PCS members joined the RMT march against government spending cuts on October 23rd 2010
PCS members joined the RMT march against government spending cuts on October 23rd 2010

UNIONS reacted angrily yesterday to threats by Arts, Media and Sports Secretary Hunt that public sector workers who strike during the Olympics should face the sack.

An RMT spokesman told News Line: ‘It’s a nonsense – provocative nonsense from a Tory minister who has not the slightest grasp of workplace issues and workplace labour laws.

‘While Jeremy Hunt is occupying a VIP seat in a corporate hospitality area, rmt members will be the ones expected to keep London moving.

‘To threaten our members with the sack is an act of blatant provocation by a government whose only interest is corporate big business and not the interests of ordinary working people.’

A PCS spokesman told News Line: ‘The fact that Jeremy Hunt indicated that ministers have discussed sacking workers, who take industrial action during the Olympics, shows that ministers have previously only been interested in fanning the flames of the dispute rather than talking to us about the issues at its core.

‘We hope that in the coming days they see sense. In the event of any such sackings there ought to be outright condemnation in the strongest possible terms and using all the means at our disposal.’

The RMT confirmed yesterday that industrial action on South West Trains, Serco ‘Boris Bikes’ and TFL is going ahead in continuing disputes over Olympics recognition and reward.

• On South West Trains, where no Olympics payments offer has been made and where staff voted last week for action short of a strike, action will take place as follows: All members are instructed not to work any overtime or rest days between 00.01 hours on Friday 27th July 2012 and 23.59 hours on Sunday 12th August 2012.

• On the Serco Barclays ‘Boris Bikes’, where the RMT is the main union and in dispute over Olympics payments: Members are instructed not to book on for any shifts from 5.30 hrs on Friday 27th July to 5.29 hrs Sunday 29th July.

• On Transport for London, members will take strike action as follows: Members in Oyster Business Support, Lost Property Office, London Transport Museum and the Travel Information Centres are not to book on for any duty starting on or after 07:00 on Friday 27 July, returning to work for duties starting on or after 07:00 on Saturday 28 July.

• Members in the Travel Information Contact Centres based at Pier Walk and Albany House which are termed First Contact Telephony for Oyster, Surface, Buses and London Underground are to strike between the following hours: Friday 27 July 10:00-12:00; Friday 27 July 21:00-23:00; Saturday 28 July 01:00-03:00.

RMT General Secretary, Bob Crow, said: ‘Although we have secured good deals on Olympics recognition and reward for the vast majority of our members we still have a small number of employers holding out and refusing to offer either a fair deal or any kind of deal at all. We cannot accept that blatant unfairness.’

Commenting on the Home Affairs Select Committee’s report criticising the UK Border Agency yesterday, PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said: ‘Everything we warned would happen if UKBA continued to cut jobs is borne out in this report. . .

‘UKBA accepted an offer from Serco to work for free for six months on casework in a deal that raises serious questions about the relationship between the agency and this company, at a time when the Home Office is inviting tenders for work.

‘These issues are at the very heart of our dispute with the government which threatens to boil over into industrial action later this week if ministers continue to refuse to negotiate with us.’