Category: Equality

MARCH AGAINST RACISM – DEMONSTRATIONS IN LONDON AND GLASGOW, 21 MARCH

MARCH AGAINST RACISM – DEMONSTRATIONS IN LONDON AND GLASGOW, 21 MARCH

 

21 March is United Nations Anti-Racism Day. Stand Up to Racism, to which RMT is affiliated, are organising demonstrations in London and Glasgow to mark this day and to protest at the rise of mass support for racist and fascist forces worldwide.

The Glasgow demo is titled ‘March against Racist Johnson’ and is supported by unions from across Scotland. It will begin at 11am

in St George’s Square.

The London demo is titled ‘March against Racism’ and will set off from Portland Place, London W1A at noon.

 

Full details are here:

 

http://www.standuptoracism.org.uk/un-anti-racism-day-demo-saturday-21-march/

 

RMT branches and members are encouraged to support these marches against racism and fascism and show our solidarity with those fighting the rise of the far right internationally.

What is Bullying & Harassment?

Definition of Bullying

 

Bullying is a form of psychological abuse that can have a very serious impact, including the effect of making the victim feel demeaned and inadequate.

 

Bullying can be defined as: unwanted conduct that is offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting to the recipient. Bullying can also take the form of an abuse or misuse of power, which has the purpose, or can have the effect of, intimidating, belittling and humiliating the recipient.

 

Bullying may be a course of conduct/repetitive behavior (but does not need to be).

 

Any of these behaviours could lead to loss of self-esteem for the victim and ultimately the self-questioning of their worth.

 

It is the perception of the recipient that determines whether any particular behaviour may reasonably be viewed as bullying.

 

Examples of Bullying

 

Examples of bullying include:

  1. shouting or swearing at someone
  2. ignoring or deliberately excluding a person
  3. persecution through threats and instilling fear
  4. spreading malicious rumours
  5. constantly undervaluing effort
  6. dispensing disciplinary action which is unjustified
  7. spontaneous rages, shouting or raised voice

Examples of less obvious bullying include:

 

  1. deliberately withholding information or supplying incorrect information
  2. deliberately sabotaging or impeding performance
  3. constantly changing targets / expectations without good reason
  4. setting an individual up to fail by imposing impossible deadlines or unrealistic requests
  5. removing areas of responsibility and imposing menial tasks
  6. blocking applications for holiday, promotion, or training
  7. that which is directed from a subordinate to a line manager

These examples listed are not exhaustive.

 

 

Definition of Harassment

 

Harassment is unwanted conduct that intentionally or unintentionally violates a person’s dignity, or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating, or offensive environment for the individual.

 

Each person has the right to decide what behaviour is either acceptable or unacceptable; if an individual finds certain behaviour unacceptable and they feel damaged by it, then that individual has every right to say so, and their right to do so will be respected. It is irrelevant whether the person who perpetrated the behaviour intended to cause offence.

 

People can be subjected to harassment on a wide variety of grounds.

 

These include:

 

  1. sex or gender
  2. sexual orientation
  3. transgender status
  4. marital or civil partnership status
  5. pregnancy or maternity leave
  6. race, nationality, ethnic origin, national origin or skin colour
  7. disability
  8. age
  9. employment status, e.g. part-time, fixed-term, permanent, self-employed, agency worker, casual worker, contractor, consultant or volunteer etc.
  10. membership or non-membership of a trade union
  11. the carrying out of health and safety duties
  12. religious or political beliefs
  13. deeply held personal beliefs
  14. criminal record
  15. health, e.g. AIDS/HIV sufferers, etc.
  16. physical characteristics
  17. willingness to challenge harassment — being ridiculed or victimised for raising a complaint

Harassment is normally characterised by more than one incident of unacceptable behaviour, particularly if it recurs once it has been made clear that it is regarded by the victim as offensive. However, a single incident may constitute harassment if it is sufficiently serious.

 

Harassment at work is not only despicable and demeaning, but may also be unlawful. For example, under the UK’s Equality Act 2010, or the Employment Equality Acts 1998-2015 in the Republic of Ireland. The UK Act protects individuals who have, are perceived to have or who are associated with someone who has particular characteristics.

