Janine's blog

Women (and men) workers in Finland's transport industry

On the first day of the ETF Women's Committee meeting, several Finnish transport trade unionists attended as guests, including women from the logistics, shipping, rail and salaried sectors. We also had a presentation from Tapio Bergholm, who has written a history of Finnish transport workers. The Finnish member of the ETF Women's Committee is Satu, from the Finnish Seamen's Union, who was elected one of the two Vice-Chairs of the Committee.

Driverless trains: a warning from Helsinki

The underground railway (Metro) in Finland's capital city Helsinki is due to go 'driverless' in 2016. I discussed this with Finnish trade unionists Jussi and Satu, and heard a story that has important lessons for London Underground workers and passengers trying to prevent the same calamity happening in London.

The proposal to introduce driverless operation on the Helsinki Metro was first raised in 2007. The trade unions opposed it (note that as city council employees, the Metro workers are members of the public sector trade union rather than a transport union).

Speaking Out about Autism at Work

This is the speech I gave at TUC Disabled Workers' Conference in proposing RMT's resolution on Autism in the Workplace.

Andrew Beck has Asperger syndrome, an autistic spectrum condition. He was a golf club greenkeeper for 13 years with no problems, until a new boss bullied, humiliated and assaulted him, and forced him out of his job. Andrew won £78k at Employment Tribunal

Adam O’Dee has autism and dyslexia. He got a job through Remploy as a hotel chef. His boss bullied him and paid him half the minimum wage. Adam won £40k+ at employment Tribunal.

Help Brian's Fight for Life! Sponsored Lego Marathon

I will soon be doing a Lego marathon in aid of the Brian Munro Cancer Fighting Fund. I will be building for 20 hours non-stop, in an attempt to complete the 3,803-piece Death Star in one sitting. The date is not yet finalised, but the whole thing will be live streamed. Pledge your sponsorship (either an amount per hour or a lump sum) as a comment by emailing me, and I'll let you know details of watching (optional!) and paying up.

Article on Domestic Violence

I wrote this article for Labour Briefing:

On International Working Women’s Day, set up over 100 years ago by socialist women in the workers’ movement to fight for our rights, RMT launched our model policy for transport employers about domestic violence.

Two years ago, the union's Women's Conference passed a policy rightly deploring cuts to women’s refuges. But as a trade union, we also have a responsibility to identify the workplace implications of domestic violence, and to press this issue through our collective bargaining with employers.

Launching RMT's Model Domestic Violence Policy

This is the speech I gave at RMT Women's Conference in launching the union's model Domestic Violence policy:

Today is International Women’s Day. Actually, it’s International Working Women’s Day, set up over 100 years ago by socialist women in the workers’ movement to fight for our rights.

RMT has chosen today to launch our model policy for transport employers about domestic violence.

Email to Egyptian Embassy: Don't ban strikes and workers' meetings

I have today sent the following email to the Egyptian Embassy, eg.emb_london@mfa.gov.eg

I have today read in the media (for example, here: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/14/us-egypt-idUSTRE70O3UW20110214...) that Egypt’s military authorities are planning to issue an order banning workers’ meetings and strikes. If this is true, I wish to register the strongest possible objection.

Links: Workers' and Trade Union Involvement in Egyptian Uprising

banner
While the exciting events in Egypt make headline news, the mainstream media do not tell us much about workers' and trade union involvement. So I have compiled this selection of links:

RMT Marches with Students

RMT members joined other trade unionists and students in marching through London today to protest against rises in tuition fees, cuts in education funding, and the scrapping of the Education Maintenance Allowance (EMA).

EPS branch banner
placard says clegg epic fail









NUT placard
janine speaking




The last photo shows me speaking at the opening rally, giving solidarity greetings from RMT - after a speaker from the National Campaign Against Fees and Cuts had sent a speaker to our Regional Council meeting two days previously.