Minutes: Regional Council meeting, 29 October 2009


  • Bakerloo branch -
  • Camden no.3 branch - Pat O'Brien, Geoff Palmer, Becky Crocker, Mick Crossey
  • Central Line West branch - Vaughan Thomas (meeting chair), Stefan Melnyk, Verdi, Steve Blewitt, Vik Parmar
  • DLR branch - Chris Ives
  • East Ham branch - Andy Izard
  • Finsbury Park branch - Will Reid, Dave Rayfield, Mercy Odisi
  • LU Fleet branch -
  • Hammersmith & City branch - Mark Harding, Josie Toussaint-Pinnock
  • Jubilee South & East London Line branch -
  • London Taxis branch -
  • LU Engineering branch - Andy Littlechild, Lewis Peacock, Frank Murray, Jackie Darby, Paul Jackson
  • Morden & Oval branch - Arwyn Thomas, Brian Page
  • Neasden branch - Nigel Eivers, Dave Phillips
  • Piccadilly & District West branch - Gwyn Pugh, Neil Hodgson
  • Retired Members' branch -
  • Stratford no.1 branch - Adrian Finney, Janine Booth (meeting secretary)
  • TfL no.1 branch - Linda Wiles, Carol Foster
  • Thames Riverboats branch -
  • In attendance - Steve Hedley (Regional Organiser), Olly New (Council of Executives member)


Adrian Rowe, John Kelly, Malcolm Taylor, Bob McMunn, Jared Wood, Clara Osagiede, Mark O'Donnell, Peter Sheridan, Glenroy Watson, Dean O'Hanlon, Martin Sharpe, Steve Reeley, Les Bruty, Phil Boston (Organising Unit)


Proposed by Stratford no.1; seconded by LU Engineering. Agreed as true and correct.


  • Janine Booth reported that the General Secretary had rejected our resolution Young Members' Advisory Committee - Formation as per Rule Book because it used the word "instructs", and we are not allowed to instruct the Executive! Janine proposed, and it was agreed, to resubmit the resolution replacing the term "This branch instructs" with "This Regional Council requests".


Dave Rayfield reported on:

  • progress with the Region's recruitment/retention campaign aimed at promotional drivers - materials now available
  • an organising day aimed at central London station staff on Wednesday 11 November - meet at Unity House 10am, then go out in pairs round stations - all branches to send at least one person, funding unpaid leave if necessary
  • the importance of keeping membership information up-to-date
  • Scott Perkins moving on from his current post at RMT Membership Department; Scott has been very helpful to our Regional Council.

Points raised in discussion - 11 November is Remembrance Day, so station staff may be extra busy; all branches to attend head office with membership information; newly-promoted drivers are being placed in upgrades pool


Olly New reported on:

  • EDF Powerlink legal judgment against our ballot
  • LUL pay: reps' meeting; ballot being prepared
  • TfL pay: going to ACAS
  • Eurostar/Carlisle group cleaners' dispute
  • Alstom, Stratford Market depot: request for ballot to demand pay parity with other locations
  • Vic line 5-rounders dispute: we won
  • Brian Whitehead has been re-elected unopposed as Relief Regional Organiser; other results to follow
  • RMT has identified a member who is a BNP councillor: action to be taken
  • RMT finances and pension fund: proposals going to SGM
  • Legal assistance: several appeals upheld
  • Legal services to be discussed at Statutory Executive meeting
  • CWU dispute

Points raised in discussion:

