Industrial news in brief

Submitted by Matthew on 25 September, 2019 - 8:24 Author: Gerry Bates

Strikes in Bristol, Nottingham, Colchester, Newcastle and South London have continued the campaign by Deliveroo riders and the IWGB union, for better pay and conditions.

The Nottingham riders demands included reverting the fee change back to the previous minimum of £3.90 for cyclists and £4.15 for motorised vehicles and removing the vehicle priority which has seen cars and motorbikes get priority over bicycles.

In Bristol an ongoing issue is the safety of riders, particularly moped drivers who have found themselves attacked and victims of robbery while they go about their work.

In Brixton, South London there have now been two strikes and the IWGB is building up support among the couriers.

DOO fight rekindles

RMT, the railworkers union has declared a disputed with West Midlands Trains over their plans to introduce Driver Only Operation. Preparations for a ballot of guards for strike action and action short of strike are now happening.

The issue of DOO is national with train operating companies introducing it at different rates and in slightly different forms. RMT and Aslef the largest union for train drivers need to organise their members to fight it. The situation across other TOCs is a mixed bag.

Southern Rail is still formally in dispute but with no strike action for several years. Recently planned strikes on Merseyrail were also called off.

Industrial action on District Line

RMT station staff on the east end of the District Line have got a resounding result for action short of strike to defend workers safety against a sharp increase in violence across the area.

In the light of a recent incident at West Ham where a supposedly secure door was broken down and staff members assaulted the issue is now one of extreme urgency. RMT has already warned that the action will escalate if management refuse to act.

From 27 September staff on the balloted stations will only work alone if they can do so from a place of safety and they will not attend incidents on the train or detrain passengers from a train on their own.

Figures released on 23 September show there has been a 40% increase in sexual assaults across London Underground. The continued push for fewer staff will make the Tube increasingly unsafe for workers and passengers.

A properly funded and well-staffed network must be a key focus for the rail unions.

GMB contest blocked

Union insiders say that the election of the new general secretary of the GMB union has already been decided — without a contest.

Three members had declared an interest in standing by 8 July. They had until 11 September to get at least 50 branch nominations. The minimum required was previously 30, but has now been increased to 50.

One candidate, Jack Yates, fell far short of 50 nominations.

Kathleen Walker Shaw, the GMB European Officer, got 57 nominations. But then candidates with 50 or more nominations were “vetted” by the GMB Finance and General Purposes Committee.

Meeting on 16 September, the F&GP decided that she lacked the competencies to be a GMB General Secretary and would therefore not be put on the ballot paper.

At a subsequent meeting of the GMB Central Executive Committee, a member queried the decision, but was told that it was a decision for the F&GP, not for the Central Executive Committee.

Someone then shouted out “next business”, lots of people then shouted “agreed”, and the meeting moved to the next item on the agenda.

The incumbent, Tim Roache, got more than 50 branch nominations, and was deemed competent. So that's that?

The election timetable stated that candidates' election addresses, to be sent out with the ballot paper, had to be provided by 23 September.

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