Aslef is reporting today (18 May) that up to 30 drivers have been sent home after raising safety concerns, including some who raised concerns about not being able to safely distance in staff mess rooms due to the number of drivers on duty.
Some drivers were issued with a letter from their local manager which read:
"You have indicated you are not willing to undertake your normal rostered duty, despite the fact that it is safe to do so and you have been provided with assurance documentation that confirms [there is] no serious and imminent danger.
"I must now advise you that your continued refusal is without justification and is not reasonable. As a result of your actions you are considered to be making yourself unavailable for work and, as a consequence, normal pay is at risk.
"You are also now requested to leave LU premises given your refusal to work as required. Whether you choose to stay or go will not make any difference to LU's decision with regard to your pay."
It is not for individual bosses to unilaterally declare a particular task safe, nor insist that we be satisfied with a piece of paper saying it is. We have a right to insist on dynamic risk assessments, scrutinised by union safety reps, that satisfy us we can work safely. If we're not satisfied, we have the right to request alternative work that we are confident is safe.
That is what drivers did today. We are not "refusing to work"... we are refusing unsafe work.
Senior LU bosses on trains and stations have insisted they will not make us work in conditions in which we feel unsafe. Apparently the message hasn't filtered down to local managers at depots. If drivers who were sent home find that local managers' threats to dock pay has been carried through, we need an all-grades, cross-union response. Being fined for insisting on our safety is not acceptable.