrastructure and      Despite these distorted           decent rail service.

     RMTnews   :: may 2005

     The RMT campaign to end the continued                                                                    have to reside and be recruited
                                                                                                              abroad in order for the
                                                                                                              exemption to apply,
     discrimination against seafarers under the                                                               discrimination on other grounds
                                                                                                              is not allowed.
     above Act is gathering pace                                                                                 RMT has continued to raise
                                                                                                              this discriminatory legislation
     DISCRIMINATION against            Free Movement of labour           up to modern day standards, it       when campaigning for UK
     seafarers is permitted through    provisions. This confirms a       still permits shipowners to          seafarers employment. The issue
     an exemption in the 1976 Race     recent statement made by the      utilise foreign national seafarers   was recently highlighted by the
     Relations Act. The government     EU Transport Commissioner.        on UK ships on exploitative          TUC Deputy General Secretary
     have now been forced to                                             rates of pay and long tours of       Frances O’ Grady at the RMT
     concede a further review of       AMMENDMENTS                       duty.                                Parliamentary Biennial General
     sections eight and nine of the       In 2003 the government             The amended Race Relations       Meeting.
     Act and a consultation            amended the 1976 Race             Act made clear that the
     document is expected very soon.   Relations Act and the exemption   exemption is based on domicile       NEW DEVELOPMENTS
        However, RMT has sought        allowed for seafarers who are     as opposed to race, colour or           Arising from a statement by
     legal advice and the union have   recruited abroad to work on UK    ethnic origin which was              the European Commission
     been advised that the             ships. Despite attempts by the    previously permitted. In practice    transport spokesperson,
     discrimination on pay rates is    government to pretend that the    the discrimination is still based    government lawyers have been
     not permissible under the EU      legislation was being brought     on nationality but the seafarers     forced to examine whether UK

                                                                                                                         may 2005 ::        RMTnews

legislation complies with EC         this year issue a consultation      The RMT case is based on the following key points:
law.                                 exercise and the crucial question
                                                                         • Seafarers are in practice being discriminated against on the basis of
   European Commission               will be how the link referred to      their nationality even if they are domiciled abroad.
officials stated that any EU         above will be defined. If as a
seafarer should be paid              result of the consultation          • The discrimination is being applied in British workplaces. Other
                                                                           industries employing workers from abroad would quite rightly be
according to the home rate of        exercise the law is changed to
                                                                           expected to pay UK rates of pay when in UK workplaces.
the flag of the ship they serve      outlaw discrimination against
on, regardless of residence. In      EU seafarers on EU ships this       • Despite all the arguments about being competitive in a global industry
                                                                           the UK shipping industry should not be able to escape these
effect, this would mean that         could significantly reduce the
                                                                           minimum standards.
Spanish, Polish or any other EU      ability of shipowners to utilise
nationals could not be               low cost seafarers at the           • The arguments of residence are not valid, and for seafarers
discriminated against on pay         expense of UK seafaring               permanently engaged they are actually living abroad the UK vessels
                                                                           for approximately 10 out of 12 months in any one-year. This is
when compared with resident          nationals.
                                                                           because of the more intensive work patterns on which foreign
UK seafarers employed on board          RMT shipping secretary Steve       nationals are engaged.
UK flagged ships.                    Todd said that the union is
   Following questions from          determined to ensure that the       • The Race Relations Act and other equality legislation should in
                                                                           principal be universally applicable.
unions in the Shipping Task          reforms to the legislation are
Force Working Group the              carried out effectively.            • The arguments used by the shipowners are of course very similar to
Department of Transport have            “We have sought senior legal       the arguments that have been used by employers when seeking to
now stated that, after receipt of    opinion and I am pleased to           avoid other legislation on minimum standards and equal rights.
legal advice, they have              report that we have been            • It is not acceptable for the government to be blackmailed from
concluded that sections eight        advised that the discrimination       implementing equality legislation on the basis of threats to flag out
and nine of the 1976 Race            under the 1976 Race Relations         vessels.
Relations Act will have to be        Act falls foul of the EU Freedom    • Employment for UK seafaring ratings continues to decline. The
reviewed.                            of Movement provisions,” he           Chamber state that ships will desert the UK Flag but the simple reality
   The advice from government        said.                                 is that currently ships are joining the UK register without any UK
lawyers apparently states that if       The union will be guarding         seafarers employed.
a close enough link (to be           against the possibility that the    • Because of the cloak of respectability of the UK Flag, shipping
defined) existed between an EEA      discrimination is allowed to          companies are taking advantage of the lack of minimum standards
seafarer and the flag state of the   effectively continue without          (compared with other North West European states), and engaging
ship on which they are working,      formal complaints being lodged        seafarers on rates of pay below the minimum wage.
they could not be paid at a          by individual seafarers. A          • Contrary to statements made by the Chamber of Shipping, if the
differential rate from resident      further update will be given in       government allow the legislation to continue in its current form the
seafarers of the flag state.         next month’s RMT News.                future for the remaining UK seafarers will become increasingly
   The government will later                                               precarious.

                                                      Homage to an
                                                      anti-fascist fighter
                                                           GLASGOW RMT shipping branch                      Written by John and Willy Maley in
                                                           recently helped put on a play recalling       1990 as a tribute to their father, the
                                                           the experiences of James Maley, who           play was brought to the attention of
                                                           fought in the British battalion of the        KAYOS theatre company by RMT
                                                           anti-fascist International Brigades to        member Jim McKnight.
                                                           defend Spanish democracy in 1936.                Play director Mark Barclay ensured
                                                              The branch put £500 towards                that the production recognised the
                                                           production costs to stage ‘From Calton        courage and conviction of those that
                                                           to Catalonia’. This prison drama tells        went to Spain because “they could see
                                                           the story of how James travelled from         no other way” to alert the world to the
                                                           Calton, in the east end of Glasgow, to        dangers of fascism.
                                                           Spain. After being captured during the
                                                           battle of Jarama, he spent six months
                                                           in a fascist prison in Salamanca. The
                                                           play relates how James’ mother
                                                           recognised him from a newsreel in a
                                                           local cinema and convinced the
                                                           projectionist to make a photo from the
                                                           film negatives.                               RMT member Jim McKnight(left) with director
                                                                                                         Mark Barclay and Willy Maley.

