Janine's blog

Message of support to French rail strikers

I have sent the following message of support to French rail strikers. You can read about their action here.

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I am writing on behalf of the London Transport Region of the National Union of Rail Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) here in the UK. I write to tell you of our strong support for the action you are taking in defence of pensions.

Article against Job Cuts

I have written this article for my local anti-cuts campaign newsletter in Hackney ...

We may not have London Underground here in Hackney (except at our very edges!), but the loss of 800 Tube staff posts would still affect us - in a very bad way. So, many Hackney residents and workers fully support Tube unions RMT and TSSA in their campaigning and industrial action against these cuts.

Tube Lines and Metronet: What They Said About Themselves

This is what our two failed Infracos said about themselves before they signed their PPP contracts ...

"Tube Lines believes that it will add value to the vital public service provided by LUL by delivering on time and to budget."

"Metronet has the skills, the knowledge and the ability along with sound financial backing to help turn London Underground into a system fit for the 21st century."

If anyone had to eat their words, the bosses of these consortia would have alphabetti spaghetti on the menu for years to come ...

Does the Economic Crisis Mean that Employers "Have To" Cut Jobs?

Both London Underground and Tube Lines - and, no doubt, many other companies - will tell us that they "have to" cut jobs because of the economic crisis. But a look at London Underground's history shows that this is not just untrue - it is the opposite of the truth.

London Underground began in 1863, when private companies starting opening lines. By the 1920s, the Underground had expanded into a web of lines beneath London, run by several different private companies.

Making Grades Committees More Effective

organiseI have tabled these thoughts for discussion at today's Regional Council Executive meeting ...

For some time, I have been thinking over the potential benefits of enhancing the role of grades committees within the Region, and would like to schedule a discussion on the subject at this month's Regional Council Executive, with a view to circulating some firm proposals in good time for February's AGM. Here are some thoughts:

Death Knell for PPP?

headlinesI've written the following article for 'Solidarity' newspaper ...

A decision by the PPP Arbiter in December may prove to be a fatal punch to private infrastructure company Tube Lines and the whole ‘Public-Private Partnership’ set-up on London Underground.

The New Labour government imposed the PPP at the very end of 2002, despite widespread opposition. PPP organised the Underground’s infrastructure into three groups of lines, and transferred them to private consortia known as Infracos, two to now-defunct Metronet, one – the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines – to Tube Lines.

Understanding the PPP Arbiter's Draft Directions

On 17 December, the PPP Arbiter published an important document, which may turn out to be a staging post in the collapse of Tube Lines and – following 2007’s similar collapse of Metronet – of the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) itself.

It also contains information about issues of great concern to London Underground and TubeLines staff - including problems with the Jubilee line upgrade, pensions, the London Living Wage, cuts in stations refurbishments, "machine-room-less escalators", and engineering staff working across all lines.

As it is a very long and technical document, I have attempted to summarise and explain it here.

RMT Changes Rule - Shorter Qualifying Time for AGM Delegates

Under RMT's rule book, a member could only stand for election as a delegate to the union's Annual General Meeting (AGM) once s/he had been a member for five years. Many union branches felt that this rule was unfair and out-of-date, and submitted a proposal to last Friday's Special Meeting to reduce the qualifying period to three years.

I am pleased to report that, following a lively debate and a close vote, the proposal was passed. Printed below is the speech I made in proposing the rule change, which outlines the reasons and arguments behind the change.

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