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London Docklands transport workers win Olympics deal
On Thursday 26 January it was reported that Serco Docklands, which operates the DLR driverless train service in London's docklands, agreed to a 25% rise in the standard overtime rate for about 550 of its employees.
The following day the Socialist spoke to London RMT union transport organiser Steve Hedley about the deal.
What have the workers won?
Well what they've got is a £900 bonus paid at £100 a week and then they've got overtime paid at 'time and three quarters' for any overtime worked during the games. And if they want to they can get guaranteed five hours overtime a week.
If they choose to do that then the least that they're going to come out with is £2,500 and the middle to higher earners will be taking home something in the region of £3,500.
How was this achieved in a time of austerity?
Well, basically by good trade union organisation. In the Docklands we're the only trade union there. We have over 90% membership and we've got a very determined and combative workforce.
We're going to make sure that they've a recompense for productivity during the games - the fact that they'll have to be more flexible and the fact that they'll have to work harder. They were determined that they weren't going to be cheated out of that.
There seems to be an escalation of attacks on rail workers' wages, such as in the Evening Standard and elsewhere.
Well this reached its zenith on the BBC London news on Thursday 26 January. They made up a quote from the Fire Brigades Union attacking the RMT.
The FBU have now refuted that absolutely and put in a demand for an apology from the BBC London news.
They also had a representative from the police federation who condemned our Dockland workers' deal. Well I have to say I've never seen that man on the TV before fighting for the terms and conditions of rank and file police officers.
I've never seen him on there complaining about the billions of pounds that the rich are avoiding in paying in tax by putting them in offshore havens, money that could fund the police force, not just during the Olympic Games but for years into the future.
Of course the RMT would support any workers demanding that they get paid bonuses during the Olympics including rank and file police officers.
It's a pity that someone who purports to represent workers pleaded that we shouldn't be paid when it's got absolutely no bearing on what his members will receive from the government.
I'd also make the point that Docklands is a private company. It's not publicly funded anyway.
This version of this article was first posted on the Socialist Party website on 30 January 2012 and may vary slightly from the version subsequently printed in The Socialist.