     RMTnews   :: may 2005

     TRADE Martyrs
     The Tolpuddle
     The Tolpuddle Martyrs were transported to the penal colonies of
     Australia after forming a trade union. Tim Lezard examines their
     legacy and discovers we have a lot to thank them for.
         As the sun rose on February         Under an obscure 1797 law,              a week – the equivalent of 30p         was later called his ‘Song of
     24 1834, Dorset farm labourer        Loveless and five fellow workers           in today’s money and the third         Freedom’. Its emotive and
     George Loveless set off to work,     – his brother James, James                 wage cut in as many years.             rousing chorus of ‘We raise the
     saying goodbye to his wife           Hammett, James Brine, Thomas                    With the bloody French            watchword, liberty. We will, we
     Betsy and their three children.      Standfield and his son John -              Revolution still very much in          will, we will be free!” underlined
         They were not to meet alone      were charged with having taken             the minds of the British               the Martyrs’ determination and
     again for three years, for as he     an illegal oath.                           establishment, landowners were         has inspired generations of
     left his cottage in the rural           But their real crime in the             determined to stamp out any            people to fight against injustice
     village of Tolpuddle, he was         eyes of the establishment was to           form of insurrection.                  and oppression.
     served with a warrant for his        have formed a trade union to                    And so when Loveless’                 “If it hadn’t been for that
     arrest.                              protest about their meagre pay             landowner, James Frampton,             song, I don’t think the Martyrs
                                          of six shillings                           caught wind of a group of his          would have had such a big
                                                                                     workers having formed a union,         impact,” says Jan Pickering,
                                                                                     he sent a spy to infiltrate their      curator of the Tolpuddle
                                                                                     meetings.                              Museum. “After all, thousands of
                                                                                          These gatherings, held under      people were being transported,
                                                                                     a sycamore tree in the village or      so what made them martyrs? I
                                                                                               in the upper room of         think it was because the words
                                                                                              Thomas Standfield’s           were so simple, so moving.”
                                                                                              cottage, were prefaced             “Loveless was laying out
                                                                                              with the swearing of an       what they were trying to do and
                                                                                             oath of secrecy – and it       telling people they had done
                                                                                             was this act that led to the   nothing wrong, questioning why
                                                                                            men’s arrest and subsequent     they were being transported for
                                                                                            sentence of seven years’        trying to get better pay.”
                                                                                           transportation.                      The song had an immediate
                                                                                              By handing out such a         impact for the working class
                                                                                          harsh sentence, the               rose up in support of the
                                                                                          government hoped to frighten      Martyrs, delivering an 800,000-
                                                                                         the nascent Labour movement        strong petition to Parliament
                                                                                        into submission, but they           protesting about their sentence
                                                                                       achieved precisely the opposite      and demanding their pardon
                                                                                       and were quite unprepared for        and release.
                                                                                      the public outcry that ensued.            After three years, during
                                                                                           As the men were being led        which the trade union
                                                                                     back to prison to await their          movement sustained the
                                                                                     transfer to the prison hulks,          Martyrs’ families by collecting
                                                                                     their hands manacled together,         voluntary donations, the
                                                                                     their heads shaven like common         government relented and the
                                                                                     criminals, George Loveless             men returned home as heroes.
                                                                                     scribbled some words that were             Every year their contribution
                                                                                     to change the course of British        is remembered at the Tolpuddle
                                                                                     law.                                   Festival, held in the village
                                                                                          In desperation, he wrote what     where it all began.

                                 Wreaths laid on the grave of martyr James Hammett

                                                                                                                          may 2005 ::     RMTnews

   The annual South West TUC event
attracts over 8,000 people who enjoy the
                                                             George Loveless was a Methodist lay
                                                         preacher and as such was determined to
mixture of politics, theatre and music.                  keep to the law and not take violent
There is also a procession of colourful                  steps of the machine-wreckers or rick-
trade union banners through the village,                 burners, protesting about unemployment
which passes the aging sycamore under                    caused by the advance of the industrial
which Loveless convened the historic                     revolution.
meetings.                                                    “In those times there was no full
   Their legacy – to establish in law the                democracy – you couldn’t vote unless        The Tolpuddle Martyrs’ Festival takes place
right to belong to a trade union – was a                 you were a landowner – so for many          on Saturday, July 16 and Sunday, July 17.
key step in the fight for workers’ rights.               people, their only response was through
   “They weren’t the first trade                         violent means but the Martyrs were          Speakers include Tony Benn and TUC
unionists, but their victory meant the act               religious men and wanted to protest         General Secretary Brendan Barber.
of forming a trade union became not                      peacefully,” says Nigel Costley.
only legal, but part of British society,”                    “They set out to defend their basic     There are also international speakers:
says Nigel Costley, Regional Secretary of                rights for them and their families and to   Burmese TUC general secretary Maling
the South West TUC.                                      do it legally. Because they wanted to       Maung and a leading member of the
   “They are still relevant today because                work within the law to reform the           Fensuagro, the Colombian Agricultural
the extreme problems they faced are still                system, rather than bring it down, they     Union.
being experienced in some parts of the                   were a more potent threat to the
world.                                                   establishment’s vested interests.”          Artists playing include Billy Bragg, Hank
   “We remember them and share our                           And, as the establishment continues     Wangford and the Lost Cowboys and The
solidarity with workers who are facing                   to try to protect those interests, it is    Sidekicks. : Information 0117 947 0521 or
the same battles for the fundamental                     worth recalling what might have lain in     www.tuc/org.uk/tolpuddle.
rights to gather together, to speak with                 store had it not been for the six brave
one voice and to advance their lives.”                   men of Tolpuddle.                           The event is free.

