Author: Paul

NPC members take to streets for 11th hour socially-distanced demos over axing of free TV licences

NPC members take to streets for 11th hour socially-distanced demos over axing of free TV licences

Britain’s biggest campaign group for older people will demonstrate tomorrow (Thursday 30th July) in a bid to save the free TV licence for over all 75’s before it is axed on Saturday.

Despite the ongoing threat of the pandemic, the fittest members of the National Pensioners’ Convention are staging ‘safe and socially distanced’ actions at several locations around the country.

They want the government and the BBC to stop the broadcaster imposing the £157.50 licence fee on our oldest and most vulnerable before the 1
st August deadline.

Protests are planned in London, Newcastle, Oxford, Norwich, Liverpool, Irvine and Belfast, with many more members staging social media protests from the safety of their homes.

Jan Shortt, General Secretary of the NPC said: “The free TV licence for all over 75’s is a universal entitlement to supplement our poor state pension. To force people to find the money to pay for it now, particularly during the pandemic when they rely on their TV’s for information, is just cruel.”

“That is why on Thursday, the fittest and healthiest of our older members will put on their masks and gloves – and pop sanitiser in their pockets – to join static, and socially distanced demonstrations around the country.

This is a big step for an age group that has been in lockdown longest and are just getting to grips with coming out of their homes. For that reason, we do not expect great numbers to attend, but those who are able to,  want to show just how angry all of us feel at the loss of this important benefit for our oldest and most vulnerable citizens.

“We hope the Prime Minister – who promised last November to save the free licence for over 75’s – and the BBC, hear how much distress will be caused by their actions and  take immediate steps to reverse their decisions.”

NPC protests will be happening in the following places on Thursday, 30th July:
  • London
10 Downing Street, 11:15am to 12 noon.
  • Norwich
BBC Studios at the Norwich Forum, from 11.30am.
  • Oxford
Bonn Square, from 12 noon.
  • Newcastle
BBC (Pink Palace) in Newcastle, 11.00 am until 11.45am.
  • North London
Hornsey Pensioners, BBC TV Tower, Alexandra Palace, 11.00am to 11.30am.
  • Liverpool
Merseyside Pensioners Association online Zoom protest at 7pm.
  • Northern Ireland
Static demo of 30 people outside BBC Belfast on Friday31st (time tbc).
  • Ayrshire, Scotland
Saturday, 1st August. All day protest in Irvine town centre.

The NPC is also continuing to push its social media campaign encouraging supporters to retweet the NPC’s message on its Twitter page to the Prime Minister.  NPC members who are unable to go out because they are still shielding are asked to send pictures and videos of their own home-based protests to [email protected]
*For more information about the NPC protests on Thursday morning, 30th July, 2020 please contact Bev Morrison, 07588 779515 or Jan Shortt, 07773 051210.

*The National Pensioners Convention was set up in 1979 to champion the rights and welfare of the UK’s older people. It now represents more than 1.5 million people in over 1,000 different organisations across the UK and holds an Annual Convention – a pensioners’ parliament – to debate issues affecting older people.


Other TV Licence materials

Dont Switch Us Off poster 
TV Licence poster 
TV Licence Flyer 
TV Licensing briefing 

Don’t forget to also tweet:

@BorisJohnson promised no one over75 would pay for a #TVlicence and you would sort it. Stop blaming the #BBC. 3.7 million over 75s will now have to choose to pay to watch TV or cut down on essentials like food & fuel or lose a source of info & company #BorisPromised #SwitchedOff

