Minutes: Regional Council Meeting, 27 August 2009


  • Bakerloo branch -
  • Camden no.3 branch - Pat O'Brien, John Reid, Tony Gandolfi
  • Central Line West branch -
  • DLR branch -
  • East Ham branch - Andy Izard
  • Finsbury Park branch - Glenroy Watson, Dean O'Hanlon, Richard Crane
  • LU Fleet branch -
  • Hammersmith & City branch - Mark Harding, Josie Toussaint-Pinnock
  • Jubilee South & East London Line branch -
  • London Taxi Drivers branch - John Kennedy, Eddie Lambert, Dave Vigeon
  • LU Engineering branch - Paul Jackson, Jackie Darby
  • Morden & Oval branch - Arwyn Thomas
  • Neasden branch -
  • Piccadilly & District West branch - Gwyn Pugh
  • Retired Members' branch -
  • Stratford no.1 branch - Unjum Mirza, Adrian Finney, Bill O'Dowd, Janine Booth (meeting secretary)
  • TfL no.1 branch - Linda Wiles (meeting chair), Carol Foster
  • Thames Riverboats branch -
  • In attendance - Steve Hedley (Regional Organiser), Olly New (Council of Executives member), Saladin Mohamed (guest speaker), Phil Boston (Organising Unit)


Bob McMunn, Vaughan Thomas, Dave Rayfield, Paul Rutland, Lindsey Rutland, Becky Crocker, Frank Curtis, Will Reid, Gash Carney, Adrian Rower, Clara Osagiede


Proposed by East Ham; seconded by Piccadilly & District West. Agreed as true and correct.



* At this point of the meeting, the chair invited Dean O'Hanlon to announce the recent death of long-standing RMT activist John Knight. Dean gave details of the funeral. Carol Foster announced the recent death of RMT member Ray Langley. The meeting observed a minute’s silence in remembrance of these two brothers.


Phil Boston reported. He circulated his contact details, and asked for reps to contact him to arrange organising days in their areas.


Glenroy Watson introduced Saladin Mohamed. Saladin spoke about:

  • his part of Southern USA, where there is an anti-union tradition
  • his union - the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers Union - which was formed by the CIO in the 1930s but did not join the AFL-CIO merger because it would not sign a pledge to exclude radicals
  • the fact that in North Carolina, the state will not negotiate with the unions, which also has a knock-on effect in the private sector
  • low union membership levels in the south - there are nore trade union members in New York State than in the 12 Southern states put together
  • the large proportion of his union members who are black - they are the majority of the worst-paid public sector workers
  • that when black workers ask for unity, there is sometimes resistance; but when white workers ask for unity, black workers deliver it
  • his union's militant fight for better working conditions, currently fighting cutbacks prompted by the economic crisis
  • the Republic Doors & Windows occupation
  • the problems with "business unionism": the model under which union make concessions to the bosses especially during times of crisis, hitting the worst-off workers the hardest
  • the "state of emergency" campaign - every time there is a safety violations, the union files a complaint
  • his view that workplace dignity is the key issue for workers and unions


Olly New reported on:

  • the Vestas workers' fight against their factory's closure
  • Network Rail's plan to shed 1,800 maintenance jobs and to introduce immigration checks on workers from 1 October
  • DB Schenker
  • ASLEF "winning" pay rises which may include productivity concessions
  • Scotrail's attack on guards' jobs
  • LUL dispute: pay offer not changed; strike dates decided, then there were further talks, then management confirmed all RMT members would get a job; management accepts "jobs for life" deal applies to all operational staff; RMT suspended industrial action; more talks to take place on pay, date to be confirmed
  • Pensions - we have defeated attempt to restrict enhanced pensions via 'all-work test'
  • Victoria Line ballot re. '5-rounders'
  • DLR: ballot for control room staff again, following referendum rejection of £6,000 'sweetener' to bring in new rosters
  • ballot for action short of strikes on Serco Woolwich Ferry
  • possible ballot on TubeLines
  • Kevin Dobinson ballot result
  • accepted pay offer on CBS Outdoor
  • accepted pay offer on Alstom - 2.5% (2.65% for lower-paid grades)
  • new London Taxis branch allocated to LT region
  • timescale for LUL functional council elections
  • cleaners: RMT is working with BBC to get documentary made; Eurostar/Vrigin Carlisle group cleaners' strike

Points raised in discussion:

  • Vestas: request for RMT support for public meeting on 17 September day of action - reply: agree - will pursue
  • ill-health pensions being rejected - reply: unaware of this; need discussion
  • motivation for Network Rail immigration checks - reply: implementation of government policy
  • need for written organising plan for cleaners
  • LUL job cuts are in female-dominated grades; workers have been displaced into inappropriate grades; RMT has not done enough; what is it going to do? - reply: agree; need to discuss tactics
  • success in Employment Tribunal vs. ISS - reply: need to rebuild; we should provide advice to activists on supporting cleaners