The Grand Procession at the Tolpuddle Martyr Fesitival

     RMTnews    :: may 2005


     Members at Wilts and
     Dorset Bus Company will feel right at
     home when they pop into their new
     learning centre - it's a bus! The new
     mobile facility will drive to depots,
                                                                                           Union Learning Reps Kevin Saunderson, ‘Baggy’ Bagwell, Dave Wyatt,
     bringing learning closer to bus workers                                               Brian Lewis

     FOR A FEW years now learning         colleges to discuss creating           After a nearly a year of hard         to help out and answer
     has been on the agenda at Wilts      learning opportunities in or near   work the bus had two open                questions.
     and Dorset Bus. It started with      the workplace and the idea of a     days, one at Poole and one at                Courses are being designed to
     Poole and District Bus RMT           learning bus took form.             Salisbury. Over 120 bus                  fit in with shift work and the
     branch secretary Peter Gale and         To turn the idea into reality    workers visited the open days,           Learning Bus is currently
     Salisbury 3 branch secretary Joe     was going to take a lot of hard     where they had the opportunity           timetabled to visit Poole and
     Hayes getting trained up as          work and money.                     to talk to tutors and reps, and to       Salisbury each week, although
     Union Learning Reps. They then          Teresa Williams, Regional        have a go on the laptops.                reps ‘Baggy’ Bagwell, at
     recruited other reps, the first of   Development Worker from the            Wilts and Dorset learning             Ringwood, and Dave Wyatt, at
     whom was Brian Lewis. Brian          Rail Union Learning                 reps are now busy setting up             Lymington, have been
     took on the responsibility of        Programme, was brought in to        courses and workshops based on           inundated with requests.
     being the ‘lead’ Union Learning      coordinate the project.             what members have asked for,                 The learning reps at Wilts
     Rep.                                    The company donated a bus        including computing, languages           and Dorset are hoping that the
        Early in 2003, the reps,          and agreed to pay the running       and sign language.                       project goes from strength to
     RMT’s education officer Ray          costs, and Teresa managed to           There has already been an IT          strength to providing
     Spry-Shute and the TUC met           secure funding for refitting and    course at Poole and learning rep         opportunities to learn and
     with the company and local           laptop computers.                   Kevin Saunderson was on hand             making a real difference.

                                                                                                                          may 2005 ::      RMTnews

Adult Learner’s Week
May 21-27
                                                                                                               You may also want to look at
                                                                                                               these websites:

                                                                                                               Rail Union Learning Project
                                                                                                               More information about how the
                                                                                                               RMT is working with other
                                                                                                               transport unions to promote
ADULT LEARNERS’ Week is the UK’s largest             PROJECT GETTING INVOLVED?
                                                                                                               lifelong learning and education
festival and celebration of adult learning              The Rail Union Learning Project is
                                                                                                               for its members - www.rul.org.uk
celebrated every year in over 40 countries. It       organising various Adult Learner Week
is an opportunity for adults to have a go at         activities throughout the week at different               Campaign for Learning
something new by trying out one of the               locations across the country. Activities range
                                                                                                               Details about Learning at Work
hundreds of free taster sessions that happen         from French and Spanish classes in Brighton,
                                                                                                               Day, Family Learning Weekend.
across England during the week, and an               courses to help you get to grips with your
opportunity for colleges to show adults what         personal finances in London, and IT courses
is on offer.                                         in York. All free of charge.                              learning.org.uk
    Learning is not just what you did at                If you want to find out about courses or
                                                                                                               Time to Learn
school. It doesn’t have to involve classrooms,       activities in your area you can call the Rail
assignments or exams.                                Union Learning Project office on 0207 317
                                                                                                               The on-line version of City &
    In England, colleagues in colleges, libraries,   8610/8611/or 8613 for more information.                   Guilds directory of learning
museums, businesses, voluntary and a range           Alternatively, if you know who your local Rail            breaks and study tours.
of other sectors hold thousands of events to         Union Learning Representative (RULR) is, you              www.timetolearn.org.uk
inspire adults to try their hand at something        could ask them if they can point you in the
new. Anything up to 100,000 people take part,        direction of local events.                                Workers Educational Association
encouraging activity through publicity                  For general information about Adult                    The national website of the WEA,
distributed by national and local organisers.        Learner’s Week, if you have internet access               the UK's largest voluntary
Twenty thousands enquiries to learndirect and        you can find out more at                                  provider of adult learning
routinely around 2,000 press articles                http://www.niace.org.uk/ALW/2005/.                        opportunities.
appearing in national, regional and local press                                                                www.wea.org.uk
testify to the success of the campaign.

   RMT member Keith Skivington           at local colleges.                  got a bit rusty over the years.      who could do with brushing
   works as a Groundsman at                 Keith responded straight            In his job as a groundsman        up their skills but they don’t
   Eurostar in Ashford, Kent.            away saying that he’d like to       at Ashford, Keith needs to use       make the time for it. I would
   He is the latest Eurostar             do French, IT and maths.            maths on a daily basis.              encourage anyone to do the
   employee to benefit from the             Keith has already started a         “If I’m painting a room it        same, whatever level they are,”
   Rail Union Learning Project. In       maths course at the local Adult     saves waste and money if I           he says.
   February this year, Keith’s           Education college with a view       can calculate the area and the          Keith says his rep, Wendy,
   switched from working as an           to sitting a National Certificate   necessary volume of paint            has been really supportive and
   OCS contractor to being a             (Level 1 numeracy) in June          correctly before I get               helpful and the tutors at the
   Eurostar employee at Ashford          and he is signed up to start        underway,” he says.                  college have been great too.
   International.                        French and IT in May.                  Getting back into learning           “No one there takes the
      Within a few weeks of his             Having left school at 15         has given Keith a good deal of       mickey. Everyone else in the
   Eurostar contract starting, his       and joined the army before          personal satisfaction and            workshop is just like me:
   local Rail Union Learning Rep         working for Eurostar, Keith         confidence.                          people who’ve got off their
   (RULR), Wendy Dale, had               had passed army certificates           “It’s nice to feel like I’m       backsides and made the effort
   already been in touch to find         and a City and Guilds               using my brain again.                to better themselves and get
   out if he’d be interested in          qualification in numeracy but          I reckon there are a lot of       their brains into gear,” he said.
   doing various courses on offer        he found that these skills had      people like me on the railways