  • EDF ruling: how to name grades? - reply: won't know until written judgment received
  • Why has report on Stratford branch finances not been released to the branch? - reply: GS commissioned enquiry into an individual, and therefore felt it was not appropriate to go into the general arena; Executive has received a complaint about this, which it will deal with
  • Executive's proposal to reduce pension benefits for future staff will seriously damage the union's ability to defend its members from similar attacks from employers - reply: share concerns, but the union is not the same as capitalist employer, and has a financial problem to deal with
  • There are reports of RMT talking with other groups about General Election candidates; it should talk to its own members too, but has not, which is undemocratic and wrong - reply: any reports of talks are not true; but there has been some discussion of a possible candidate against Nick Griffin (BNP)
  • Incident of Holborn CSA being filmed and posted on YouTube: various points, concern that it could lead to increased hounding of staff, but we support eg. police being held accountable if filmed assaulting protesters - reply: agree with concerns
  • Need LUL pay ballot up and running as soon as possible; unity with ASLEF if possible, but RMT act alone if necessary - reply: disagree: unity with ASLEF is not going to happen, because they are against us
  • Should co-ordinate action with posties - reply: agree
  • Invite opinions on constitution for strike committee - reply: strike committee exists to help organise strikes; it doesn't need a constitution


Standing orders were suspended to allow Becky Crocker, Young Members' Officer, to speak about the forthcoming Young Members' Conference. Becky asked everyone to distribute posters around their workplace, and encourage young members to attend, even if they are not already active in the union. It was clarified that branches should pay expenses, which may include lost wages, to delegates, and that head office will refund £35 per delegate to branches.

Standing orders resumed.


Steve Hedley reported on:

  • EDF Powerlink pay talks: offer has improved, but only up to level of LUL's offer; RMT is reballoting
  • LUL pay: Unite to ballot; Gerry Duffy circular re paying TSSA members and nons; TSSA's response
  • LUL pay: need to fight for big Yes vote in our ballot
  • Alstom Stratford Market
  • ASLEF dispute on Metropolitan line: seems silly
  • Finsbury Park group: big problems with local management
  • Sacking of Mercy Odisi; obstruction of Elaine Holness' return to work = LUL's appalling treatment of black female RMT reps
  • Bus workers: joined RMT from Unite, despite us discouraging them; now being intimidated by bosses and Unite
  • Cleaners
  • RMT pension fund: personal view on proposal to SGM
  • Holborn CSA: had he been our member, we would have defended him
  • Stratford no.1 branch: Steve is convening next meeting, inviting nominations for branch officers
  • Other trade unionists are envious of RMT London Transport Region: the reason for our success is that our people are really good, so thanks

At this point, Mercy Odisi addressed the meeting regarding her sacking.

Points raised in discussion on Regional Organiser's report:

  • LUL uses an 'Evening Standard test' when deciding on disciplinary matters
  • Pensions Consultative Committee election: TSSA backing ASLEF's candidate against RMT's - reply: RO sent out email, but was told off for doing so!
  • Reps should assert themselves with LUOH
  • RMT won a cut in length of pay offer from 5 years to 2 years, but if an incoming Tory government imposes a pay freeze from 2011, it will become a 5-year pay freeze anyway! So, the time to fight over pay is now, as 2012 will be too late.


(a) National Express East Coast, submitted by LU Fleet (absent), proposed by Hammersmith & City, seconded by DLR

The collapse of privatisation on National Express East Coast has again vindicated the RMT's position that railways should always have remained in the public sector and that the threatened sell-off of the franchise to Stagecoach will only be a repeat of the original mistake of privatisation.
This branch resolves to urge the executive of the RMT to launch a national campaign to keep National Express East Coast in the public sector, along the lines of the campaign that we waged to keep south-eastern rail in public ownership.The union should issue press releases, produce publicity and call on the RMT parliamentary group to raise an early-day motion.

Olly New and a delegate from Morden & Oval branch spoke in favour of the resolution.

Carried unanimously.

LU Engineering branch proposed that the Regional Council Secretary write to LU Fleet branch urging them to send delegates to Regional Council meetings to move their resolutions. Agreed.

(b) Standing Up to the Bosses' Clampdown, submitted by Stratford no.1, seconded by TfL no.1

This Regional Council notes that our members continue to experience oppressive treatment at work, including: over-the-top disciplinary punishments, harsh attendance policies, heavy workloads, management pressure and bullying.
We believe that workers in other industries and public services are suffering similar treatment at the hands of their employers. Our reps and activists would benefit from linking up with reps and activists from other unions to share ideas, skills and experiences, in order that we may effectively stand up to the bosses' clampdown.
We therefore resolve to organise regular seminars, starting in the new year, about these issues, and to do so in conjunction with union bodies and trades councils in London.