 

Any directors or managers of employees who fail to take steps to prevent harassment or investigate complaints, may be held liable for their unlawful actions and could be required to pay compensation to the victim, as may the individual who has committed the act of harassment. Awards for injury to feelings go up to £30,000 and, in exceptional cases, may exceed this. The award to compensate an individual for loss of employment as a result of harassment is uncapped.

 

Harassment on any grounds may also be a criminal offence.

This means that in some cases, harassment could become a police matter.

 

Examples of Harassment

 

Harassment takes many forms — from relatively mild banter to physical violence. Employees and volunteers may not always realise that their behaviour constitutes harassment, but they must recognise that what is acceptable to one employee or volunteer may not be acceptable to another – determining what is acceptable is an individual right that must be respected.

 

Examples of harassment include (but are not restricted to):

 

  1. verbal harassment — examples include crude language, offensive jokes, suggestive or offensive remarks, innuendoes, rude or vulgar comments, malicious gossip and offensive songs related to any of the protected characteristics (e.g. sex, race, religion, etc.)
  2. non-verbal harassment — examples include wolf-whistles, obscene gestures, sexually suggestive posters / calendars, pornographic material (both paper-based and generated on a computer, including offensive screensavers), graffiti, offensive letters, offensive e-mails, text messages on mobile phones and offensive objects
  3. physical harassment — examples include unnecessary and unwanted touching, patting, pinching, or brushing against another employee’s body, assault and physical coercion
  4. pressure for sexual favours (e.g. to get a job or promotion) or victimisation on account of the rejection of such pressure
  5. isolation or non-co-operation and exclusion from social activities for a reason related to sex, race, religion, etc.

 

Click here>> RMT Mutual Respect Policy

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25th November)

On International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, an RMT survey reveals more than 70% of women transport workers have experienced violence at work
 
A new RMT survey reveals shocking levels of violence against women transport workers (those employed in rail, London Underground, on buses and ferries) with 72% of female workers reporting that they have experienced violence at work in the last year.
 
The most common form of violence was verbal abuse, followed by threats of violence or assault.
 
Appallingly 20% of incidents involved a physical assault.  
 
An overwhelming majority of female transport workers, 79%, believe violence at work has increased in the last year.
 
Despite this, employers are failing to take robust action to tackle workplace violence.
 
65% of female workers who experienced violence were not satisfied with their employer’s response to the incident and nearly 60% of all female workers had not had been told how to report violence at work.
 
The comments from female transport workers describe an industry in which violence has spiralled:
 
Constant verbal and at times physical abuse on the barriers” (Rail worker)
Hit, bitten and pushed” (Rail worker)
“The man who was sexually harassing me got banned from the station until his court date, then got fined, however he was allowed to use the station after his court hearing” (Rail worker)
“Verbal threats are now received on a daily basis with weekend shifts being horrific” (Rail worker)
 “The people who do this should be banned, but instead they are allowed to continue riding your buses” (Bus worker)
“I receive verbal abuse every other day, get called names being an Asian young female, I have been threatened multiple times.” (London Underground worker)
Last 12 months, verbal, spat at, threatened. I have been physically assaulted on a number of occasions in the past as well.” (London Underground worker)

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“These findings are a disgrace. That women transport workers are being increasingly subjected to such levels of violence, abuse and sexual assault proves that employers are not doing enough to protect their workers.
 
“Enough is enough. Employers must have a zero tolerance approach to violence against transport workers. Violence at work is not and will not be allowed to become ‘part of the job’.
 
“It is vital that robust action is taken against perpetrators, so I welcome the commitment in the Labour manifesto that a Labour Government would protect public facing workers by toughening the law against abuse and violence.
 
“RMT is stepping up the campaign against workplace violence and will take all steps necessary to protect our members.”

ACCESS TO TOILETS SURVEY

ACCESS TO TOILETS SURVEY
 
World Toilet Day is 19th November, and the International Transport Federation (ITF) is launching a Transport Workers’ Sanitation Charter.  This is following on from the ITF Congress in 2018 which made access to decent sanitation a priority.
 