     RMTnews    :: may 2005

     Tony Benn explains why...
     I  have just finished reading a
        little pamphlet produced by
     the campaign Trade Unionists
                                                                              movement have been central to
                                                                              the struggles waged by
                                                                              generations of pro-democracy
                                                                                                                           damage this attempt to create a
                                                                                                                           superstate and centralise power
                                                                                                                           in Europe. However, if not we
     Against the EU Constitution and                                          campaigners, from the Chartists              must be prepared to fight for a
     it is one of the best things I                                           to the Suffragettes, to ensure               no vote here in a referendum
     have read on the subject.                                                that ordinary citizens could hold            expected next spring.
         It brilliantly and concisely                                         their rulers to account.                         It will be a hard fight as the
     exposes the fundamentally                                                   So it shall have to be again              pro-constitution side will have
     undemocratic nature of these                                             as future generations will not               huge funding from the
     plans and should be read by                                              look kindly on us if we stand by             government and Brussels.
     anyone who wants to find out                                             and allow our democracy to be                    However, if the labour
     more about the subject.                                                  taken away.                                  movement does not campaign
         An at-a-glance guide at the                                                                                       loudly on this issue then the
     front of the book neatly exposes                                         REFERENDUM                                   siren calls of the far right will
     how wide-ranging this assault                                               Later this month the French               gain ground and the poison of
     on democracy really is.                                                  will be voting in a referendum               racism and chauvinism will
         For instance, articles turn the                                      on this crucial issue.                       spread.
     liberalisation – a polite term for                                          French opposition to the                      This is one of the crucial
     privatisation – of services and                                          Constitution is growing as more              questions of our times and
     industries into constitutional                                           and people discover what is                  TUAEUC have done us a service
     principles.                           DEMOCRACY                          actually contained within this               by producing this easy-to-read
         This is of great importance          The fundamental problem is      huge and virtually unreadable                guide and I heartily recommend
     for all transport workers as it       that the Constitution takes away   document.                                    it to you.
     would preclude governments            democratic rights to remove           If it is rejected it would
     from owning or investing in           those who govern us.
     transport services.                      This represents a massive
         Road, rail and shipping           transfer and centralisation of
     industries across the EU must         power in the hands of
     develop only on the whims of          institutions that are not
     the so-called “free market”.          accountable or transparent.
         This approach has already            This would increase the
     seen the decimation of transport      number of laws being imposed
     industries in Britain, with           on Europeans from highly
     shareholders taking precedence        diverse countries that had no
     over the travelling public.           democratic mandate within
         How can anyone describe a         those countries.
     document that elevates right             There are many things that
     wing neoliberal economic policy       need correcting with the UK
     into a legal requirement claim        constitution, including the
     this Constitution is an exercise      unelected second chamber and
     in democracy?                         the way in which the prime
         It also militarises the EU and    minister can use Crown powers
     creates a single foreign policy,      to by-pass parliament.
     develops a European police               However, these more local
     force which will be immune            democratic deficits would not be
     from prosecution, increases           aided by the emasculation of
     unfair trade with the world’s         power from Westminister to
     poor and hands massive powers         Brussels.
     to those we do not elect.                The trade union and labour      Trade Unionists Say No to the EU Constitution is available free from RMT, Unity House,
                                                                              39 Chalton Street, London NW1 1JD.

                                                                                                                     may 2005 ::      RMTnews

MUST SAY                                                                             PRESIDENT’S
 TITUTION                                                       AT TIME of writing, the Rail Against
                                                                Privatisation campaign is in full
                                                                swing. On behalf of the union, I
                                                                would like to expresses thanks and
                                                                appreciation to those members
                                                                                                         Catalyst the small transitional costs
                                                                                                         of taking the railways back into
                                                                                                         public ownership would
                                                                                                         subsequently reap huge savings for
                                                                                                         the taxpayer.
  EU CONSTITUTION AT A                                          who volunteered to take the long             Savings would be accrued from

