Annual Report

Employees Representatives ER started off just over a year ago September 1st 2011 when the bank account opened @ GHIB.
Here is a provisional annual report to members.
A more substantial report to members will be issued post June 2013 by which time our accounts should have been approved by the Certification Officer, the Government official responsible for regulating trade unions.
Very little membership growth was recorded in the first three months September to December 2011 largely because there was no printed material.
With the production & printing of the first – and so far only piece of publicity, a leaflet entitled MORE FOR LESS – growth accelerated in our core constituency of public service workers within the M25.
We now feel the need to update our promotional material so a new leaflet – a simple hand bill – will be produced shortly, explaining why an independent union for London bus workers is so essential.
The main function of our union is to assist members facing problems @ work.
To put it another way – the question we have for those in another union is this: does your union pass the deep shit test?
Will they help you if you’re in deep shit @ work?  If not you’re in the wrong union!!
If your union fades out if you are facing a work related problem then cash in your policy & look for alternative cover.
Being in a union is a form of insurance but if the policy doesn’t pay out when there’s a claim you should switch.
We can assure members we are available 24/7.
But one specific company Sovereign prevents us from entering the Harrow and Edgware yards to discuss general issues with the work force.
We enter for disciplinaries etc of course, no company can stop that, but people need continued accessible service, and we think it intolerable for one favoured union to have an office in the yard while in our case access to members is limited.
We believe this problem has been caused by Unite.
We believe Unite pressured on Sovereign to stop us entering the 2 yards in question.
Consequently we have put in a complaint v the behaviour of Unite @ Sovereign Harrow to the Certification Officer
But we need a Unite member to volunteer to press the button to start up this process.
Please call us if you can help: we are appalled by the disgraceful underhanded uncomradely behaviour of Unite @ Sovereign Harrow, their making common cause with management to try and shut us out of the yard. Where is the solidarity in this?
In addition to the Sovereign-Unite Harrow problem there have been other difficulties for us in the last year also impeding growth and development:
 We had difficulty in getting our web site www.employeesrepresentatives.com up and running on account of an opposing claim to ownership. This was finally resolved through our lawyer Radhanika Baddevithana of rbs solicitors – see www.rbssolicitors.com     But time was lost on this problem.  We are busy updating the web site &  you can also follow us on Twitter @ employees_reps
The Strike: this put us into problems as we were not a party to the dispute and did not want to see members fired or disciplined on account of somebody else’s argument.  We know some members joined the strike, which was their right, but they did so against our advice. However Unite, although putting pressure on drivers not in Unite to strike, using the catchphrase “solidarity” were not so anxious to pay out strike pay to non Unite members  who joined the strike, in the same cause “solidarity”!!
Solidarity is a one way street with Unite!
Our feeling about the strike is that it was a pre arranged set up: there was something abnormal about it.
First Boris said there was no more money, then when the strike approached he brought some money out of the hat – not enough, but enough to take away the basis of the strike, as the remaining issues could have been bridged by negotiation without anyone losing a day’s pay.  Unite rejected the offer and went ahead with the strike but then Boris came up with an even better offer for some drivers, more than even Unite had demanded!
What a strange way of running a transport system or a negotiating process! Wouldn’t it have saved drivers and the public a lot of inconvenience if Boris had simply agreed with the original demand?  A GLA enquiry should be conducted by the GLA Transport Committee as to why the strike happened when Boris already had the cash in contingency funds to head it off.
Another problem is lack of personnel.
At the moment Barry Blakesley and I do the representations but both of us are golden oldies, so we need younger members to emerge to take over the reins of the union for the next stage of our consolidation and to provide effective representation whenever the co- Directors aren’t available.
Business: we are always busy with representations, @ company level or @ ETs, the EAT, the Court of Appeal or before the Strasbourg Court. In addition we represent members in criminal cases!!
This variety of case work reflects the variety of our membership across London.
Publicity: we haven’t put out a single advert so far, although we are thinking of advertising on Radio Focus, but we do get occasional bits of free publicity by sending out news stories!
Press TV gave us coverage over our discovery that Nat West bank (the clearing bank for GHIB) was discriminating against Muslim drivers and sitting on their funds and not transmitting them on to us!!
To see the clip go to our web site.
After that I had a fairly disastrous interview on LBC. They called me to talk about the strike but zeroed in immediately into a demand to know how many members we had!!
If we have as many members as Unite we’ll tell you and in any case we provide membership details to the Certification Officer, along with our accounts by June 2013.
Our objective is to provide a personalised and efficient representational service to members, and we are available 24/7.
Also to act as a pressure group pushing for more humane conditions in the London bus industry.
Report written by William J Spring Executive Director
Tel 02083761454
07988874778
Endorsed by Barry Blakesley Co-Executive Director

London Bus Strike

Statement re London bus strike from Employees Representatives June 16th 2012
To members:
Re the bus strike planned for next Friday we draw members attention to the original mission statement as on the home page of our web site www.employeesrepresentatives.com
Among other things we say:
“Unite has a lot of things we don’t have like strike pay, but we don’t want to be involved in strikes, generally blunt instruments for solving problems.”
Our view is that the strike next Friday could do more harm than good and our information is that the employers are planning to break the strike by moving in replacement drivers at lower rates.
We fear most strikers will lose money – but even if there are small net gains for some, the strike(s) will cause considerable economic damage with all parties being net-losers in the longer term.
The tube drivers won their bonus because of their monopoly in the labour market – a monopoly maintained because of TFL’s reluctance to automate the tube network.
Bus drivers though they have a much tougher job and that job cannot be automated do not enjoy a comparable monopoly, or wages and conditions of service.
A bus-drivers’ strike will further motivate employers to replace strikers with even lower-paid workers.
Be aware that the government intends to make arbitrary dismissal easier and cheaper.
ER members need to balance the risks and consequences of supporting the strike v working normally.
Probationary workers (and others whose employment is vulnerable) could lose their jobs if they strike.
We cannot tell members what to do, but (to quote again from our Mission Statement) “if a member refuses to cross a picket line and management then victimises him/her we will represent the member in order to protect him/her from punitive action.”
Our advice is that the strike(s)is likely to fail, or will not proceed because of legal challenges.
As a union we aren’t in the business of putting our members jobs @ risk.
See ER Mission Statement: workers should not “sacrificed @ the altar of an avoidable strike.”
Cur recommendation is to work normally, both next Friday & subsequent days.
Whatever you decide, Employees Representative will support you should you suffer work-place harms because of how you respond to the strike call.
The issues raised have to be dealt with.
The demand for an equivalent Olympic bonus for bus workers, as given to the tube drivers, is justified, but it is TFL (who used to give a bonus to drivers) who should be the target, not the companies.
We urge TFL to respond proactively so the public is not inconvenienced.
William J Spring
Barry Blakesley
Co-Executive Directors ER 
information call 02083761454 or 07988874778I

Issue with Natwest Bank

Following the June newsletter which I sent you herewith links to the story as broadcast by Press TV.
Our Muslim members shouldn’t be worried; we have now located (we think) all the payments so unreasonably withheld from ER on account of members having Muslim names & the publication of this story should we hope discourage Nat West from repeating the exercise.
On the other hand Muslim account holders with Nat West might wish to re-consider how appropriate it is for them to continue banking with a bank which so clearly discriminates against Muslims.
Watch the story on YouTube