RMT Fringe Meeting- Justice for the 33 13/4/13

Glen Roy Watson (RMT Finsbury Park Branch)
Jayesh Patel (RMT Bakerloo Branch)
Cecile Wright (University College Union)
Frank Murray (RMT LU Engineering Branch)
Janet Barnabie (one of the 33 -RMT Bakerloo Branch)

The RMT hosted a lunch time fringe meeting at the Trade Union Congress Black Workers Conference on the 13th of April 2013. Delegates and Visitors came to hear about the mistreatment of 33 RMT members at the hands of an unscrupulous agency company called trainpeople and the not so positive role of London underground in all this.

It was attended by approximately 40 delegates and visitors to the conference from various unions including UCU, CWU, GMB, TSSA, RMT and Unite trade unions.

Those that attended learnt about the horrible treatment of these workers and how and why the RMT are campaigning for them to be permanently employed by London Underground in the role they have been doing for over 5 years.

They heard from UCU representative Cecile Wright about the growing use of casual workers in industries which you would not have expected them to be in. She explained how this is having a negative effect on workers pay and terms & conditions as well as explaining how many workers often feel that the situation is very much US vs THEM. This is the feeling the agency company and the host company want as it creates a culture of fear and resentment with a view to prevent anyone seeking any legal redress or organising together to speak from a position of strength.

The need to communicate more with our members and explain how we are against agencies but not against workers was stressed. Where a vacancy exists it must be filled by a permanent member of staff, employed directly with the same terms and conditions as other workers doing that job.
Frank Murry explained that 32 of the 33 are from black and ethnic minority (BEM) backgrounds and that the one non BEM was told they failed the first stage of the application process but unusually on their way home received a phone call stating that there had been an error. This one member was later given a permanent job.

Janet gave a personal account of the devastating impact this is having on the ability for the 33 to pay their rent and afford basic things like food with one of the 33 being made homeless. Explaining that members of the 33 have regularly attained 100% mystery shopper customer satisfaction scores, trained duty station managers, they also have been commended by colleagues and praised by customers on numerous occasions.

When the discussion was opened up other members from CWU, TSSA, UCU all spoke strongly in support for the 33 and committed to raising the profile and getting involved with the campaign.
Many expressed how this is a massive issue in their industry praised the RMT for tackling such an important and often overlooked issue. They also praised all members on the J33 in attendance for their professionalism in the way that they have carried themselves.

Demo at Windsor house, 15th April 0800-1000. Support Us. Strengthen Yourselves.