There have been so few promotional opportunities in LU recently that last week’s Station Supervisor campaign was a much-needed ray of hope. This was soon dashed when staff read they could only apply if able to nominate for a ticket office position. By Friday, the Campaign Recruitment Team said they had put the whole campaign on hold due to an unspecified ‘administrative error’. Had they listened to the RMT’s objection to this discriminatory way of recruiting, or is it just plain incompetence on their part? Either way, this episode has left staff feeling even more demoralized.
Nearly two years ago, thousands of people successfully applied for ticket office jobs. Nearly two years later, many are still waiting for training. Of those who have been trained and hold their ticket office license, not all are in a position to nominate because you need to wait until everyone who got the job before you has received their training. When training and nomination seem in the lap of the gods, it is no wonder staff got angry at being excluded.
LU has a glut of trained ticket office staff without jobs that they don’t know what to do with. But the answer is not to put other peoples’ noses out of joint. People join LU cos of the promotion prospects. If LU advertises a job, they should open it to all and be prepared to give the necessary training.
Here are some suggestions that won’t put anyone’s nose out of joint:
• Sort out this chaotic, sub-contracted promotion process.
• Start filling the vacancies you’re deliberately keeping empty to save money.
• Only advertise for jobs when there genuinely are vacancies on the horizon. Avoid false hope and frustration.
• Place people in jobs once they have the license.
• Send people on training as soon as possible after they get the job: drivers and ticket office staff have been waiting over a year.
The uncertainty in the promotion system reflects the uncertainty in job security. The background is that London Underground is looking all the time to cut and decasualize staff: to staff stations to only minimum numbers, to avoid the ‘Jobs for Life’ deal, to recruit every new CSA into the SRT. Why would they give you a job only to have to make you redundant in a couple of years?
The current fight over job security is crucial if we want to defend any promotional prospects within this company. Only a genuine commitment from LU to retain and develop staff will sort out the chaos in the promotion system.