Finsbury Park branch Annual Report 2008

By Glenroy Watson, Finsbury Park branch Chairperson

Welcome to the 2008 Annual Report of one of the biggest and most active branches on London Underground, if not the whole RMT union.

Each year we surprise even ourselves when we look back at our achievements and, even when we failed at some things, the way we fail has even then gone on to help us achieve something greater than what we have failed at. Take for instance our new meeting venue the 12 Pins – Dean has more to say in his report – many of you will not know this, but with 3 RMT branches holding their meetings there, we tried to get the RMT to buy the Red Rose club. We have now made a home at the 12 Pins, its nearer the tube station and you get to turn left.

CDS (Cleaners, Driver and Station Comrades)

Whatever way I do this, someone will always say ‘why didn’t you start with our grade?’ so this year I am doing it in alphabetical order. A number of Speakers, when talking about the Cleaners taking strike action always start by saying ‘They all said it could not be done, but we have proven them wrong.’ Well, who said it could not be done? It could not have been the Cleaners themselves, apart from two, everyone else who voted, voted YES for strike action. So they must have thought it could be done

The fact is, it was not that it could not be done, but that some did not want it done, and now that we have done it, these Comrades are being asked to pay a heavy price, and we have been so slow to respond to this. We are losing a lot of good people while we wait around for the next round of action.

We are also failing to fill the vacuum that’s left by the ‘failure to launch’ T&G.

There are Workers on the Met and Circle, where we were told T&G had Representative, who now have no representation. We need to take up the slack.

We need to strengthen our Drivers network, and our Reps knowledge and Commitment to the principles and application of an industrial Trade Union. We should not take it for granted that everyone understands it.

We need to educate our members, in all grades, that the RMT is not just another union. That it is an industrial Trade Union and that what that means is that we go to bed and wake up each morning saying to ourselves ‘no one grade is better than another. No one set of Workers is better than another, and our duty as Industrial Trade Unionist is, where we find that it is not so, ‘we must make it so.’

Unless we do this, educate not only our Representatives, but all, our members will fall victim to the philosophy of those unions who preach ‘self, self, self’ not only when they take promotion but in their daily lives. I’ve asked that paid meal breaks be put back on the agenda of this years pay claim. With only 30 minutes of to run down to the local Chippey, most station staff spend their unpaid meal break in the mess room. Why should we not be paid for it? Also, it will go some way to reducing hours.


Next year the UN will be holding a Global conference on the elimination of racism. I was one of 3 delegates who attended the last conference in South Afrika in 2001, and I am hoping to attend next years in Geneva. By the time of our AGM we will already know if the most powerful country in the world has elected it first ever Black President. I am not holding my breath. In 2001 Colin Powell was to have been in South Afrika, instead the US boycotted the conference. The only reason they’ll be there is to do the same things again. With great power comes great responsibility. Someone should have told Uncle Sam One Speaker this year is a Trade Unionist from Holland’s FNV who’ll tell us what happen when Black Workers report racism in his neck of the woods.


Nowadays they don’t even wait for the so called ‘far right’ parties to start using ‘migrant Workers’ as the reason – and solution – to the economic downturn. New Labour, our Labour party got in first with planned expulsion.

In the meantime, the thieves in the city who are refusing to lend to each other – which is the true cause of the downturn – are having more and more money shovelled at them ‘to encouraged them to lend!!’ Am I going mad? These people would sack you as soon as look at you? If we have a Boss that’s not doing what he is supposed to, then should sack them and get new one. That’s what they would so to us. Why should we give them any more of our money? It’s money that could have gone, toward feeding and housing the world.

NEXT WORKERS MEMORIAL DAY Tuesday 28th April 2009

All 3 railways union have planted a tree at Euston station in honour of Rail Workers who died each year within our industry; Then all 3 walked away?

Every year, for the last 5 years, Branch delegates, sometime joined by others, have attended the site, cleared away the weeds and rubbish that always gathers under any tree left unattended for the whole year, watering it, saying a few words for lost comrades. Photo on front of Report shows Branch Secretary Dean and Stonebridge Rep Godday at this year’s event.

I took the photo. So, just us 3 again! It is yet another reason why we are paying high honours and respect to Godday at the AGM this year. Not just about his work within the Cleaning Grade, but because he recognised that for the trade union movement to work, most definitely in an “Industrial Union” it must include ALL.