At this point, the chair welcomed the London Taxi Drivers branch into the region, and the three delegates addressed the meeting, reporting on:

  • campaign around ranks at Heathrow airport
  • membership = 270 and growing
  • issues with immigrant workers


Steve Hedley reported on:

  • RMT's stance of defending and organising immigrant workers
  • LUL dispute: have made steps forward, but have not 100% defended the 'jobs for life' agreement; all RMT members offered a job; other unions have rejected pay, but so far, ASLEF are riding on our action
  • TfL dispute: TSSA and Unite now in dispute re. transparency in redundancy process - but not balloting
  • ISS cutting jobs, increasing workload, refusing to pay London Living Wages, threatening to cut hours and therefore pay
  • CBS Outdoor: want to sack workers who place advertising cards on Tube trains, then take them on again as 'self-employed'
  • buses: there was a lively meeting last Monday
  • taxi drivers: welcome ot the union

Points raised in discussion:

  • thanks to Steve for circulating accurate information re dispute; head office material was propaganda, not all accurate
  • have we won a 'victory' in the LUL dispute? different points of view expressed - reply: outcome is not perfect, but is good enough under the circumstances; we can defend agreements and win victories when we are strong enough to do do
  • 1,000 jobs still went, even if no RMT members made compulsorily redundant
  • what about bullying? we have reps sacked and suspended - reply: there is a working party on bullying, which Olly sits on; LUL has dropped harassment charge against Elaine Holness, but is now pursuing her on other grounds
  • members not keen on striking again given the steps forward we have achieved
  • should have recruitment drive among manager and admin grades
  • update on EDF? - reply: pay offer 0.5% plus productivity; management then withdrew it, knowing it was not good enough; there will now be more talks
  • snow day pay
  • protection of earnings for those displaced: have female-dominated grades been treated worse than male-dominated grades in previous situations?
  • need to organise in workplaces - reply: agree; reps must go round and win people over; we are not as weak as we feared we were, but not as strong as we wish we were
  • Carl Campbell dispute - reply: when branch asks for more action, we will call it
  • threatened job cuts on TfL - reply: we need to work on a strategy

During his contribution, Unjum Mirza announced his resignation from all RMT positions and said he would explain the reasons at the Regional Council Executive meeting. Pat O'Brien later recorded his appreciation for Unjum's work whilst on the Stations Safety Council.


In the absence of delegates from branches submitting resolutions, there was discussion as to how to deal with the resolutions. The chair ruled that any resolution whose submitting branch did not have a delegate could be moved by another branch; if no branch wished to do so, it could be deferred.

(a) Mayor Johnson and 'Chicken Feed', submitted by Jubilee South and East London Line (absent), proposed by Hammersmith and City, seconded by Camden 3

This Regional Council is appalled, but not surprised, by the recent comments made by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, that his payment of £250k, for writing a Sunday newspaper column, was nothing more than ‘chicken feed’.

We feel this is a disgrace, considering the Mayor’s actions in intervening in the current LUL pay dispute, and also the failure to pay cleaners the London living wage.

As part of this union’s campaign for a decent pay increase, and to ensure cleaners working on LUL get paid, as a minimum, the London living wage, we recommend that a demonstration be held outside the mayor’s office, with suitable propaganda etc, stating that LUL staff and cleaners want ‘Chicken feed’ for wages, just like the Mayor has for his ‘second job!’

Carried: 7 for, 0 against, 2 abstentions

(b) Swine flu, submitted by Jubilee South and East London Line (absent), proposed by Hammersmith & City, seconded by TfL no.1

This Regional Council believes that LUL management's consistent refusal to meet with the safety council and discuss a strategy for dealing with the outbreak of swine influenza is completely unacceptable.

As the virus is now spreading at an increasingly rapid rate, steps need to be taken to prevent the spread of it in the workplace by all practical measures. This is to protect those amongst the staff and those they are in contact with who fall in to the groups which have been classified as vulnerable e.g. pregnant women, those suffering with certain medical conditions such as diabetes and respiratory conditions or receiving medical treatments such as chemotherapy.

As NHS advice has emphasised the importance of extra vigilance of hygiene we demand that medical wipes be made readily available to all staff in all workplaces and a regime of monitoring that standards of cleaning are adequately met is implemented.

Further, as medical advice emphasises the absolute necessity of keeping those infected in isolation, we demand that the Attendance at Work policy is suspended for those who are infected with swine flu for the duration of the illness.

Clarification was sought that: swine flu has been exempted from LUL's Attendance procedure; RMT head office has already written to all employers making these and other demands.

Carried unanimously.

