Fight for workers' control of shift allocation

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 26/03/2020 - 15:56

With a massively reduced service in place, many workers are asking whether the company's instruction for all staff who are not self-isolating or off sick to report for duty as normal really makes sense. Having more staff than necessary on a station or at a depot makes distancing harder. It puts drivers, station staff, and engineers are greater risk than office staff, who are largely able to work from home.

Workers' control of shift allocation could ensure that staff are rostered as necessary to guarantee the safe running of the service, but in a way that keeps the number of staff who have to travel into work each day to a minimum, and maximises time off - in effect, a reduction in the working week.

There's already a precedent on the job for workers' control of shift allocation, via "syndicates" (aka "mafias") in train depots. Extending that principle to other parts of the job, so the staff actually working the shifts could oversee and plan the allocation, and agreeing a reduced working week for the duration of the pandemic, is an urgent necessity.

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