Further information about the NPC can be found on

LUL Circular 30th July 2020

Further to my previous Circular (IR/208/20, 13th June 2020), the Union declared a dispute with LUL over managements’ refusal to adhere to the agreement for station staff to be adequately protected regarding social distancing by holding discussions to explore shorter shifts and/or additional rest days.
Since this time, a number of meetings have taken place with management at Stations Functional Council level and significant progress has been made. The Area Managers concerned have now taken steps to observe the relevant agreement and have enabled the creation of rosters or local working arrangements which reduce time spent on customer facing duties during the pandemic.
The National Executive Committee has considered this matter and congratulated our Reps and all members involved for securing the implementation of acceptable rosters during the Covid-19 pandemic. It is however appalling that RMT had to threaten strike action before some managers would implement safe working practices that had been agreed between management and the Union at functional level.
While the above is a positive step forward and represents an agreed plan to progress the matter, the dispute is not fully resolved and discussions will continue to take place within the machinery. I will of course continue to closely monitor all developments and keep Branches advised accordingly.
Further to my previous Circular (IR/262/20, 16th July 2020), the Union declared a dispute with LUL over working conditions for members at Hammersmith Service Control Centre. The National Executive Committee has considered this matter again and noted the Lead Officer’s report that the Company has agreed to meet RMT on 3rd August 2020.
The NEC will consider this matter again following these talks and I will keep Branches advised of all further developments.
Further to my previous Circular (IR/208/20, 13th June 2020), the Lead Officer advised that Balfour Beatty are looking to bring back 6 out of 11 track supervisors from furlough. Anyone not un-furloughed to the LUL Contract will be offered redeployment roles at Kings Cross, Doncaster and Peterborough.
This matter has been considered by the National Executive Committee, which has noted the correspondence and that the current selection criteria proposed by the Company are unacceptable. Discussions with the Company are ongoing and I will keep Branches advised of all further developments.




As you will be aware be the government have taken the decision to further relax lockdown measures in England on 4th July 2020. From this date the government have stipulated that if people cannot keep a 2 metre distance they should reduce the risk by maintaining a 1metre plus distance and take suitable mitigations.


To take into account the decision by the government to further relax lockdown measures, discussions have taken place at the Rail Industry Coronavirus Forum (RICF), the body comprised of the rail unions and main rail employers.


As a result of those discussions and representations by your union, the RICF has produced a new document which can be found here:

This document was reported to your NEC who have noted the report.


I would specially draw your attention to the following extract and tables from the RICF documents:


“The primary position is to maintain 2 metres where possible, however, 1 metre plus will be considered where normal work tasks are required to be undertaken and appropriate mitigations can be applied.


1Employee – Employee

Arrangements for operational workplaces / offices / depots / messrooms etc. are already planned and in place to maintain 2 metres and this will continue to be applied.

However, recognising where location specific operational challenges, or needs, identified in locations and/or premises that makes this no longer possible to maintain, then any consideration to reduce to 1 metre plus will need to be discussed and agreed as part of any local joint risk assessment process and engagement with local representatives.

2Passenger – Employee

Normally, employees should seek to maintain 2 metre distance where possible to do so when interacting with passengers.

Where this is not compatible with the reintroduction of a full customer service offering with station or on-board tasks and activities then any consideration to reduce to 1 metre plus will need to be discussed and agreed as part of any local joint risk assessment process and engagement with local representatives. Consideration should be given to a temporary redesign of the activity to enable social distancing to be achieved within a safe

system of work.

3Passenger – Passenger

Passengers will continue to be encouraged to try and maintain 2 metres social distancing wherever they are able to do so. However, it is recognised that the passenger expectation will be to apply 1 metre plus in line with Government communications and the policy on the mandatory requirement for the wearing of face coverings when using public transport as an appropriate mitigation. This can be facilitated by applying the Government guidance through passengers sitting or standing side-by-side or behind other people, rather than facing them, where seating arrangements and/or seat reservations on train permit.

RMT advice


  • If you’re not well – don’t come to work and don’t travel


  • If you’re at work wash your hands frequently with soap and water/ hand sanitizer


  • Where possible work from home


  • Maintain at least 2 metres social distancing at work


The employer should ensure the following:


  • Restrict passenger travel to essential journeys only for as long as possible


  • If 2 metres social distancing can’t be maintained, agreed protection must be in place


  • Please note in respect of above the employers have agreed any consideration to reduce to 1 metre plus in respect of employee to employee interaction will need to be discussed and agreed as part of any local joint risk assessment process and engagement with local representatives


  • Also in respect of above the employers have agreed any consideration to reduce to 1 metre plus in respect of passenger to employee interaction will need to be discussed and agreed as part of any local joint risk assessment process there will need to be a temporary redesign of the activity to enable social distancing to be achieved within a safe system of work.


You will note this section references on-board tasks and activities, which could include for example revenue collection and catering. To be clear it is your union’s position that there is not an expectation that staff carry out such activity under two metres if passengers are not wearing masks. Staff also have the option of deciding not to do this under safety grounds. Indeed previous RICF principle documents recognise you have a legal right to take yourself to a place of safety if you feel you are in danger.


  • Please note that in respect the risk assessments and safe systems of work in the circumstances outlined once agreed locally must then be referred company level for final agreement.


The following RMT advice also remains in place.