A delegate from DLR also spoke in favour.

Carried with 2 abstentions.

(c) Strategy for Defending Stations and Revenue Jobs, submitted by Stratford no.1, seconded by Camden 3

This Regional Council endorses and will carry out the following strategy for defending stations and revenue jobs:

1. London Underground is currently pursuing several policies which lead us to believe that the company intends to cut stations and revenue jobs within the next few years, including:
- not covering duties where rostered staff are unavailable
- not filling vacancies on stations, and in the RCI grade
- driving custom away from ticket office windows eg. £5 minimum Oyster top-up, reduction in range of tickets on sale, inducements to buy elsewhere, station refurbs excluding or reducing ticket office windows, even changing signs from "tickets" to "information"!
- the 2007 Rule Book reducing Station Supervisor duties, particularly during engineering hours
- the situation on Wembley Central group, which uses agency staff and security guards, and only has full Supervisor cover at three stations
- the use and abuse of the Special Requirements Team to substitute for resident station staff

2. Further moves by management may follow, including:
- group station control rooms, leaving smaller stations unstaffed
- replacing the system of licensing with 'competence', enabling managers to deploy staff much more flexibly
- introduction of fixed-term contracts, which LUL is trying to introduce for staff who are foreign nationals

3. These policies are leading towards cuts in staffing, which will result in:
- possible redundancies
- increased unemployment
- loss of promotion opportunities
- reduced opportunities for redeployment
- increased workload for staff who remain
- increased vulnerability to assault and accidents
- increased risk to staff working in other grades
- more lone working
- reduced customer service

4. We believe that RMT must start the fight to defend jobs now. We can not carry on simply reacting to management's latest move, or wait for the company to announce the almost-inevitable job cuts.

5. The union should fight job cuts, not just compulsory redundancies.

6. We resolve to:
(a) Collate and use information:
- ask all local reps for a list of vacancies on their group.
- ask all local reps (industrial relations and health & safety) to inform us of incidents where short-staffing has caused problems
- provide more consistent and indepth information to members
- review documentation such as IRFs to identify problems caused by understaffing
(b) Encourage members to object:
- to always report incidents where short-staffing causes problems, both to management and to RMT
- to submit a grievance if a post they have nominated is held vacant - individual, if they are top of the list; collectively, by all on the list
(c) Involve all grades in this campaign, in recognition of the fact that reduced station staffing has an adverse affect on staff in all grades. This can include:
- collating information on incidents where absence of station staff has adversely affected other grades
- articles about station staffing in newsletters for eg. drivers, service control
(d) Challenge LUL's contention that job cuts are financially necessary, by:
- obtaining as much financial information as possible via eg. Freedom of Information Act
- demanding that the company open its books to trade union and public scrutiny
(e) Renew our efforts to organise SRT staff
(f) Proactively demand increased staffing:
- all level one stations reps to seek to identify where staffing should be increased in their location, and table proposals for increased staffing at level one meeting
- organise petitions of local staff in support of the increased staffing demand
(g) Mobilise popular support for our campaign
- launch a campaign - "SOS: Staff Our Stations"
- organise a central London launch event
- organise public meetings in local areas, perhaps focused around particular stations
- help reps and branches to organise local campaigning eg. petitions, letters to local newspapers
- encourage branches to send delegates to borough TUCs to raise this issue and ask for support
- request a meeting with RMT press officer to discuss strategies for obtaining media coverage
- produce campaigning materials eg. posters, stickers
- contact other trade unions - particularly those in the public sector - to suggest joint campaigning against public service cuts
- contact passengers', community and disability groups
(h) Establish a steering committee to oversee this campaign, to include both industrial relations and health & safety reps, and to include representation from all grades.

Delegates from the following branches spoke in favour: Hammersmith & City, Morden & Oval, TfL no.1, DLR, LU Engineering.

