Disputes

Action ahead on the Central Line?

Published on: Tue, 10/12/2019 - 16:04

It's becoming an all-too familiar pattern on trains. Managers in depots get out of control, presiding over a culture of petty and arbitrary discipline, interpreting procedures and policies punitively and acting like tinpot authoritarians. RMT drivers ballot for industrial action to stop this culture, strikes are declared, negotiations take place at Acas, trains managers promise to wind their necks in, and strikes are suspended.

A few months later... the old problems have returned and we're back to square one.

This appears now to be the case on the Central Line, with drivers arguing that management have reneged on promises made at Acas.

Maybe the only way management will learn to change their ways for good is when they realise our strike ballots aren't just idle threats, but that we actually have the ability to stop the job.

Tubeworker topics

Add new comment

Staffing reviews delayed... time to step up the fight

Published on: Tue, 10/12/2019 - 15:52

Almost exactly a year ago, station staff on the Bakerloo South group had just voted for industrial action to address issues around uncovered duties and short staffing.

Strikes were called in December and January, and later suspended after LU committed to filling all vacancies; covering all duties; and conducting a staffing review across the group to identify possible needs for additional jobs.

This agreement was later extended to a number of other station groups, including District Centre, where RMT members also balloted for action.

A year on, and the staffing reviews on these areas still have not produced definitive outcomes. There is a suggestion that one or two additional jobs may be created on Bakerloo South, possibly sometime in January, but no concrete timeframe for this, and with the suggestion that increases may be offset by getting rid of a part-time CSS position at Piccadilly Circus. On District Centre, there hasn't been vague indications so much as radio silence.

It's hard not to conclude that management simply haven't taken these processes seriously. The procrastination over these local staffing reviews are part of the reason why Tubeworker believes a network-wide dispute over stations issues, and most centrally issues around short and understaffing, is now necessary, and why we're pleased to see the RMT move in that direction. It appears reviews arising from local disputes will simply be kicked into the long grass, so we need to up the ante.

Let's ballot network-wide in 2020 and fight for increased staffing levels on stations, an end to lone working, and more.

Add new comment

Bakerloo Line drivers: vote yes for action!

Published on: Tue, 10/12/2019 - 15:45

"Working" Timetable 44 on the Bakerloo Line is simply not working.

The timetable has led to a long list of problems, including turnaround times so tight that drivers often aren't able to take a toilet break between trips. The timetable has also led to big gaps between trains at certain times, leading to overcrowding on platforms.

RMT drivers at Queen's Park and Elephant depots are balloting for strikes to win a workable timetable. The ballot closes on 17 December. Tubeworker encourages all drivers to vote yes/yes for strikes and action short of strikes. Aslef driver are also balloting, creating the potential for a total shutdown of trains on the Bakerloo if management don't agree to withdraw WTT44 and implement a timetable that's workable for drivers and safer for passengers.

Tubeworker topics

Add new comment

LU pay/conditions and stations fightback: get moving with ballots!

Published on: Sat, 23/11/2019 - 16:31

The longer our unions go without launching ballots over LU pay/conditions, the more momentum we hand to the bosses.

Delaying only benefits the employer. RMT announced an aspiration to have its ballot ready by the end of November; members have a right to expect these aspirations to be followed through.

Negotiations have secured important concessions but it’s workers’ action, our ability to stop the job, that will force real movement from the bosses. The same goes for ongoing issues on stations and revenue over workplace violence and understaffing. There’s a strong mood across the job for a fightback over these issues, and several branches, and the RMT London Transport Regional Council, have now passed policies calling for disputes and ballots.

We need to get moving. Khan faces re-election in May 2020, and if we’re not in a position early in the new year to announce a programme of strikes leading up to that election, we’ll be missing a golden opportunity.

Tubeworker topics

Add new comment

Cleaners: vote yes for strikes!

Published on: Wed, 23/10/2019 - 12:01

After months of preparation, RMT will ballot ABM cleaners for industrial action. The ballot runs from 28 October to 19 November. Tubeworker encourages all cleaners to vote yes.

Cleaners are fighting for travel passes, company sick pay, and improved holiday/pension entitlements. It is an utter disgrace that cleaners, who are as much part of the permanent, day-to-day LU workforce as station staff or drivers, don't have access to the same facilities that directly-employed staff do. Strong industrial action will put pressure on ABM as the contractor, but also on TfL/LU and the Mayor, who are ultimately responsible for the exploitative conditions in which cleaners work.

