Thursday, June 05, 2008

  • Boris ‘should apologise to Tube workers’
LONDON MAYOR Boris Johnson owes a personal apology to every one of the London Underground staff assaulted, abused and spat on during last Saturday night’s alcohol-fuelled violence, the RMT transport union said today.
At least six staff were physically assaulted and another 50 spat at or verbally abused during a “booze party” on the Circle Line organised to mark the introduction of a “half-baked” alcohol ban imposed without consultation with Tube staff, says RMT.
“Johnson should apologise personally to all those who were assaulted and abused last night thanks to a half-baked gimmick designed solely as a publicity stunt and without a moment’s thought for the people told to implement it,” RMT general secretary Bob Crow said on Monday.
“We have made it clear that RMT will support any measure that reduces anti-social behaviour and makes our members’ lives safer, but this ban was imposed in haste without consultation with Tube staff.
“We warned that it could put our members at greater risk of assault, but there is no comfort in being proved right when Tube workers have been injured and abused.
“It is no good Tube bosses repeating parrot-fashion that they would not expect staff to put themselves in danger when they have been put in danger by the Mayor’s publicity stunt.
“RMT’s advice to its members is quite clear: if they believe they are at serious risk they should exercise their right to refuse to work, to take trains out of service or close stations as appropriate, and their union will support them every inch of the way.
“Let us hope that the mayor will learn the lesson and start paying heed to the voices of those who actually go out there and try to operate a service,” Bob Crow said.
During the event police arrested 17 people and had to close six London Underground stations after a party involving thousands of revellers to mark the last day of drinking alcohol on the tube turned ugly.
Six assaults were reported on underground rail staff and police. Several damaged trains had to be withdrawn from service on a night of mayhem that had been dubbed “Last Round on the Underground” by revellers.

  • Thousands protest at Heathrow expansion
    THOUSANDS of protesters last weekend followed brass bands, stilt walkers and others to a mass rally at the west London village of Sipson – a village doomed to disappear if the planned Heathrow sixth terminal goes ahead.
    The demonstrators in the Make a Noise carnival then formed themselves into a giant word NO that was visible to passengers in planes coming into land at Heathrow.
    Seven hundred family homes in the village will be bulldozed to make way for the airport’s expansion if plans are approved later this year, in effect wiping out the community.
    They were supported by environmentalists who point out that is global warming is to be curbed the volume of air traffic needs to be reduced, not expanded.
  • Bus strike after sack of shop steward
    MEMBERS of the giant union Unite at CT Plus bus company, based in Hackney, east London, last Monday (2nd June) took strike action after a union shop steward was sacked. CT Plus buses provide Transport for London, school contracts and special need services.
    Unite members, who include includes bus drivers, supervisors, engineers and admin staff, voted overwhelmingly for action following the sacking of the union shop steward Denis Shine.
    Shine had only been in his steward role for four weeks when the company dismissed him for taking action over what he believed was a genuine health and safety issue.
    Unite regional officer, Adam Powell, said: “We are disappointed that it has come to this. We believe that the dismissal of our shop steward was particularly harsh and has seriously damaged industrial relations at the company.
    “Our members do not take this action lightly and it shows the strength of feelings. We believe that this is part of a wider seam of discontent in the workplace.” Further strike action is planned for Friday 13 June from 1.30pm to 7pm.

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