Ditch The Agency, Not Agency Staff!

Posted in Tubeworker's blog on Thu, 20/12/2012 - 12:35,

As Tubeworker has reported before, London Underground continues to use the Trainpeople agency to provide staff on the North of the Bakerloo Line and the South of the District Line.

LU promised unions it would wind down its contract with the agency back in 2008.

This never happened.

The majority of Trainpeople staff have subsequently joined the RMT and fought for equal pay with LU staff.

Tubeworker was hopeful that we could fight for RMT recognition on the Trainpeople agency contract in the New Year, and eventually press for permanent jobs for agency staff.

We now find out that LU intends to terminate the contract with Trainpeople on 13th January.

Where will this leave the agency workers who have worked on LU stations for nearly five years? Who have joined the RMT on the understanding that RMT would fight for their jobs and pay?

RMT cannot take the short-sighted view that its primary responsibility is towards LU staff. Yes, get rid of the agency, but keep the agency workers! Give them permanent LU jobs. Tubeworker is pleased that RMT has passed official policy to do so. We need to make sure all activists in the RMT are aware of this stance.

The history of this issue is long and complicated and dates back to RMT and TSSA's 2008 'Casualisaton and De-Staffing Dispute' with LU. As Tubeworker wrote at the time, the 2008 dispute settlement was unsatisfactory and would come back to haunt us.

It is haunting us now. RMT has already re-opened the 2008 dispute with LU. As part of this dispute, we took action short of strike over the use of non-trained ICSAs over the Olympics.

These issues are coming to a head. RMT needs to communicate them to all LU staff. If LU presses ahead with its current plans, it could find itself in dispute with LU staff and agency workers in the New Year.

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