  GLANCE                                                        journey from Scotland to London
                                                                and the many others who turned
                                                                                                         reduced bureaucracy and an end to
                                                                                                         leakages to private providers of
                                                                out to support them at meetings          finance.
  THE POWER TO PRIVATISE                                        along the way.                               On a conservative estimate
     Article III-147 gives the EU powers to enforce                 Thanks should also go to Geoff       overall immediate cash savings of
  privatisation in any area of economic activity: “A            Revell and Larry Cotton for all the      taking Network Rail, TOC’s and
  European framework law shall establish the measures in        hard work they put in organising         Roscos in public ownership would
  order to achieve the liberalisation of a specific service.”   this huge task.                          be £500 million a year. In addition,
                                                                    Some have asked why did RMT          taking renewals back in house
  A THREAT TO PUBLIC SERVICES                                   carry out such a campaign when it        would save £400 million per
      Article I-15 gives the EU new powers to 'co-ordinate'     is clear that rail privatisation has     annum.
                                                                been a failure. Well, RAP has                So public ownership would
  economic, employment and social policies. Article III-210
                                                                exposed just how disastrous this         deliver total savings of £900 million
  lists the almost unlimited areas of social policy where the
                                                                experiment has been and how              a year, £4.5 billion over the lifetime
  EU will have the right to 'support and complement' the
                                                                much the travelling public has been      of a Labour government.
  activities of member states.
                                                                ripped-off.                                  Private sector investment would
  UNELECTED IN CHARGE                                               For instance, before privatisation   also not be threatened, as some
                                                                in 1994 over 90 per cent of trains       politicians have claimed, as all
     Article 1-26 confirms the sole right of the unelected      on the publicly-owned railway ran        private sector investment is
  European Commission to draw up new laws and Article           to time. By comparison, in the year      ultimately paid from by taxpayers
  111-188 orders member states “not to seek to influence        to 31 December 2004, the                 and farepayers.
  the….European Central Bank”, the unelected body that          privatised network could only                Catalyst warn “without direct
  decides economic policy for the eurozone.                     deliver just over 80 per cent of         public control over costs, money
                                                                services on time.                        spent in support of the rail industry
  ANTI-UNION LAWS TO REMAIN                                         Moreover, the £4.5 billion in        will prove unsustainable, creating
     Article II-88 states that workers have rights to           public subsidy now paid to the           pressure to shift the burden to
  collective bargaining and to take strike action only "in      railway is more than three times the     passengers through fare rises and
  accordance with national laws and practices".                 public subsidy paid to British Rail.     cuts to services”.
                                                                      A recent report by the                 Indeed, the new Railways Act
  THREAT TO CIVIL LIBERTIES                                     Independent think tank Catalyst          will make it easier to reduce the
     Article II-112 allows "limitations" of basic human         calculated that £800 million a year      size of the network raising
  rights "if they are necessary and genuinely meet              is taken out of the industry as          concerns over line closures, service
  objectives of general interest recognised by the Union".      returns to private lenders and           reductions and job losses.
  Article II-114 forbids any political campaigning to           investors – a total leakage of more          The SRA’s Community Rail
  reverse any aspects of the Charter of Fundamental Rights.     than £6 billion since 1996.              Development Strategy could also
                                                                    Last year’s Labour Party             result in further cuts to our rural
  MILITARISATION                                                conference voted overwhelmingly          and branch lines.
                                                                to return the railways to the public,        Closing lines and services will
     Article I-16 states: "Member states shall actively and
                                                                an aspiration contained within the       further prevent the government
  unreservedly support the Union's common foreign and
                                                                first Blair government manifesto in      from reaching its domestic
  security policy in a spirit of loyalty and mutual
                                                                1997.                                    emissions targets.
  solidarity".                                                      Two consecutive Labour                   In addition, the Royal Academy
                                                                governments have ignored these           of Engineering has recently
                                                                realities and the three major parties    estimated road congestion costs
     Article III-276 gives the EU the right to extend the       made no serious mention of the           the UK £15 billion a year.
  “structure, operation, field of action and tasks” of its      wider issues on transport. Yet               Therefore, the campaign to
  police force, whose agents, like other EU officials, enjoy    transport is the lifeblood of the        defend and expand our transport
  immunity from criminal prosecution.                           nation and is too vital to be            network must continue.
                                                                ignored.                                     This is part of the wider
  DEATH PENALTY                                                     So RMT had to take to the            campaign for taxpayers’ hard-
     Article 1-62 says no-one shall be condemned to the         streets to get the message out that      earned money to be spent on
  death penalty. However, the article “explanations” allows     re-nationalisation makes political,      public services, including hospitals,
  the death penalty “in respect of acts committed in time       economic and moral sense.                education and pensions and not on
  of war or of imminent threat of war”.                             According to the think-tank          illegal wars in Iraq.

     RMTnews    :: may 2005

        AND THE NHS
     A health service nightmare from SSP leader Colin Fox
     I nearly fell out of bed recently when I
       woke up with John Reid. My clock radio
     alarm goes off, and on comes Today on
                                                                                                      an apparent new Labour conundrum on the
                                                                                                          Labour repeats again and again that
     Radio Four for a while before its time to get                                                    ‘spending on the NHS is at record levels’
     up and get the kids out to school.                                                               and that ‘we [new Labour] have embarked
        ‘What the National Health Service needs                                                       upon the most ambitious hospital building
     most’ said Labour’s Health Minister, ‘is                                                         programme the NHS has ever seen’.
     greater entrepreneurial spirit.’                                                                     If this is the case, then why are worries
        At first I wasn’t sure if I had heard him                                                     about the state of the NHS not at the top of
     right as I had just woken up. But like all                                                       their list of concerns right now?
     government spokesmen programmed to                                                                   Could it be that their experiences are at
     return to his ‘on message’ mantra it was                                                         odds with Labour claims?
     just a few seconds before I heard him say it                                                         After all finding an NHS dentist, for
     again.                                                                                           example is proving more difficult that
        He was chastising GPs and dentists for                                                        finding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
     their lack of ‘entrepreneurial spirit’ in the                                                        Or could it be that people are furious that
     way they run their small businesses.                                                             all these new hospitals are owned, not by
        Now, to me, the NHS is based completely                                                       the NHS, but by ‘entrepreneurs’ who rake in
     upon a simple formula – ‘If you are ill, you     have been trying to rip off our NHS. They       a fortune over the lifetime of the contracts?
     get treatment.’ As soon as anyone starts to      occasionally succeed. Just take a look at the       Edinburgh’s new flagship hospital, the
     talk about ‘entrepreneurial spirit’ I begin to   profits of the pharmaceutical companies         Royal Infirmary, is a case in point. Owned
     hear the ‘ting-ting’ of cash tills and the       over the decades for examples.                  by the Royal Bank of Scotland, it was built
     compromising of an ideal. The formula is            Yet here was John Reid with proof plain      for less than £300 million, yet will cost the
     suddenly amended to ‘If you are ill and can      that the same ‘entrepreneurs’ and               NHS nearly £700 million over its 25 year
     afford £6.50 for a prescription; to see a        businessmen we had been striving to keep at     life.
     private dentist; to consult a health             bay for half a century were now past the            If Labour is spending record sums on the
     entrepreneur- you can get treatment’.            NHS security gates and sitting in the head      NHS it is shameful that so much of it is
        I know the terms of this debate inside        office.                                         wasted on profits for those with
     out. For 50 years the same entrepreneurs            To me this episode also began to answer      ‘entrepreneurial spirit.’

