On Friday night around 200 taxi drivers took part in a “Go Slow” protest through the centre of Leicester. As the Leicester Mercury pointed out, the protest called by the RMT union was organised “against city council plans for a new disciplinary regime for the trade” (November 13).
The Mercury spoke to Leicester RMT branch secretary Umar Khan who explained how his union had not been officially consulted about the driver penalty points scheme “but were only notified.” This gets to the heart of the reason for the protest.
So again, what we have in Leicester, is a Labour Council who are refusing to consult with unions on the future of their members livelihoods. With our local Council acting more like the Tories than a party supposedly composed of supporters of workers’ democracy and trade unionism.
Over the last few months RMT have met with the City Council on a number of occassions to address their members concerns, but these attempts at negotiations have ended in failure because of the Council’s lack of respect for unions.
Now we hear from Sir Peter Soulsby’s mouth that: “There is absolutely no chance of [the Council] changing our mind. None at all” (November 13, Mercury).
Remember this is the same man who has just forced through a totally floored consultation process concerning his plans for the destruction of Leicestershire’s fire services. A consultation that was imposed upon firefighters, with you’ve guessed it, zero consultation with the Fire Brigades Union.
Having already conceded to the Tories demands to take an axe to public services, Soulsby seems all too willing to ignore the democratic elected representatives of workers as well.
Instead of demanding an end to cuts, Soulsby capitulates, allowing the attacks on workers to continue apace.
This letter was emailed to the Leicester Mercury on November 13. Published with no changes on November 21.