  • Non-PPE standard masks such as surgical masks and face coverings are no excuse to allow over-crowding or breaches of 2 metre social distancing


  • Tasks must be Risk Assessed and Safe Systems of Work created and agreed with RMT Representatives according to the circumstances and in order to protect staff and public in the current Coronavirus emergency.


  • Risk Assessments and revised Safe Systems of Work may mean that PPE is required in order to protect the wearer, such as face masks, visors and gloves. Where such PPE is required, it must be of a sufficient PPE standard as agreed with RMT Representatives to protect the wearer.


  • Where provided, PPE must be adequate and always available


  • Such situations may include, but are not limited to, working on gatelines, providing passenger assistance and interaction with passenger’s on-board trains


RMT advice to Members

  • Remember, if you are placed in any situation where you feel your health and safety is not protected, you have a legal right to take yourself to a place of safety


  • RMT will protect you and your rights


  • Talk to your RMT Health and Safety Rep about your concerns

Branch Covid Update

Track and Signals Tier 2:

General discussions on a full return to work and continued safe practices.

·         Risk Assessments are either done or in process.

·         Looking at sharing best practice around areas.

·         Looking at fire doors being automatically released in the event of a fire (trial being undertaken) so that they can be left open for Covid-19 ventilation.

·         Vehicle access and social isolation being looked at.

·         SOO waivers being investigate as to what has been changed and why no consultation.

Signals Incident

General discussions on a full return to work and continued safe practices.

·         Work TO scheme agreement ready for sign off by he Head of Signals.

·         DSIMs back at work, need to chase up.

·         Need to get the JNP reps invited to Covid Updates ref SMD.

Track Projects

General discussions on a full return to work and continued safe practices. Some work now return but funding issues remain. Staff back on Sunday and TDU doing small works. Not full rerailing yet and nearly there with risks assessments. TDS progressing on

LUL Track

General discussions on a full return to work and continued safe practices. Issue with meeting invites.

R&E/ TLL & Stations

Furloughed 95% of staff for at least 3 weeks and would receive a letter when needed.

·         Told not to use company phones or iPads and make a declaration of not doing any work for TfL. Budget cut by 2/3. 6 people now off furlough but nothing changed. Back to work schedule has been created but not implemented.

·         TU’s assured that no loss of head count but there may be redistribution of staff to other areas.

·         No remedial works and no project work

Stations & Civils

General discussions on a full return to work and continued safe practices. COVID bolt on to define essential and non-essential work. Certain works now going ahead and have the support of local managers in going forward.



Portal was implemented without discussions. No training and poor instructions on NEPA. No communications with the senior management, only via bulletins. Issue was challenged and was told this was to deal with COVID however, this has been expanded now to also include exclusion areas etc. End users also need to pursue this issue. 7 ON and 7 OFF system working well as is the back up location.


Will all be given jobs and will be given the opportunity to complete the apprenticeship. Some retention issues in R&E being resolved.

TLL Signals

General discussions on a full return to work and continued safe practices. Issues with BAME risk assessments and Works TOs in incident

Tampers and ETOs

Looking to un-furloughed all staff from Monday if confirmed as back to the new Normal, 2m isolation and PPE.

8 BTR’s potential but awaiting further finance sign off. Maybe restart mid-week BTR from mid-August. Tamping budget will increase if BTR budget is reduced.

TLL Escalator Maintenance

Looking to ramp up the work soon. Expected approx. 20% most work can do. Local H&S Reps have been doing suite visits and ensuring that the worksites are safe.

Annual Leave

LUL stated that they was going to remove annual leave from furloughed staff. On-going discussions at Company Council. LUL will not move on this and it is obviously completely disappointing and likely to impact sick rates. LUL have also announced they this is also going to apply to people that are currently off for shielding. Bro  has stated what is the union policy on this matter and how was they pursuing it.

Bro proposed sending it to the Branch Executive. Meeting to be set up within 7 days.

Back Pay: LU/ TLL Company Council

LUL are refusing to pay staff that left. Bro to run a test case.

Congestion Charge

Asked LUL to pay it now that it has been reinstated and increased. LUL have stated that it will be on a case by case basis. Issue closed

Covid Risk Assessments

All areas need to complete these and have certificate displayed.

LUL BAME Risk Assessments

People need to aware that these should be carried out and that the use of central communications was not appropriate and that we need to move to a more local approach. The onus should be away from the individuals and the RMT had major concerns regarding how LUL was looking into this issue. Sis has sent out documents but their starting point risk assessment was for White Finger Vibration issue which was unacceptable.


