Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tube strike threat wins better pay

MEMBERS of the RMT transport union last week called off a planned 72-hour Tube strike after TubeLine – a private consortium in charge of work on the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines – made an improved pay offer. Around 1,000 RMT members had been set to walk out on strike on Wednesday.
The improved offer follows the union warning TubeLine boss Terry Morgan that he should stop throwing petty insults around and get around the table to negotiate a solution to the current pay and conditions dispute. This followed Morgan claiming that the planned strike was “political”.
The union was demanding that pay and conditions for TubeLine employees should be raised substantially to bring them up to those agreed by Metronet for people doing identical work.
Meanwhile more than 120 RMT cleaners working for OCS on its Eurostar contract will strike for 24 hours from 06:00 on Bank Holiday Monday, 25th August, in their campaign to end poverty pay and win decent working conditions.
The cleaners, whose hourly pay is more than £1 an hour below the London Living Wage, returned a 100 per cent vote for action and will not book on for shifts that commence between 06:00 on Monday 25th August 25 and 05:59 on Tuesday 26th August.
“Eurostar trades on its ethical reputation and claims to tread lightly on the planet, yet it seems happy for OCS to stamp all over the people who keep their trains and stations clean,” RMT general secretary Bob Crow said.

Boris loses another top aide

TORY London mayor Boris Johnson last week lost his third senior adviser – one of seven deputy mayors he appointed to help him with the technical aspects of trying to run the capital. Tom Parker resigned as chief of staff for Transport for London after just two months in office, when Johnson told him he would not, after all, be given control of TFL as he had been promised.
Parker was appointed as one of the City of London’s most successful private equity businessmen with a brief to restructure the Greater London Authority and then do the same for TFl’s £6.5 billion budget. too political
But Johnson changed his mind and decided to take personal charge of TFl and said it was “absolutely crucial” to doing his job effectively. He said the decisions were “too political” for an unelected aide to make.
Trade unions had dubbed Parker “the Prince of Darkness” for his ruthlessness and cost-cutting in businesses he took over, like the AA and Kwik-Fit.
Former London mayor Ken Livingstone commented: “Tim Parker was supposed to be the cornerstone of Boris Johnson’s administration. His exit after just a couple of months in fact confirms the chaos which has existed in Boris Johnson’s administration since day one”.

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