Since then ITF Women has continued to lead on this campaign to raise standards globally.  Lack of access to decent facilities and sufficient break times is an issue for all transport workers, but causes particular difficulties for women transport workers.
 
Time and time again I hear of the difficulties that our members face in either having access to a toilet that is fit for purpose or being given enough break time to use one.  So we are conducting a quick survey to gauge the level of the problem across our sectors to raise awareness about this issue.  Please do complete this survey via the link by 9am Monday 18 November: 
 
Yours sincerely,
Mick Cash
General Secretary

THE NATIONAL LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER + MEMBERS’ CONFERENCE 2019

THE NATIONAL LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL AND TRANSGENDER + MEMBERS’ CONFERENCE 2019
 
I write with regards to the above matter and to inform you that the resolutions which were passed at this year’s National LGBT+ Members’ Conference have been considered by the union’s National Executive Committee. The resolutions together with the NEC decisions are as follows:
 
i)                     RMT Sponsored MP’s, Exchange Visits and Guest Speakers
“This Conference notes that:
 
1.    within the RMT Group of sponsored MPs there has been instances in the past where some have not shown support for LGBT+ matters and could be deemed as homophobic, biphobic or transphobic.
2.    the RMT arranges exchange visits and visits to other countries.
3.    guest speakers etc. are invited to attend various functions of the RMT, i.e. AGM, NEC meetings, conferences, Regional Councils, branches, etc.
This conference requests the General Secretary and NEC to:
 
  1. seek a commitment that all our sponsored MPs whilst entitled to their own individual opinion, are committed to supporting our members and their constituents on LGBT+ matters.
  2. establish that locations of exchange visits and visits are not known as being hostile towards LGBT+ matters and persons. Also that they do not have homophobic, biphobic or transphobic etc. practises, such as discriminatory laws, bullying, torture, legalised killings, etc. In the event of such we request that serious consideration should be given to boycott the location, until such times as suitable amends and support are made on LGBT+ matters.
  3. devise a policy stating that as far as possible for all to establish prior to any invite that they support union policy in line with LGBT+ matters. We also request that any who are known to be blatantly homophobic, biphobic or transphobic are not invited or associated with the good name of the RMT.”
National Executive Committee decision:
 
“We note the resolution and instruct the General Secretary to discuss the matter with the Parliamentary convenor and report any feedback.”
 
ii)                    RMT Goods Services
“This Conference notes that the RMT often engage in purchases and services from various businesses and organisations.
 
We request the General Secretary as far as is possible establish prior that they support RMT policy in respect of LGBT+ support. Should any organisation or business be known to be blatantly homophobic, biphobic or transphobic, their services should either not be engaged or terminated, until such time as they can prove they have made amends and support LGBT+ matters.”
 
National Executive Committee decision:
 
“We note the sentiment of the resolution.  We instruct the General Secretary to take such matters into consideration for union’s procurement.”
 
iii)                   RMT LGBT+ Charter
“This Conference notes the good work done in producing various charters such as the “Womens” and “Cleaners” charters and request the General Secretary produce an updated “RMT LGBT+ Members Charter” and suitable, supporting publicity and promotional materials, including a supply of “RMT Rainbow LGBT+” sails.”
 
National Executive Committee decision:
 
“We instruct the General Secretary to carry out in line with the resolution.”
 