Concerns that glasses were misting up with the face masks. LUL is looking special products that can be used.

Minimum Numbers in the Van

Concerns ref minimum numbers and the need to maintaining 2m distance. Only driver in the front and space in the back. For example 10 seater minibus means only 4 able to travel in to. All vans need to have a Covid assessment, maybe wear masks and have internal cleaning. Do need more vehicles and need more people to volunteer to drive. Action: Bro to distribute any guidelines.

Vehicle Insurance

It was reported that cover as now mentioned in the company guidance but people need to check their own insurance.

Training restart

Looking at phasing course start times, all agreed but joining instructions not updated

Thermal Monitoring of staff

Should not be to do away with other protections and at the start and not in place of PPE. If high temp then staff go home. Need to progress pay for non-permanent staff. Branch position generally in favour.

LUL BAME Risk Aseessments Meetings

Awaiting further meetings on the issue but unclear if its at company council level or the distinct meetings

LUL Disciplinaries

Bro reported that Company Council has stated that guidance was now chasing and LUL had now restarted doing fact findings. Both done over zoom. Need to be mindful of material that needed to be reviewed. Bro has done some gross misconduct cases face to face and finds it far easier to adjourn and talk to their members. Discussed at the MATs functional council and it seems that Hr and Management in some areas are looking to avoid travelling and are pushing the video conference.

Local Lock Downs

Bro raised the issue of local lock downs such as Leicester and whether there is any discussions or planning. Issue to be raised at the Company Council


Bro asked if there was any guidance on room ventilation and whether it was being raised anywhere else?

Balfour Beatty

More staff furloughed. Looking at restart and job moves. Wish to use thermal camera as above. List of questions sent to the company and new reps elected


Concerns that RA’s aren’t available

Self Employed/ Protection

Very hard times. LUL changing protection arrangement hours and very little work


Hardship Fund now over £4000.


·         Need to publicise so that people can claim. Initially looking at £200 given the level of current claims.

·         Look at ways of communication actioned.

·         Need the NEC to act faster.

Branch Exec

Produce PPE Guidelines, work in progress


Obtain RMT Face Masks


LUEngineering Branch Hardship Fund passes £3000

The LUEngineering Branch Hardship Fund has now passed the £3000.


We would like to thank all those that have donated to our cause but now we need to move onto the most important phase, which is helping our members that are in financial need due to Covid-19.


This terrible disease has affected many of our families and friends and we have lost several friends in our union.


It has also seen a huge downturn in work and this has led to many being furloughed or unable to work and receive any support, such as self employed members.


We want to help you.


If you have been financially affected by Covid-19, then please contact your local rep or email [email protected]


To make a claim, please fill in the form below and leave your contact details and we will call you asap.

RMT says new Transport for London Commissioner must give Underground cleaners the same free travel pass he is entitled to

RMT says new Transport for London Commissioner must give Underground cleaners the same free travel pass he is entitled to

On the day that new Transport for London Commissioner Andy Byford starts work [Monday 29 June], RMT called on him to put a stop to a shameful injustice by giving London’s heroic Underground cleaners the same TfL travel pass that he and the Mayor are entitled to.

In addition to his base salary of £355,000, as a TfL employee Mr Byford, like the Mayor, is entitled to a TfL travel pass allowing free travel across the TfL network. The unsung cleaning heroes who have risked their lives to clean Underground stations and trains throughout the coronavirus epidemic do not get this benefit because they have been outsourced to a US company called ABM.

In spite of praising their ‘amazing work’, TfL and the Mayor have so far refused to extend the travel pass to the cleaners claiming that they cannot afford it. But in a report on Free Travel on the TfL Network (link in editors’ notes below), RMT can reveal that both the existing and previous Mayor had admitted there is “no and nil cost” cost to providing the pass .

RMT Senior Assistant General Secretary Mick Lynch said;

“Mr Byford knows the Underground well, he must know that what TfL are doing is just plain wrong. We’re calling on him to make a fresh start and allow tube cleaners the same free travel pass that he and the Mayor are entitled to.

“This small change will cost TfL almost nothing but it will make a big difference to the low paid cleaners who put their lives on the line every day to keep the travelling public safe.”

