RMT Their jobs, our safetyPosted: July 9, 2015
This morning, 9th July, BAC’s, BSAFAC’s & UCU went to Bath Spa Station to lend our support to our local RMT workers. Robin, Andy & Mal talked to us & explained why they were out on the Picket Line. Interestingly, we did have a local Bobby stop by & he was also sympathetic to the reasons why they felt they needed to be out today (& tomorrow). I’ll update this conversation once i have spoken to Chris.
First Great Western: As a result of a new lucrative private rail franchise the Government are forcing through a worse service which will scrap the buffet car, could get rid of your train guard by introducing driver only operation, and cut station and ticket office staff.
At the same time your fares will go up when passengers are already paying the highest fares in Europe. Passengers and taxpayers are paying more for less.
The London tube strike & EP Thompson’s time work-discipline
As a trade union officer probably the largest number of issues I pick up these days do not relate to wages (I work in the private sector, where unions are apparently extinct and Osborne’s public sector pay limits don’t apply).
In reality the biggest concerns are around things like, where should I be able to work (i.e what location) how long should I expect to travel to work and where can I draw a line to get a balance between work and life so that I am not constantly available for work.
The current London tube dispute is really around these issues.
There is no in principle opposition to the night time tube. At the same time tube workers have partners, children, elderly parents etc and like everyone else will have made arrangements around their existing working lives so that they can carry out their responsibilities and be with their loved ones.
If these arrangements are to change, this needs to be done carefully with a recognition that flexibility of work applies not just to the employee but to the employer as well.
A lot of this is about what might be called a ‘good work’ agenda. That is that people are treated with respect at work and have a voice when changes that impact them are to be made.
The current tube dispute looks to be around TFL’s failure to grasp this.
Some will say, yes but it’s really about money.
To some extent it is because in a market economy everything is actually about money to some extent.
EP Thompson’s essay on Time Work-discipline underlines how industrial discipline was for a long time resisted by workers. The practice of Saint Monday- not working at the beginning of the week-persisted into the twentieth century.
As workers came to terms with the working week however, Thompson notes that lessons were learnt. Firstly pressure was exerted to reduce working hours. This led to the campaign for the 8 hour day. In addition there was a recognition that ‘time was money’. That is certainly how the employers saw things and workers pursued the point, claiming overtime payments for example.
As Thompson again notes as time went on workers stopped fighting against the attempt to impose time disciplines and started fighting for the control of how their time was spent.
The successful eight hour day campaigns of the late nineteenth century and beyond saw eight hours labour, eight hours leisure and eight hours rest.
We now call it work-life balance and that is fundamentally why there is no London tube on 9th July