 WOMENS PAGE                                                                                                         may 2005 ::     RMTnews

                                                                           politicians of all shades seem        that can only be carried out
THE RIGHT TO CHOOSE                                                        willing to help them. This is not
                                                                           right or democratic.
                                                                                                                 after a certain time.
                                                                                                                  The pretext for cutting time
RMT member Janine Booth looks at the threat to                                 As a long-standing pro-         limits is usually that medical
                                                                           choice slogan says, "Not the        advances have made it possible
abortion rights following the general election                             church, not the state - women       for foetuses to survive outside
                                                                           must decide our fate".              the womb at an earlier stage.
STATEMENTS MADE during the            abortions - it is between illegal,
                                                                                We may well see an attempt        These advances are welcome,
General Election campaign             unsafe abortions, safe, legal
                                                                           in Parliament to cut the time       and should be used to help
suggest that women's abortion         ones.
                                                                           limit for legal abortion from the   premature babies, to spare
rights could soon come under              Before 1967, rich women
                                                                           current 24 weeks to 20 weeks.       parents the heartbreak of losing
attack.                               could usually buy their way
                                                                               Relatively few abortions are    a baby they love and want - not
     One in three women in            around the law and pay a doctor
                                                                           carried out between 20 and 24       to force women to bear children
Britain has an abortion. Think        to carry out a termination. It
                                                                           weeks, but there are several        they do not want.
about how many women you              was working-class women who
                                                                           good reasons why a woman                The best ways to reduce the
know - family, friends,               suffered in the backstreets. This
                                                                           might leave it this late:           number of late abortions is to
workmates. One third of them          is why the trade-union
                                                                           • She may have been obstructed      reduce unwanted pregnancy
will at some point terminate a        movement supports women's
                                                                              by an anti-abortion doctor.      and to improve access to
pregnancy.                            right to choose free, legal
     Every one has her reason.        abortion.                            • Her circumstances might have      earlier abortions.
For many, it is a difficult choice.      Leaders of several religions -      changed - her partner might          This could be achieved by
But it is her choice.                 including a Catholic archbishop,       have left her, or may have        better sex education, free
     The film 'Vera Drake'            the Chief Rabbi, and a                 started to beat or abuse her      effective contraception and the
reminded us what happened             representative of the Muslim           (more common in pregnancy         removal of the need for two
before 1967, when abortion was        Council of Britain - have              than you might think).            doctors' permission to have an
still illegal. Women went to          recently called for restrictions     • A young woman might have          abortion.
backstreet abortionists, and          on women's abortion rights.            been afraid to come forward          Ironically, the religious
some were injured or died.                These religious authorities        earlier.                          authorities that attack abortion
     In our society, there will       want to impose their views not                                           rights usually also oppose these
                                                                           • An older woman may have
always be women facing a crisis       just on their own congregations,                                         measures. We have to reject
                                                                             mistaken the signs of
pregnancy who choose abortion.        but on all women. And despite                                            their moralising and defend
                                                                             pregnancy for the menopause.
The choice that society faces is      the low level of religious                                               women's right to control our
                                                                           • Serious foetal disability may     own bodies.
not between abortions and no          observance in this country,
                                                                             have been discovered by tests

     RMTnews   :: may 2005


                                         STOP THE WAR
                                         The story of Britain's
                                         biggest mass movement
     T   essa Jowell's bizarre attempt
         to prevent Britain's biggest-
     ever demonstration from
                                         would throw herself under a bus
                                         for the Prime Minister," they
                                         recall. "But she thought better of
                                                                               demolish the lies about weapons
                                                                               of mass destruction, alleged
                                                                               Iraqi links to al-Qaida and the
                                                                                                                    war in Iraq, the dodgy dossier of
                                                                                                                    lies about Iraqi weapons, the
                                                                                                                    first great demonstration on
     trampling the Hyde Park lawn is     throwing herself in front of a        supposed desire to "liberate"        September 28, 2002 and the
     one of the many gems retold in      million marchers.”                    Iraqis and to show that the Bush     historic, global events of
     Stop the War: The story of              This is a superb book that        regime was planning an attack        February 15 2003.
     Britain's biggest mass              tells the story so far of the anti-   on Iraq long before the                  They describe the
     movement.                           war movement with clarity,            September 11 attack on the New       extraordinary people's assembly
        The pro-war Culture              passion and wit.                      York World Trade Centre.             the following month, school
     Secretary’s attempt to protect          It is powerfully illustrated          They show the centrality to      students' revolts and the strikes
     Hyde Park's grass from a million    and punctuated with                   the drive to war of oil - or,        and protests around Britain
     protesters was foiled, of course,   recollections, verses and             rather, the ability to profit from   when the Iraq war was
     by the organisers’ refusal to       testimony that demonstrate the        it - and the strategic desire to     unleashed.
     budge, Michael Foot's offer to      movement’s diversity and              bolster Israel at the expense of         This is a remarkable
     lead the march into the park        vitality.                             the Palestinians.                    historical document, but it is not
     and massive public derision.            They include RMT general              And they describe how the        a wistful look back at something
        The irony of a member of a       secretary Bob Crow’s speech at        seeds of the movement were           past and gone: it is the taking
     government unleashing a war         that record-smashing                  sown, how it caught, articulated     stock of a vital work in
     that has cost in excess of          demonstration, as well as Tube        and mobilised the popular anti-      progress.
     100,000 lives being so              Workers Against the War activist      war mood, and how it stood                                  Derek Kotz
     concerned about the well-being      Unjum Mirza on how the                against the racist backlash and      Stop the War by Andrew Murray and
                                                                                                                    Lindsey German
     of the grass is not lost on the     London Underground’s PA               in defence of civil liberties.
     book’s authors, Stop the War        system was used to announce               Murray and German take us        Available to RMT News readers at the
                                                                                                                    reduced price of £12.99 from Bookmarks
     Coalition chair Andrew Murray       anti-war demonstrations.              through the immediate post-
                                                                                                                    on 020 7637 1848, or in person at 1
     and convenor Lindsey German.            The authors use the               September 11 days and the war        Bloomsbury Street, London, WC1B 3QE –
        "Ms Jowell once said she         warmongers' own words to              on Afghanistan, the build-up to      quote ‘RMT offer’

