Friday, August 05, 2011

News roundup

RMT on Bombardier ‘fit-up’

RAIL UNION RMT last Tuesday issued a fresh call for the Government to reverse the decision to award the Thameslink fleet contract to German company Siemens in preference to Bombardier in Derby as the union revealed that over £15 million of taxpayers’ money was spent on advisers engaged in the tendering process.
RMT is calling on the National Audit Office to include the advisers and consultants costs in their investigations into the contract – particularly as these well-paid advisers totally failed to include the wider costs to the British economy in the tendering evaluation despite the fact that it is standard practice in other European countries.
The latest scandal around the Bombardier fit-up comes hot on the heels of evidence last week that the Government could simply rule out Siemens as preferred bidders without any comeback whatsoever as a result of the company’s track record globally of being involved in corrupt business practices.
There is no reason why the Government could not now award the work the only remaining and approved bidder, Bombardier in Derby.
RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “The news that over £15 million of taxpayers’ money has been soaked up in advisers and consultants fees to oil the wheels of the Bombardier stitch up just adds insult to injury.
“This is money that could have been invested in defending train manufacturing jobs in the UK instead of filling the pockets of City consultancy spivs. It’s time to bring this whole shabby exercise to a close and for the Government to step in and award this contract to the Derby work force. We are sick of the catalogue of excuses from various ministers and we are demanding urgent action.”

Rickshaw congestion warning

THE TRANSPORT union RMT last week warned that central London will be “jammed solid” with unlicensed and dangerous rickshaws as we head towards Olympics, with the authorities refusing to lift a finger to clampdown on the unregulated trade.
RMT London Taxi Branch has a clear position of opposition to rickshaws in London and last month RMT parliamentary group convenor John McDonnell successfully objected to the TFL London Local Authorities Bill at Second Reading – specifically on the grounds that it would lead to the continued proliferation of unlicensed, unsafe rickshaws clogging up central London.
This was an important and significant victory in the battle by RMT Taxi Branch to end the London rickshaw trade all together.
Now the RMT is demanding urgent action to clear the rickshaws off the busy streets of the capital before there is a fatality.
RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “There is a very real danger that the whole of central London could be clogged up with unlicensed and unregulated rickshaws in the run up to the Olympics if the authorities don’t get an urgent grip on the situation.
“Alongside the threat to the livelihoods of our licensed taxi branch members there is also the threat of serious injury to unwary members of the public who have no idea that they are climbing into uninsured and unregistered vehicles on London’s busy streets. We have heard reports of rip-off fares of as much as £50 for a journey of a few hundred metres.
“Our taxi branch is demanding action now before this chaotic situation spirals out of control and we will be leading a campaign on the streets and in Parliament to raise public awareness of the rickshaw threat and to force the authorities to end this trade before we have a tragedy on our hands.”

London nurse wins landmark equal pay case

THE PUBLIC sector union Unison helped a nurse win a landmark equal pay claim against City & Hackney Teaching Primary Care Trust.
The Trust failed to justify Gloria Emmanuel’s pay being lower than her male comparator’s, a maintenance supervisor.
The first test case in the equal pay claims against NHS Trusts – of whether employers can justify paying women less than men under the old Whitley Council pay system – will have implications for thousands of claims being pursued.
Bronwyn McKenna, assistant general secretary of Unison, said: “This is a landmark case that should send out a clear signal to employers that it is not right to pay women less than men….
“Women are bearing the brunt of the Government cuts, as well as facing a rising cost of living. It is unfair to force women to take home less than a man for doing the equivalent job.
“This victory will have implications for thousands more NHS women workers’ cases.”

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