iv)                  Rights and Protection for LGBT+ People in Post-Brexit Britain
“Britain is considered one of the most LGBT+ friendly countries in the world, based on anti-discrimination legislation, marriage rights, adoption, transgender rights and equality of the age of consent. But these hard-won rights are very precarious after parliamentarians voted down Lord Pannick’s amendment (2018) to the European Union Withdrawal Bill retaining the EU Charter of Fundamental rights.
This Charter is the only legally binding international human rights document that expressly protects against discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and trans people and those who do not conform to traditional gender constructs.
The British government has a dark and shameful history of persecuting LGBT+ people. The Home Office continues to deport desperate LGBT+ asylum seekers to countries where they face extreme persecution, imprisonment, and even death. Seventy three countries around the world still criminalise private, consensual sexual activity between adults of the same sex. Thirteen still have the death penalty.
Half of these countries are members of the Commonwealth and continue to uphold harsh anti-LGBT laws imposed by the British under colonial rule. The Commonwealth charter does not specifically enshrine protection for LGBT people. Blackmail, extortion, discrimination, physical and sexual violence is commonplace against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people in many countries and key politicians and religious leaders continue to actively fund and inflame hostility and anti-LGBT sentiment.
The recent protests in Birmingham over school sex education is a reminder that we have not moved as far from Section 28 as we thought. We cannot take our rights for granted in post-Brexit Britain, especially at a time when there is an upsurge of the far right across Europe, the United States, and Brazil, and a rise of xenophobic populism, anti-migrant rhetoric, anti-Muslim rhetoric, anti-Semitism, and high levels of stigma, intolerance, violence and discrimination against LGBT+ people.
This branch calls on the RMT General Secretary to take urgent steps to mobilise all members of the RMT parliamentary group to ensure that the rights and protections for LGBT+ people in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights will be enshrined in British law once the UK leaves the EU.”
Note:  This was submitted to the AGM.
 
National Executive Committee decision:
 
“We instruct the General Secretary to raise with our Parliamentary group.”
 
v)                    Discrimination and Repression in Cuba
“This union notes that the Cuban government banned this year’s Pride march. We support and endorse LGBT+ Cubans who marched in defiance of this ban, and deplore the arrest of those marchers.
 
We further note that Cuba has not yet legalised same-sex marriage, despite strong demands for it to do so.
 
We appreciate that there are imperialist and religious pressures on the Cuban regime, but do not accept that these are any excuse for attacking LGBT+ rights.
 
Noting that RMT has given strong support to Cuba, we call on the union to clearly state its opposition to these developments and to urgently contact the Cuban government’s representatives expressing our concerns.”
 
Note:  This was submitted to the AGM.
 
National Executive Committee decision:
 
“That we instruct the General Secretary to invite Cuba Solidarity Campaign members to discuss this issue at the next meeting of our LGBT+ Advisory Committee and then place a report back to the NEC.”
 
I will now be acting on the instructions of these decisions and I will, of course, keep you fully advised on any further developments. I would be grateful if you could bring the contents of this circular to the attention of your members.

 BIRMINGHAM PRIDE AND LONDON PRIDE EVENTS

TO: THE SECRETARY
ALL BRANCHES & REGIONAL COUNCILS
 
My ref: EO/16
13th May 2019
Circular No. NP/082/19
                                                                                                                 
 
Dear Colleague,
 
BIRMINGHAM PRIDE AND LONDON PRIDE EVENTS
 
LGBT+ Pride events are opportunities for us to promote the union and our campaigns as well as to show support and solidarity for our LGBT+ community.  RMT will be looking to maintain its presence at the Birmingham and London Pride events this year and I encourage all members to get involved and bring their friends and family.  Arrangements made are as follows:
 
Birmingham Pride – 25th May 2019: to take part in the march, meet at 11am, Victoria Square Birmingham. If anyone wants more information or can assist, please contact the Midlands Regional Office on t:0121 212 2355 or email [email protected] or [email protected]
 
London Pride – 6th July 2019: to take part in the march, meet at Unity House, noon Saturday 6th July 2019.  Please inform Jess Webb, Equal Opportunities Officer, ([email protected]) if you wish to take part as entrance to the march is by wristband.
 
UK Black Pride – 7th July 2019: to help staff the RMT stall, meet at Haggerston Park, Hackney, Sunday 7th July 2019.  Offers of assistance to Jess Webb ([email protected]).
 
Yours sincerely,
Mick Cash
General Secretary

THE CHAINMAKERS’ FESTIVAL – 6 JULY 2019

TO: THE SECRETARY
ALL BRANCHES & REGIONAL COUNCILS
 
My ref: EO/22
13th May 2019
Circular No. NP/084/19
           
 
Dear Colleague,
 
THE CHAINMAKERS’ FESTIVAL – 6 JULY 2019
 
The RMT will be supporting the annual Chainmakers’ Festival in Cradley Heath on Saturday 6th July 2019.  This is a family fun day that celebrates an historic strike by women chainmakers in 1910 to fight for a minimum wage.
 