                                                                                                                               may 2005 ::     RMTnews

                                           The Travellers’ Prayer                                         Dear editor,
CLASSIFIED ADS                             Your sandwiches weren’t curly, that was just a joke,
                                                                                                          I had an accident at work (Onllwyn washery
                                                                                                          nr Neath, South Wales) on 6/7/2000 and
                                           Your tea, somewhat insipid, was drunk by many folk,            had to go sick due to my injuries.
FLORIDA                                    But came a time when government thought it was going broke,    Eventually, EWS freight company terminated
                                           Sell you off, make money, was indeed their hope,               my employment through ill-health in 2003
10% discount on rates for RMT              So you were broken into pieces by the secretary of state,
                                                                                                          after 43 years service.
members. Beautiful 3 bedroom 2                                                                            Through the RMT magazine I would like to
                                           And sold off as regions that we soon began to hate,
bathroom villa in Florida5 minutes drive                                                                  express my thanks and gratitude to John
from Disney. Exceptionally central         Their safety record is a sheer disgrace,                       Kilmister, solicitor for Patteson and Brewer,
location. Own pool with screen porch       For accidents seem common place,                               who took up the case against EWS. His
and overlooking a lake. Will sleep 8 and
cot facilities are available.              As I stand upon this platform, among the dirt and grime,       excellent work finally brought my claim to a
Tel. 01202 427854                                                                                         successful conclusion.
                                           I soon begin to realise that my train won’t be on time,
www.indianwellskissimmeevillas.co.uk                                                                      I would also like to thank Swansea No1
                                           That’s the third time this week I hear commuters wail,
                                                                                                          branch secretary Ken Thomas for his
                                           Dear Lord, all is forgiven, please bring back British Rail     excellent help, guidance and support.
FLORIDA, Kissimmee, luxury villa. CD
available 01268-750062
                                           RLF Cox                                                                  Yours sincerely
                                                                                                                    Jeff Bromfield
additional discount for RMT members
                                           RMT £25 prize crossword
                                           No. 15. Set by Elk
0870 733 0545. Get a quote and see
                                                                                                                           Last month’s
s/c lodge, sleeps 4, also B&B. Set in
farmland overlooking forest. Direct
access to trailway. Small heated pool.
Pets welcome. Ideal for walking, riding
and cycling. Close to New Forest. For
brochure call 01425 472115

Apartment in 3 star hotel on seafront.                                                                                     Winner of last month’s
Quiet area. From £75pppw.
                                                                                                                           crossword was Brian
Tel: 01803 526168
                                                                                                                           Ferguson from Darlington,
                                                                                                                           County Durham.
PARKING. Example, AIS Family Annual
Worldwide , £77.56. Tel: 0870 4607806.
All shown at www.benefits.co.uk also
displays main holiday suppliers. Save
up to 60% on airport parking and
hotels, visit: www.budget-airport-
parking.co.uk or telephone: 0870 844
2766 for a quote.                          ACROSS                                                        DOWN
                                           7    Predating; before (7)                                    1  pertaining to reality - not fictional (7)
                                           8,11 Parcels firm, part of 22group, in low-pay                2  In the open air (8)
                                                dispute with RMT (7,4,4)                                 3  Headgear, worn stereotypically by French
I would like to introduce fellow RMT       9    Withhold food (6)                                           people (6)
members to TAYCASA VILLAS, Spanish
Property specialists. We can now offer     10 See 8 (4,4)                                                4  Not said, implicit (8)
members our cashback scheme on             11 Bans -- from licenesed premises? (4)                       5  Thieved (6)
selected properties which are already
                                           12 Even (or smarmy) quality (10)                              6  Arrangement of straps for attaching
amongst the best quality and value. For
details call QUOTING RMT                   13 To incorpoarate into the basic wage (11)                      equipment to body, or vice versa (7)
01674 678 7255                             18 Takes or breaks apart (10)                                 8  Pupil (11)
                                           21 socially inept, anorak wearer, perhaps (4)                 14 One who adheres scrupulously to the rules
OTHER                                      22 Other half of 8,11 parent company (8)                         (8)
Excellent Potential. This could be the     23 Those delegated to transact business --                    15 Inclination, or party faction (8)
way to the extra earnings you may have          could be estate or secret (6)                            16 Scrubbed, erased, no longer listed (7)
been looking for. For details visit                                                                      17 Male sibling or fellow union member (7)
                                           24 Conducted oneself (well or badly) (7)
                                           25 small axe -- could be buried (7)                           19 One who is on the run or banished (6)
                                                                                                         20 Sailor, as in NUS (6)

     RMTnews     :: may 2005

     To join the RMT Credit Union you need to fill in an                                    attempt to combat Money Laundering, has imposed strict
     application form and supply us with proof of your identity                             identification rules on anyone wishing to open a Bank or
     and address. Being an existing RMT member, you may                                     Building Society account. Unfortunately, it has applied the
     wonder why we need proof of who you are and where you                                  same rules and regulations to Credit Unions.
     live. It is because the Financial Services Authority, in an

     There are two methods of supplying us with the documentation:-

     METHOD 1 Send or take your original documents, 1 from List A & 1 from List B, direct to RMT Credit, Unity House, FREEPOST, 39
     Chalton Street, London NW1 1JD. If sending valuable documents such as your passport or current full UK Driving Licence we
     strongly advise sending them by recorded delivery. We will photocopy the originals and return them to you.