Carried unanimously.

(d) Proposal for Setting Up a Bus Workers' Branch, submitted by Central Line West, seconded by Neasden

As the number of Bus Workers within the M25 in the RMT fast approaches the 1000 mark we propose that a Bus Workers branch/es be set up in order that Bus Workers may be better served by having those within their specific industry with the knowledge of that industry readily available to the members.
When, three years ago Bus Workers started joining the RMT in large numbers it was decided by the region that they be divided amongst four branches, Stratford No. 1, Central line west, Hammersmith & City and Morden & Oval. This was done because the Bus Workers who were leaving Unite were in the most part not reps or activists but ordinary workers who were fed up with what they perceived as total inaction by the T&G (now Unite) and in some cases collusion between certain T&G reps and management.
Now that those workers and those who have followed them are better organised and active and indeed have their own Bus Workers committee, we feel that the time has come to set up their own base where they can better fight the constant attacks on their members by the bullying management in the various bus companies across the capital. In setting up their own branch/es this will also enable them to use their own resources to have more reps trained up to a higher standard which will help in the fight against these attacks.

Delegates from the following branches contributed to the debate: Hammersmith & City, Morden & Oval (2), Central Line West, TfL no.1, Camden 3, LU Engineering (2), DLR

Vaughan Thomas replied for Central Line West.

Carried unanimously.


(Ea) CWU Dispute, submitted by LU Engineering, seconded by TfL no.1

That the region condemn the use of scab labour to undermine the just CWU dispute. We call on the council of executives to support the CWU, financially, politically and through the TUC to defeat this tactic.

Additional delegates from LU Engineering and TfL no.1 also spoke in favour.

Carried unanimously.

(Eb) Vestas, Copenhagen and Green Jobs, submitted by TfL no.1, secon ded by Hammersmith & City

This Regional Council recognises the importance of the fight for green jobs and the upcoming climate talks in Copenhagen.
The Regional Council applauds the EC/Leadership for the decision to recruit workers at the now closed Vestas wind turbine factory and implores it to continue the fight for justice for the workers including those in the occupation, for a publically owned alternative to Vestas on the Isle of Wight making turbines for home consumption, as well as demanding the public ownership of utility companies to ensure a joined-up energy policy and a sustainable future.
This Regional Council asks the EC to publicise the issues of the climate talks in Copenhagen to members, to encourage branches to come with banners to the climate march called by CCC and others on 5 December and to send at least one member to team up with other trade unionists at the alternative climate summit and demonstrations in Copenhagen this December.
This Regional Council also notes the appeal of Plymouth Trades Council for urgent help to bolster their fight against nuclear dumping in Plymouth proposed by ‘managers’ of waste at the private Babcock Marina. We ask the EC to publicise the issue and encourage branches to attend the demonstration in Devonport on Saturday 31 October and at future demonstrations. We ask the EC to take the Vestas and green jobs campaign to Devon to give the people of Plymouth a viable alternative to the mess caused by the Royal Navy and private profiteers.

Carried unanimously.


  • From head office, inviting resolutions to equality conferences. Carol Foster proposed to organise a resolution-writing workshop to help more branches from this Region to submit resolutions to the equality conferences. Agreed.


  • Bus workers had intended to give a report, but felt that all the issues had been covered in earlier discussion on resolution.
  • Black and ethnic minority event (Frank Murray). Football event, in conjunction with 'Kick It Out', with film and speakers, 30 November, 18:30, Bernie Grant Centre.


The Secretary's written report was circulated, and no matters raised.


  • Hazards. On behalf of Mick Crossey, Janine Booth raised the issue of the forthcoming Hazards AGM, encouraging branches to attend, and to vote to keep Hazards as a campaigning, political organisation. Paul Jackson pointed out that branches can also vote by proxy.
  • Projector/screen. On behalf of the Regional Council Executive, Janine Booth proposed that the Regional Council purchase a portable projector and screen for use in showing presentations and films, and available to branches to borrow. Cost approx. £550. Agreed.

Meeting closed 18:50