As the campaign gear up, we'll be discussing ways in which workers in other grades can support our cleaner colleagues.

Tubeworker topics

Add new comment

“20 additional colleagues”?

Published on: Wed, 02/10/2019 - 16:11

An LU Employee Bulletin announces that, to combat workplace violence and antisocial behaviour on the east end of the District Line, LU will be providing “20 additional colleagues”.

Good news, you might think. An acknowledgement that lone working and understaffing are the fundamental problems. But alas, the reality is not so encouraging.

These “colleagues” aren’t additional LU station staff, but staff drafted in from TfL’s Surface Transport department – workers who deal with taxi enforcement and revenue issues on buses. They are not trained or licensed to work on LU stations. They have no ability to intervene in any safety or security issue that takes place on the station.

LU aren’t even putting a sticking plaster on a gaping wound… they’re rubbing salt in it.

They’re also putting the Surface Transport workers, who are fellow transport workers and trade unionists, in an extremely difficult position by using them in this way. They shouldn’t have to be drafted in to be spare bodies when what’s so clearly needed is additional LU staff.

LU’s woefully inadequate response to issues of antisocial behaviour and workplace violence on District East, at West Ham, and elsewhere, show that the bosses are more committed to their agenda of penny-pinching budgetary savings than to the safety and wellbeing of workers.

It’s time for action. We need strikes to win a safe staffing level.

Add new comment

Action due in District East safety dispute

Published on: Thu, 26/09/2019 - 11:52

As Tubeworker went to press, industrial action short of strikes was due to begin on District East stations on 27 September.

Workers will refuse to attend incidents or detrain alone, and will work from a place of safety. The action came about after a spike in antisocial behaviour and staff assaults prompted the local union to launch a dispute.

The demand is clear: more staff, end lone working.

Add new comment

Noise ballot success

Published on: Tue, 10/09/2019 - 16:08

RMT Drivers on the Northern, Central, Victoria and Jubilee lines have returned a yes vote for action short of strike due to excessive track noise.

Tubeworker congratulates the workers who voted YES and bizarrely those who voted NO. Without them the ballot would not have made it over the ridiculous 50% threshold that the Trade Union Act imposes on unions.

Since the issue was first raised miraculously management say they have found an extra £10 million to "tackle the issue". Why they couldn't see problems with the Pandrol Vanguard system in the first place we don't know. Either way workers should not have to endure track noise any longer.

Tubeworker says the RMT should start the slow down in noisy sections immediately. Neither drivers of passengers should be suffering any longer. Station staff can use the opportunity to explain exactly why the service is being disrupted, and this kind of action will be very disruptive, lets use the opportunity to push the bosses back and put safety first.

Add new comment

Strike dates adjusted on Victoria and Central lines

Published on: Thu, 22/08/2019 - 14:54

The dates for the Central and Victoria Line strikes have been adjusted to 3-4 September (20:00 to 20:00), after reps and activists argued that the initial dates (29-30 August) would be less impactful.

Although altering dates after initially announcing them can be a bit of a messy business, it seems like the new dates will be more effective.

It’s a good lesson in why meetings of rank-and-file reps and activists should be the forum for making these decisions in the first place.

Tubeworker topics

Add new comment

LU’s latest offer still unacceptable: ballot for action now!

Published on: Sun, 18/08/2019 - 22:24

Ongoing pay talks have yielded a new offer from the company. They’re proposing a two-year deal, with a year one pay increase of RPI + 0.2%, with an RPI + 0.2% increase in year two minus the cost of implementing a 30-minute reduction in the working week.

This is entirely unacceptable for a number of reasons. Firstly, the pay increase itself is inadequate, and insulting in the context of pay rises of up to 74% handed to senior managers. Secondly, we can’t accept the idea that we should have to finance a reduced working week from our own wages rather than the company’s profits. Thirdly, a 30-minute reduction in the working week simply isn’t enough to be meaningful. We need hours of our week, not minutes. Finally, the offer doesn’t address our other demands, including equalisation of staff travel facilities, a minimum flat-rate pay increase, or the equalisation of the CSA grade.

For all these reasons, we have to push on with plans to ballot for action to win a better deal.

However, the offer is, in a small but significant way, progress. It represents the first concrete acknowledgment by our bosses that they can’t settle with us without making some concession on working hours.

Their acknowledgment of that gives us an opportunity to push forward. We have to increase the pressure by balloting for strikes.

Tubeworker topics

Add new comment

This website uses cookies, you can find out more and set your preferences here.
By continuing to use this website, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.