     METHOD 2 Take one original document from list A and one from list B to your Branch Secretary or any of the above approved
     persons listed below:-

                       q Delegated Officer of the Branch
                       q Divisional Organiser
                       q Executive Committee Member
                       q Credit Union Officer
                       q Post Master / Sub Post Master                                           s Person with honours / peerage
                       q Authorised Financial Intermediary                                       s Full Time Trade Union Official
                       q Councillor (local or county)                                            s Member of Parliament
                       q Minister of Religion                                                    s Justice of the Peace
                       q Commissioner for oaths                                                  s Lawyer
                       q Banker                                                                  s Teacher
                       q Doctor                                                                  s Accountant
                       q Police Officer                                                          s Dentist

     The Branch Secretary or other approved person will check the original documentation; will take a photocopy, sign, and Branch
     stamp.All proof of identity / address must bear your name, and not be solely in the name of partner etc; but can be in addition to
     their name.
     Satisfactory proof of identity will include, but not be limited to the following:

     LIST (A)
          Current signed Passport.
          Current Full UK old style Driving Licence (not old style Provisional Licence) [if not used as evidence of address].
          Original Inland Revenue tax notification e.g. tax assessment, statement of account, notice of coding – valid for current year.
          Pension Book or Benefits Book or original notification letter from the Benefits Agency confirming your right to benefits (if not used as evidence of address).
          Shotgun or firearms certificate.
          ID pass and safety cards for the following companies: Network Rail, Trans Pennine Express, Central Trains
          Discharge Book (shippers only - current).
     Satisfactory proof of address will include, but not be limited to the following:

     LIST (B)
          Original Local Authority Council Tax bill valid for the current year.
          Current UK photo card Driving Licence.
          Current Full UK old style Driving Licence (not old style Provisional Licence).
          A Utility Bill e.g. Electricity, Gas, Water or Telephone bills. These must be originals and less than 3 months old. Mobile ‘phone bills are NOT acceptable.
          Bank, building society or credit union statement – within last 3 months.
          Mortgage statement from a recognised lender – within last 12 months.
          Pension Book or Benefits Book or original notification letter from the Benefits Agency confirming your right to benefits (if not used as evidence of address).
          Original Inland Revenue tax notification, letter, notice of coding, P60 or P45.
          Original housing association or letting agency tenancy agreement.
          Local council rent card or tenancy agreement
          Original Solicitor’s letter confirming recent house purchase or Land Registry confirmation.
          Household and motor Insurance certificates - current

     Credit Union accounts may only be opened and transactions accepted when verification of identity and address has been completed and cross-referenced against RMT
     membership.We are using the method of Direct Debit only and money will be deducted from your bank account on the 28th of each month. Please return completed forms and ID
     documentation, as we need to make sure you comply with the money laundering regulations. Failing to complete all forms and ID documentation will delay us from setting up
     your savings account.

                                                    RMT CREDIT UNION LTD.
                                                Finance Department, Unity House, 39 Chalton Street, London NW1 1JD
                                               RMT CREDIT UNION APPLICATION FORM – please complete your
                                                          application along with the attached Direct Debit.
                                                                                                                                                                                                   MEMBERSHIP NUMBER
P l e a s e u s e B L O C K C A P I TA L S and black ink.

      Surname                                                                                                                                  Address
      Home phone
      Mobile phone                                                                                                                             Postcode
      Email address
      Date of Birth                                                                                                                            National Insurance Number
2     Your Employment.
      Employer                                                                                                                                 RMT Branch
      Job Description
3     Mr            Mrs                Ms                    Miss
4     Membership Status
      RMT TU Member                    Retired RMT TU Member
5     How much do you wish to save £                                                                 This is the amount you wish to save in ‘shareholdings’ monthly by
      Direct Debit (you must complete form below)
6     Normally your payments are made once a month (28th) to RMT Credit Union Ltd.
7     Next of Kin         .....................................................................................
      Address             .....................................................................................
8     I undertake to abide by the rules now in force or those that are adopted.

      Your signature                                                                                                                           Date

                                                                     Instruction to your Bank or
                                                               Building Society to pay by Direct Debit

Please fill in the whole form including official use box using a ball point pen and                                          Originator’s Identification Number
Send to: RMT Credit Union Ltd., 39 Charlton Street, London NW1 1JD
                                                                                                                                9        7       4        2       8       1
Name and full postal address of your Bank or Building Society
                                                                                                                             Reference Number
 To: The Manager                                                               Bank/Building Society
                                                                                                                                                  FOR RMT CREDIT UNION LTD OFFICIAL USE ONLY
                                                        Postcode                                                                         This is not part of the the instruction to your Bank or Building Society.

Name(s) of Account Holder(s)
                                                                                                                             Instructions to your Bank or Building Society.
                                                                                                                             Please pay RMT Credit Union Ltd Direct Debits for the account detailed in this instruction subject to the safeguards
Bank/Building Society account number                                                                                         assured by the Direct Debit Guarantee. I understand that this instruction may remain with RMT Credit Union Ltd, if
                                                                                                                             so, details will be passed electronically to my Bank/Building Society.

Branch Sort Code                                                                                                              Signature(s)
                                  Banks and Building Societies may not accept Direct Debit Instructions from some types of account
     ✂                                                This guarantee should be detached and retained by the Payer.

                                                       The Direct Debit Guarantee
               q           This guarantee is offered by all Banks and Building Societies that take part in the Direct Debit Scheme.The efficiency and security of the scheme is monitored and protected by your own Bank or
                           Building Society.
               q           If the amounts to be paid or the payment date changes, RMT Credit Union Ltd will notify you 10 working days in advance of your account being debited or as otherwise agreed
               q           If an error is made by RMT Credit Union Ltd or your Bank or Building Society, you are guaranteed a full and immediate refund from your branch of the amount paid
               q           You can cancel a Direct Debit at any time by writing to your Bank or Building Society. Please also send a copy of your letter to us.
RMT fight back:

Our personal injury lawyers
won’t let bad employers get
away with it.
The law says workers have a right to safe conditions – and RMT is here to defend that right. That’s why our
Personal Injury Service is free – and even covers non-work related accidents for family members. So if you,
or a member of your family, have suffered an illness or injury due to someone else’s fault, call us now.

0800 587 751? in England, Wales and Ireland
0800 328 1014 in Scotland


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