Industrial news in brief

Submitted by AWL on 10 April, 2019 - 7:45

Cleaning workers employed by Vinci on London Overground struck on 5-6 April, demanding a wage increase to the London Living Wage of £10.55/hour.

Currently the workers are paid £10.02.

The workers were previously employed by Carillion, and were transferred to Vinci when their previous employer went bust.
Vinci has refused to offer them a pay increase.

Rail union RMT, which organises the workers, is also demanding that the cleaners now be brought in house and employed directly by Arriva Rail London, the train company that operates London Overground.

Merseyrail: discuss return to action

Merseyrail still seems intent on making a deal on the "Driver Only Operation" (DOO) dispute that robs one group of workers to pay another.

It wants to cut cleaners' jobs to retain guards' jobs. A second deal of that type was rejected by the National Executive of the rail union RMT on 5 April. The deal also wanted to shift some door control functions to the driver.

Merseyrail has been one of the highlights of the DOO campaign, with rock-solid RMT guards' strikes backed up by fantastic solidarity from Aslef drivers refusing to cross their picket lines.

But since RMT dialled down its action in August 2018, Merseyrail have made two settlement offers, both unsatisfactory and both rejected. The lesson is: the bosses will not make significant concessions except under pressure from strikes.

The move away from industrial action and towards a negotiated settlement was touted by some, including RMT General Secretary Mick Cash, as the result of good relations with the Liverpool City Region Labour mayor, Steve Rotheram.

An intervention in the dispute by Rotheram which apparently brought Merseyrail to the table. But if these shoddy deals are the only fruit of that intervention, it was hardly worth it.

There is now a real danger of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. Some worry that the momentum built up by the industrial action has now dissipated, and general fatigue will eventually be enough to see a deal passed.

But there is still time to avoid that eventuality. Members' meetings, which are now being planned, must urgently discuss returning to action.

And a line must be drawn under any notion that cleaners' jobs are acceptable collateral damage.

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