The festival will start at 11am (Cradley Heath High Street, Sandwell B64 5HJ) with a banner parade along the high street, followed by entertainment at Mary Macarthur Gardens (B64 5AB).
 
Please see and circulate the flyer link below:
 
The RMT will have a stall and any assistance to staff this during the day would be appreciated.  Do contact the Midlands Regional Office to let them know if you can help: t:0121 212 2355 or email [email protected] or [email protected]
 
Yours sincerely,
Mick Cash

ACCESSIBILITY OF THE UNION FOR DISABLED MEMBERS

ACCESSIBILITY OF THE UNION FOR DISABLED MEMBERS
 
You will recall that branches and regions were surveyed regarding the accessibility of the properties in which we hold our meetings.  Whilst this is essential information, this only considers physical properties and the Disabled Members’ Advisory Committee have requested that the union asks the broader question of how accessible it is in terms of its services to its membership.
 
Therefore the union is carrying out a survey of all its members to ask what we can do to remove any barriers to our services.  Do note a member does not have to identify as disabled to respond to this survey.  The survey can be accessed via this link: http://tinyurl.com/y3qgchdq
 
Please do remember, all branches and regions must consider the needs of their disabled members when arranging meetings.
 
Should you have any queries please contact our Equal Opportunities Officer, Jess Webb, on [email protected] or t:020 7529 8821.
 
Yours sincerely,
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Mick Cash
General Secretary

SUPPORT FOR DEAF MEMBERS

SUPPORT FOR DEAF MEMBERS
 
RMT welcomes calls from deaf members via text relay.  It is no longer necessary to have a textphone to use this service – the member just needs to download the NGT (Next Generation Text) app to a smartphone or other device such as a tablet. Captions are created by a relay assistant in a call centre and displayed via the app. Hearing users can use the relay service without any special equipment or software. The relay service is free at the point of use and available 24/7.
 
The NGT app is available from the App Store, Google Play or www.ngts.org.uk, and there are instructions on the website about how to associate the deaf user’s phone number with the app and how to acquire a TextNumber – a new phone number that brings the relay service in automatically when dialled. (Calls from deaf users to hearing users need the prefix 18001 before the phone number to bring the relay service in.)
 
Deaf members may also be interested in emergency SMS, which enables deaf people to call the emergency services via SMS (text message). To register for this service, they need to text the word ‘register’ to 999 and then accept the terms and conditions.
 
There are some helpful FAQs about text relay and other communications services for deaf people on Ofcom’s website here:
 
If you have any queries regarding the above, please do contact our Equal Opportunities Officer, Jess Webb, [email protected]
 
Yours sincerely,
Mick Cash
General Secretary                                                                                                            

OPPOSE TOMMY ROBINSON

OPPOSE TOMMY ROBINSON AND THE DEMOCRATIC FOOTBALL LADS ALLIANCE DEMONSTRATION – SUNDAY 6 MAY 2018

 

On Sunday 6 May, fascist English Defence League founder Tommy Robinson and the racist Democratic Football Lads Alliance (DFLA) have organised a so-called ‘Day of Freedom’ for racists and Islamophobes in London.

 

Unite Against Fascism and Stand up to Racism are holding a counter demonstration.  The plan is to meet at 2pm at Downing Street and RMT members are invited to join in.  Do check with any updates on arrangements via the facebook page:

 

https://www.facebook.com/events/199038690874020/

 

I would be grateful if you could bring the contents of this circular to the attention of your members.

 

Yours sincerely,

Mick Cash

General Secretary

 

RMT RAISES SERIOUS CONCERNS WITH MINISTER OVER SPIKE IN RACIST ABUSE

RMT RAISES SERIOUS CONCERNS WITH MINISTER OVER SPIKE IN RACIST ABUSE OF STAFF IN WAKE OF HEADLINES ABOUT TERROR CELL’S ON LONDON TRANSPORT

 

Tube union RMT has today written to the Minister of State for Security, Ben Wallace, after Government comments about the possibility of terrorists embedding themselves within London Transport were turned into front page headlines last week, leading to a spike of racist abuse and threats against staff on London Underground over the weekend.