(c) Annual leave monitoring of Trains Functional Council reps, submitted by Neasden (absent)

Following a contribution from Dean O'Hanlon, it was agreed to remit this resolution to the Regional Council Executive

(d) Affiliation of Branches with London Overground members, submitted by the Regional Council Executive

This union believes that:

1. London Overground is now under the auspices of Transport for London.

2. We need to campaign effectively for improved pay and conditions across TfL and its subsidiaries / franchisees, and for the reintegration of London's transport into a single publicly-owned body.

3. We will be most effective in doing this if London Overground RMT members are working closely with members in the rest of London Transport

Further, we note that:

1. Rule 11 of the RMT states that "With a view to furthering the interests of the Union and its members, the Branches of the Union shall be grouped by the Council of Executives into Regions. For each such Region there shall be formed a Regional Council to which each Branch within the area shall be affiliated except that any Branch with members employed in London Transport shall also affiliate to the London Transport Regional Council in respect of those members", and that this clearly means that those branches with members employed by London Overground should affiliate to the LTRC in respect of those members, while remaining affiliated to their current Regional Councils in respect of members employed by other companies outside TfL.

2. East London Rail branch has already discussed this matter and agreed that it wishes to affiliate to the LTRC in respect of its London Overground members.

We therefore request that the Council of Executives implement the provisions of Rule 11 quoted above and arrange for those branches with members employed by London Overground to affiliate to the London Transport Regional Council.

Discussion centred around the technicalities of how such matters as voting would be arranged, and the need to consult other Regional Councils involved.

Passed unanimously.

(e) Second Regional Organiser, submitted by Neasden (absent), with amendment submitted by the Regional Council Executive

It was agreed to remit this resolution to next month's Regional Council's meeting.

(f) Economic crises, submitted by LU Fleet (absent), proposed by Camden 3, seconded by LU Engineering.

Branch notes:

That the economic crisis, internationally and domestically, is leading to soaring unemployment, insecurity and devastation of communities.

UK unemployment is well over 2 million and headed sharply upwards. But much worse is to come. Nearly half a million people have now been unemployed for at least 12 months.

Young people are particularly badly affected. There are 820,000 unemployed under the age of 25. Around 600,000 people leave school this summer and many will not find jobs.

Branch believes:

• That the government has found tens of billions to bailout banks and financial institutions, but has done very little to defend workers’ jobs and living standards.

• That instead of saving jobs, the government is pressing ahead with policies that threaten jobs from Royal Mail to local government to the civil service to the NHS.

• That individual unions and the TUC should be leading the fight against job losses by opposing redundancies, resisting closures and demanding a transformation of government policy.

• That individual unions and the TUC should also be demanding a rise in payments to the unemployed including enhanced Jobseekers Allowance and other benefits and the payment of mortgage interest or rent from day one of unemployment.

• That unemployment will increase attacks on the pay and conditions of employed workers, and increase temporary and agency employment without full rights.

• That the Visteon workers in Enfield, Belfast and Basildon, by occupying their plants and continuing their campaign for jobs, have been an inspiration to workers everywhere and have shown how to fight.

• That further victories have come at Linamar and Lindsey in July.

• That the unemployed, especially the young unemployed, and school and college leavers should be involved in demonstrations and protests for jobs.

Branch resolves:

1. To call on our union leaders and the TUC to actively oppose job losses and closures.

2. To support the demonstration at the Labour Party conference in Brighton on Sunday 27 September, called by the UCU and supported by the NUJ, around the theme of combating unemployment and protecting public services. To publicise this event widely among stewards and members, send our branch banner, and set aside a donation for transport.

3. To forward this motion to the Trades Council, the region, the national union, and the regional TUC.

Passed unanimously.


Newport Isle of Wight no.2 branch appeal. Janine Booth proposed that the Regional Council dmonate £20 to the Vestas appeal, and hold a further collection on the door. This was agreed unanimously, and the collection raised £71.30.

Janine also expressed concern that earlier this year, the General Secretary had advised that branches were not allowed to set up hardship funds. Following discussion, it was agreed that the Secretary should write to the General Secretary requesting an explanation for this.


Janine Booth introduced the report. Points were made about legal representation for Glenroy Watson (Olly New to pursue); and the legal challenge.


  • Pensions Consultative Committee (Mark Harding). Mark reminded eveyone to please urge all members to vote for Mark Harding and Linda Martin (LUL section); and Duncan Delvin (TfL section).
  • Book: 'Guilty and Proud of it' (Janine Booth). Janine reported on her recently-published book.
  • Black and Ethnic Minority Members' Officer (Pat O'Brien). Pat advised the meeting that Camden 3 branch nominates Clara Osagiede for the vacant post of Black and Ethnic Minority Members' Officer. there being no other nominations, Clara was elected.
  • Cleaners (Richard Crane).

Meeting closed 19:00