Public Transport on Merseyside – Are we facing a winter of discontent?

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/bus-train-strikes-hit-liverpool-13853799

The Liverpool Echo has the story on its web site about the ongoing Merseyrail and the separate Arriva buses strikes that are hitting the Liverpool City Region – See link above

The Arriva buses strike is over pay and the Liverpool Echo article below tries to pin down what Arriva drivers are paid:-

www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/liverpool-news/how-much-bus-drivers-liverpool-13776304

Merseyrail’s new Stadler Trains, to be delivered in a couple of years time, are at the heart of the dispute about driver only operated trains.

The Merseyrail strikes are of course over the next generation of Merseyrail trains being run without Train Guards. A decision taken by Merseytravel (the public sector Transport Committee for the Liverpool City Region) not by Merseyrail who employ the guards.

Public support for the RMT union’s ‘Keep the Guards’ campaign seems to be holding up but I’m not sure that buses are held in the same affection as trains so life may be tougher for Unite and GMB unions who are fighting for pay rises. I guess Arriva buses passengers who have not had a pay rise themselves in many a year may be reluctant to stand with the Arriva staff who are striking. But on the other hand if workers do not fight for pay rises who will?

Whether we are entering a ‘winter of discontent’ scenario here on Merseyside with regard to public transport is yet to be seen but things are presently not looking good and I say that having been a trade union officer virtually all my working life.

Women standing up for their rights – This is an inspirational story

These women are showing us how to take the power back – their struggle is an inspiration for anyone who wants a fairer society

www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/mar/21/maudsley-hospital-strike-women

The Guardian has the story on its web site – see link above

With thanks to my spotter Roy Connell

Waste worker suspended for media tip-off – Green Bin Tax

Birmingham City Council has confirmed that it suspended a recycling depot worker after he tipped off the media over unpopular garden waste charges. A £35 annual fee for garden waste collection was introduced by the council in February, which led to some residents dumping waste on the streets. GMB organiser Gillian Whittaker described the action against the worker as “disgusting”.

epd_wheelie_bins_group

BBC News has the story at:-

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-birmingham-27717608

My previous posting of 20th May also refers:-

tonyrobertson.mycouncillor.org.uk/wp-admin/post.php?post=8341&action=edit

At face value a worker has been suspended for telling the truth? If so this does not bode well for fairness and openness in the workplace.

Amazon – A cause for concern? My letter to the GMB Trade Union

Recently I, together with may other Lib Dem councillors, was e-mailed by GMB Trade Union asking for support in their campaign to improve the working conditions of people who work for Amazon. This was my reply on behalf of the Lib Dem Group on Sefton Council:-

To Martin Smith, GMB National Organiser, via e-mail to GMB@ebertha.org.uk.

Dear Martin,

Thank you for your e-mail of 7th January regarding the possible expansion of Amazon.

As a former PCS lay official I have considerable sympathies with your campaign and having run the issue past my fellow Lib Dem Group members on Sefton Council I am happy to tell you that we share your concerns.

I am also the the Lib Dem Planning spokesperson on Sefton Council and can say that there have not been any approaches to the Borough Council from Amazon, at least any that I as an opposition member am aware of.

Any of us that use IT can be guilty of buying from companies who do not treat their workforces well. Often we will do it whilst not knowing anything at all about the industrial relations or worse the exploitation of workers. With Amazon there does seem to be cause for concern in terms of what you outline and the recent TV programme using under cover reporters to gain access to their premises.

I can assure you that I will keep a close eye on any Amazon planning applications that are submitted to Sefton Council whilst at the same time needing to be even handed in how I approach all planning applications.

I hope this helps

Best wishes

Cllr. Tony Robertson