Tunnel Vision

Preparing the Tube for Privatisation

Submitted by Janine on 1 August, 2004 - 12:00

From the time Margaret Thatcher became Prime Minister in 1979, the government and its lackeys in London Underground's management launched attack after attack on the Tube and its workers. These attacks helped to prepare London Underground for privatisation.

They also provoked fightbacks from Tube workers and our unions. Some won, some lost, all provided lessons that we could have learned from for our fight against PPP.

The transport strikes of the 70s and 80s were the only force that Thatcher could not stop.

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British Rail Privatisation: what it means and why it happened

Submitted by Janine on 20 July, 2004 - 12:00

British Rail privatisation is the most unpopular government policy in a generation. Opinion polls repeatedly show that around three-quarters of the UK population want the whole railway industry brought back into public ownership immediately.

That is not surprising. Dozens of people died at Ladbroke Grove, Hatfield and Potters Bar in crashes that can be directly attributed to privatisation. The service has worsened whilst prices have risen. And just to rub people's noses in it, fat cat rail company directors have paid themselves huge bonuses.

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Fat Controller

Submitted by Janine on 19 July, 2004 - 12:00

This article is reprinted from the June 1997 issue of 'Off The Rails', a rank-and-file bulletin produced by Workers' Libety and others which will shortly be re-launched.

'Fat Controller' was a regular feature of 'Off The Rails', casting a satirical eye at the antics of the rail employers. It was written by Rob Dawber, a long-standing Workers' Liberty member and RMT activist, who died in 2001 from mesothelioma caused by expsoure to asbestos while working in the railway industry.
Hi There.
Fat Controller here!

Good to speak with you again.

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Laws Against Trade Unions

Submitted by Janine on 5 July, 2004 - 12:00

How the British state legislated against free trade unions in the last two decades

For the last 23 years, successive governments have consistently introduced legislation to curtail the action of free trade unionism in the UK. Theirs was a long-term strategy in response to the growth in militant trade unionism from the 1970s. The laws introduced in the 1980s curtailed existing immunities and made solidarity action illegal.


Submitted by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 15/06/2005 - 03:27

In the USA, only about 25% of the AFL CIO members are production workers in the private sector. The AFL CIO now has more public workers made up of teachers, police, fire fighters and other workers in government.
The next largest sector are retail workers and these workers want to withdraw from the AFL CIO since the most of the retail workers can be identified with the working poor class.
Many of the homeless in the USA have jobs but do not make enough to afford housing. A 2004 study conducted by the U.S. Conference of Mayors found that families with children account for 40% of the homeless people in American. In Dayton Ohio USA, panhandlers have to wear a registration tag with their name and photograph on a 4x6 card.

At the same time, unionism is still be blamed for causing the downfall of the Middle Class. The unemployment rate statistics are a sham in the USA. Only about 38% if all workers qualify for unemployment insurance and Bureau of Labor Statistics get their data from polling households. Some one making only a $100 a month is considered employed. If someone is working in the family business or on a family farm without pay while looking for a job, they are considered employed. Only about one half of all workers in the USA have full time jobs. The other half are in limbo with many missing in action from any kind of reporting. It is as if they no longer exist.
For more information see Tapart News and Art that Talks at http://tapsearch.com/tapartnews/ http://tapsnewstory.filetap.com http://pages.zdnet.com/arklineart/tapin

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The fight against Tube privatisation reviewed (part 1)

Submitted by Janine on 3 July, 2004 - 12:00

This (long) article tells the story of New Labour's 'Public-Private Partnership' for London Underground.

Announced in 1998, it was originally scheduled to be implemented by 2000, but the strength of the campaign against it forced that back by three years. But the campaign against it was flawed.

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The fight against Tube privatisation reviewed (part 2)

Submitted by Janine on 2 July, 2004 - 12:00

The second part of this article takes us from the RMT settling its strike action in late spring 2001 through to the Government's eventual victory in 2003.

You can read part 1 of this article here.

9 May 2001 - RMT announces further strikes on 4 and 6 June

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A Workers' and Passengers' Plan

Submitted by Janine on 29 June, 2004 - 12:00

Just say 'no'? A positive alternative

From the Workers' Liberty pamphlet Tunnel Vision: London Underground's Public-Private Partnership and the fight against it.

Year on year, we have faced attacks both by management and government. The result is that we have had to fight a series of defensive battle, to at best just stand still. We are always responding to management's agenda, rather than putting our own needs and views across. So we are stereotyped as 'dinosaurs' who just say 'no' all the time.

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Rail Unions in Politics: the Future

Submitted by Janine on 28 June, 2004 - 12:00

One of the reasons that Blair was able to push through PPP is that the trade union bureaucracy allowed him to. RMT's Vernon Hince gave Blair an easy ride during his years on Labour's Executive. Although there was more protest noise during Mick Rix's reign, ASLEF has put up little fight within Labour. And TSSA has been so compliant that the Government has rewarded its former General Secretary Richard Rosser with a seat in the House of Lords.

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