New Worker Banner

The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain


On the Trains

by New Worker correspondent

RAIL UNION RMT seems to be particularly active on the industrial front. On Saturday RMT took their fourth day of action against East Midlands Trains.

Mick Cash noted that as the action against operator Stagecoach took place the very day before its franchise ended. This demonstrated that “the disruption to services today is solely down to the slash and burn tactics of Stagecoach as they run their franchises down before they are booted off the railway. It is the company’s hostile attitude to their staff that has forced us to strike again today”.

He warned the incomer that “RMT is available for talks with Abellio as they take over but we will not be strung along and I expect the new franchise holder to start taking this dispute seriously.”

On another franchise, South Western Railway (SWR), the same union has extended industrial action until the 2nd September to support their long-running campaign to ensure that all trains have guards on board.

The union accuses SWR of dragging its heels on talks and has accused the company of “deliberately trying to mug off staff, who have stood firm in the fight for rail safety, by making a mockery of the talks process”. In addition it accuses the company of making it “quite clear in talks with the union earlier this year that the protection of their profit margins is a determining factor in their future operational model proving that this is all about putting profits before passenger safety”. RMT also says Management had reneged on a February pledge that “each passenger train shall operate with a guard with safety critical competencies”.

Cash said: “We have spent most of this year trying to negotiate a conclusion to this dispute. It is wholly down to the management side that the core issue of the safety critical competencies and the role of the guard has not been agreed. This has left us with no option but to take further strike action.”

action

RMT members employed to repair tracks by Clarke Chapman Facilities Management, a contractor carrying out track maintenance across the UK for Network Rail, will be taking another round of strike action in a pay dispute which last resulted in the contractor’s scheduled work being cancelled. Two 48 hour strikes will take place this weekend and next. Additionally, a continuous overtime and rest day working ban remains in force.

Mick Cash said: “Our members have been forced to take strike action again in their fight for pay justice at Clarke Chapman Facilities Management. I would like to congratulate them for their steadfast determination. Last time they took action all of the company’s planned work was cancelled. This was an absolutely fantastic outcome and proves what can happen when union members stand together”.

He condemned the company because it has “still not contacted the union to try and resolve this dispute. It is clear that they are burying their heads in the sand, in hope that the dispute will resolve itself. This is an appalling way to hold negotiations and just shows the clear contempt management has for its workers”.

Another group of rail workers taking industrial action are the cleaners employed to clean Network Rail managed stations. On Tuesday a fortnight of protest action against poverty pay was launched at Glasgow Central Station.

RMT is demanding Justice for Mitie cleaners and is urging the public to sign the petition supporting a living wage for a group of crucial staff who do some of the dirtiest jobs on our railways.

Network Rail has outsourced the work of cleaning many of their stations to a company called Mitie Facilities Management, part of the Mitie Group plc. Mitie Group paid nearly £49 million to its shareholders in dividends in the last five years. But it won’t pay its cleaners the Real Living Wage.

The RMT General Secretary said: “It is a scandal that the staff employed by outsourcing giant Mitie who clean stations for Network Rail, doing some of the dirtiest work in the rail industry at all hours of the night and day, are struggling to make ends meet and are paid below the Real Living Wage.

Cash Said: “RMT will be doing all it can to support Mitie cleaners, cleaning up the vomit, human waste and the rest of the filth at our stations, in their fight to make this wealthy company do the right thing and pay its workers a Real Living Wage,”.