RMT on today’s transport use statistics from the DfT

RMT on today’s transport use statistics from the DfT

TRANSPORT UNION RMT called on the Government to ensure the COVID19 recovery does not make climate crisis worse in response to the transport use statistics released today by the Department for Transport today that show car use continuing to rise rapidly towards pre-COVID19 crisis levels.

Statistics show last week (week beginning 22nd June) saw the fastest rise in car use and ‘all vehicle use’, that includes light goods vehicles and heavy goods vehicles, since lockdown began on 23rd March.

Senior Assistant General Secretary Mick Lynch said:

“The Government needs to get a grip of this as quickly as possible as these figures show the coronavirus crisis risks accelerating the climate change crisis.

“The government needs to start planning now for a rapid transformation to green transport through massively expanding public transport operating subsidies, capital investment and capacity to deliver publicly owned bus, metro, rail and ferry services which are more frequent, affordable, attractive and safer to use.”

RMT responds to Government and Rail Delivery Group on face masks this morning

“There is a real danger that the Government and the Rail Delivery Group are sending out a signal that as long as you cover your face you are safe to ‎head back onto the tubes and trains regardless of whether you are an essential worker making an essential journey. That risks a surge in passengers as we saw last weekend with the principles of social distancing blown apart with huge risks to staff and passengers alike.
“It’s also clear that the Government and industry bosses are expecting our members to police this policy. That will put over-stretched rail workers right in the front line once again and will leave them at risk of being abused, assaulted and spat at by aggressive passengers refusing to comply. This policy must be properly risk assessed with staff fully protected.
“If this policy had been introduced sooner and the principle of covering your face established earlier some of these risks our members now face could have been avoided. The Government need to get a grip rather than winging it with these important policy announcements.”

MT calls on Mayor and the Government to stop the blame game and help the Underground’s heroic cleaners

MT calls on Mayor and the Government to stop the blame game and help the Underground’s heroic cleaners
RMT today called on the Mayor and the government to stop pointing the finger at each other and put their money where their mouths are by helping the heroic cleaners who have fought to keep the Underground safe since the Covid-19 pandemic hit the capital.
The union had asked the Mayor to intervene to grant the cleaners free travel on the Underground during a crisis in which they are literally putting their lives on the line every day. This would bring them in line with TfL employees, London Assembly members, the Metropolitan Police, police in the surrounding counties, special constables and service men and women in uniform who can all travel across the TfL network without charge.
On 27 May, Sadiq replied that he was unable to do so as “Government is now seeking to exercise oversight of many of the financial decisions that TfL is making and the deal we have struck contains a number of Government imposed conditions. In this context, I regret, I do not feel able to override TfL’s decision on this matter.”
Yet the union pointed out that both Boris Johnson, during his time as Mayor, and his successor Sadiq Khan are on record as saying that the costs of providing free travel are virtually nil.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said,
“Boris Johnson and Sadiq Khan are both on the record praising the amazing work that cleaners are doing throughout this crisis, yet when it comes to actually doing a little thing to help them, they indulge in a political blame game at the expense of the people who go down into the Tube every day and night, putting their lives on the line to keep Londoners safe.
“Boris and Sadiq both know it would cost virtually nothing to give these cleaners free travel. This is politics at the expense of people. I think it’s a disgrace and I bet most Londoners would agree.”

RMT responds to appointment of new TFL Commissioner

RMT responds to appointment of new TFL Commissioner


RMT general secretary Mick Cash said:


“The new commissioner will arrive with TFL facing a financial crisis in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic that is being ruthlessly exploited by the Tory Government for political purposes.”


“Mr Byford will be well aware of the strength of RMT across TFL and that it is our members who have kept services running and essential workers moving throughout this emergency.”


“He will also be aware that any attempt to hit the transport workforce with cuts to jobs and conditions at the behest of the Government will be fought with every weapon at our disposal.”


Please Support RMT Members With No Wages!

Please Support RMT Members With No Wages!
RMT London Transport Region Zero Hours & Self-Employed members need our Solidarity Now!
Many of our regions self-employed members and those on zero hours have not any had wages for 2 months since March
They have been abandoned by London Underground, TfL, the London Mayor and their agency employers
They MUST NOT be abandoned by us too; their RMT sisters and brothers!
The RMT London Transport Regional Council and LU Engineering RMT branch are calling out to all branches, members and friends to dig deep and give meaningful solidarity to our hard pressed members facing poverty and possibly eviction from their homes.
To help support by donating to the fund or to ask after support for yourself, please email: