At a 2011 meeting @ the Ketab Evi bookshop Tottenham, London bus drivers formed a new union: EMPLOYEES REPRESENTATIVES.
Originally limited to bus drivers, the union is now open to all public service employees in the London area. ER is a network of lay representatives and our primary function is to represent members caught up in a variety of disciplinary situations. Whether it’s defending you against a bogus allegation, appealing an award, or fighting a last ditch battle to save you from dismissal, ER is there to defend you. But we go beyond the last ditch, &, if you are dismissed prosecute your case @ the Employment Tribunal (ET), if we think the case is arguable. But how “winnable” it is, isn’t our concern. If you have a reasoned case we will present it to the ET. We aren’t interested in what your chances of winning are, but whether or not you are in the right & have a lawful argument. If defeated @ the ET we go on to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT). If defeated @ the EAT we go on to the Court of Appeal (CA). If defeated @ the CA we go on to the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). We will fight for you!!
BUT what we can’t do is pay to the Tribunal the fees needed for us to get the case started. AT PRESENT (February 2013) there are no fees. BUT from summer 2013 the UK Government is introducing fees for ETs & EATs. To start a simple ET case, e.g. over unpaid wages, you will have to pay £160, with an additional £230 due when the case gets heard. For cases involving dismissal you will need to pay a lot more – an initial hearing fee of £250 & an additional £950 when the case goes to trial, (which makes an ET more expensive than the County Court!!) The only good thing about these fees is (as ET cases will dry up) employment judges might then find themselves out of a job – in which case they are welcome to come & join ER.
We are urgently investigating ways around the problem, including an insurance option, whereby for an extra payment ET & EAT fees will be covered. ER SNEAKS IN BELOW THE RADAR TO GIVE ROGUE BUS COMPANIES A HEADACHE. Other unions say they’ll help you when you’re dismissed – all this means in most cases is they will simply point you towards their lawyers. Then what happens? In lots of cases the union lawyers, after a decent interval, write to you to say “sorry – our team has assessed your case & we feel there isn’t a more than 50% chance of winning…” So goodbye! So when you most need a union, when you’re dismissed YOU’RE DUMPED. ER doesn’t base decisions on dodgy estimates of your chances of winning!
ER FIGHTS FOR YOU & WE KEEP ON FIGHTING. Get experienced professional help from lay representatives familiar with the bus industry. Don’t delay – things are getting worse for London bus drivers by the minute. PARTICULARLY AT RISK ARE OLDER DRIVERS, THOSE WITH SENIORITY, AND THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN TUPED. MANAGEMENTS ACROSS LONDON ARE LOOKING AT WAYS TO SAVE MONEY. WHAT BETTER WAY THAN BY GETTING RID OF PEOPLE ON £12 or £15 AN HOUR AND REPLACING THEM WITH NEW DRIVERS ON MUCH LESS? Most bus strikes or threats to strike are to do with the wage round. But trade unions were originally formed to protect workers in their jobs – to enable workers, by the threat of strike action, to face down unreasonable managements arbitrarily dismissing employees.
The Battle of Edgware: ER President John Patrick leads the charge into Unite-Sovereign’s Edgware Fortress. Unlike the other London bus companies Sovereign only allows ER the legal minimum: (access to company premises for epresentations) while giving Unite its own office space.
“One out all out.”
When ER is strong enough we will ask members to show this sort of solidarity for those unreasonably dismissed. Going to an ET is always a second best strategy compared to the threat of strike action. Bus strikes are usually about money but what about a strike in support of drivers (& engineers) unjustly dismissed?
JOIN ER TODAY. CALL US (07988874778) TO SIGN UP.