 

In the letter, RMT General Secretary Mick Cash, says:

 

“I am writing to you in respect of the article on the front page of the Evening Standard in the final edition on Friday 6th April.

 

Headlines as we know are important to any newspaper and a story like this was always going to be of particular interest in London. However I wanted to share with you that I have received a number of urgent calls from staff working over the weekend who have been racially abused and threatened by passengers. The inference from the passengers involved being that the staff are all part of a terrorist cell operating in London Transport.

 

The headlines do not reflect all the good work that takes place with the RMT through consultation on safety and security matters. RMT Regional organiser for London Transport John Leach was at a meeting with Director of Health and Safety and Transport for London Head of Security last Friday and none of this was mentioned. The headline was the first that RMT had heard of it. John also spoke to London Underground Managing Director, Mark Wild on Sunday and he told John that the whole subject as a news story came out the blue and the Standard did not use London Underground’s quote backing their staff.

 

I appreciate that you, the police and the security services have a role to play in helping to protect those using the Tube, but the staff are right in the front line, every day ensuring that passengers are safe and secure.

 

With an employer the size of Transport for London there may well be people who are under investigation. I would urge caution about the use of lurid headlines though and highlighted figures that state 3000 people are under active scrutiny could lead people to believe they are all in London transport. Such an impression can only fuel racism and the possibility of violence against staff which is not something any of us want to see.

 

The Standard also referenced Transport for London autistic staff by headlining that extremists ‘are grooming autistic people for terror’. This is appalling scapegoating of a vulnerable group of employees who now also feel singled out, and has no bearing in fact.

 

Staff do not need to be the focus of smears, abuse or threats given the crucial jobs they have to perform on the transport network in London keeping people safe.

 

I hope you will therefore join with me to support responsible reporting of such sensitive matters which is in the best interests of staff and passengers alike.”

 

RMT General Secretary, Mick Cash, said:

 

“RMT has always made it clear that safety and security on the transport network is an over-riding priority of this trade union and our officials are in constant contact with tube managers in pursuant of that objective.

 

“Today we have written to the minister asking for him to support the union call for responsible reporting of these matters in light of the spike of racist abuse and threats that were targeted at front line tube staff over the weekend off the back of lurid, front-page headlines on Friday.

 

“The union understands that the first senior London Underground managers knew of this story was when they were contacted by reporters and we hope that tube managers and the Mayor will support and protect staff facing threats and abuse as a result of the coverage.”

RMT Equality Courses

RMT’s first ever Disabled Members’ weekend course will be taking place at the National Education Centre in Doncaster on Friday 16 and Saturday 17 March 2018. This will be a chance for disabled members to learn how the union works, to get more involved, to raise the issues that concern us as disabled members, and to meet other disabled RMT members. It will benefit both the individual participants and the union as a whole as we continue to develop and strengthen our disabled members’ organisation.

 

Please think about which members of your branch would benefit from attending this course. Bear in mind that disabled members include those with invisible impairments such as dyslexia and illnesses such as cancer, as well as more apparent physical impairments.

The course is fully funded by the union, so trainees will have accommodation, food and all course materials provided, and travel costs and lost wages will be refunded by the union. The registration form includes the opportunity to request any adjustments or provisions that will help to make the course more accessible for participants.

Other disability-related training courses (all run Monday-Friday for one week) at the National Education Centre in Doncaster next year are open to all members and include:

  • 15-19 January / 23-27 April / 17-21 September: Equality at Work
  • 12-16 March: Cancer in the Workplace
  • 11-15 June: Disability in the Workplace
  • 25-29 June: Mental Health
  • 2-6 July: Autism in the Workplace

 

Download the application form for any of these courses here:

 

https://www.rmt.org.uk/news/publications/national-course-application-form-2018/

 

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