Disputes

“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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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“Go it alone”?

Published on: Thu, 25/07/2019 - 11:16

Tubeworker isn’t linked to any one union on the job, and we argue consistently for unity and common action between all unions on LU.

That aspiration for unity means it’s always disappointing when one union puts out material attacking another in a way that’s divisive or even straightforwardly inaccurate. Robust criticism and debate about strategy and tactics is one thing; misleading workers about another union’s record is quite another.

There’s a new Aslef leaflet doing the rounds on the job that declares its “time to go it alone” on pay and conditions, allegedly because RMT isn’t prepared to fight for drivers! It attacks RMT for raising the demand for the consolidation of the CSA grade, and goes on to claim that RMT “agreed” the introduction of the CSA2 grade.

This is untrue. In fact, the post-Fit for the Future grading system was imposed by the company, despite union opposition. RMT fought against Fit for the Future in its entirety, and while some significant concessions were gained from management, ultimately that battle was lost and the new grades were imposed. It is outrageous for Aslef to claim RMT positively agreed to the creation of the CSA2 grade.

The Aslef leaflet says “we only care about drivers”. What an illuminating insight into the sectional mindset! Not “we only organise drivers”, or “we only represent drivers”, but “we only care about drivers”! In other words, other workers on the railway can get stuffed!

This approach is divisive and only benefits the bosses. We urge rank-and-file Aslef members to challenge their reps over the spreading of these inaccuracies. We’ll be far more powerful if we don’t “go it alone”, but rather fight together to take united action.

Tubeworker topics

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Transformation ballot halted

Published on: Tue, 23/07/2019 - 11:22

RMT’s ballot of workers in engineering, signals, and other departments to fight Transformation job cuts has been halted.

The result was due back on 16 July, but the union pulled the ballot before the announcement. The official reason is that RMT plans to expand the number of workers balloted.

Large ballots are difficult to win, but as the recent example from the fleet dispute against extended train prep shows, it can be done.

The ballot should be resumed as soon as possible.

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Vote for strikes to stop “Transformation” cuts

Published on: Thu, 20/06/2019 - 13:14

As TfL/LU push ahead with cuts planned under its “Transformation” process, RMT is balloting affected members for strikes and other industrial action. Workers affected include all ex-Tube Lines members, Palestra House (LUCC) Service Control, Signals, Skills Development, and Track Access Control.

The “Transformation” scheme, which has already claimed dozens of jobs in admin grades, threatens potentially thousands more. A planned three-day strike by fleet workers recently forced LU to back off from plans to extend train preparation schedules; strikes across affected grades could throw a spanner in the works of “Transformation”.

RMT must also plan to spread the dispute to other grades if initial action by the affected workers doesn’t get results.

The ballot opens on 26 June, and close on 16 July. Resist the cuts: vote yes/yes!

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Waste collection to be outsourced?

Published on: Thu, 20/06/2019 - 13:08

The Labour Party has a national policy commitment to end outsourcing when it goes into government. Great. But we already have a Labour mayor in City Hall. Not only is Sadiq Khan overseeing the continued outsourcing of cleaning, security, and cleaning, under his mayoralty, TfL and LU bosses are looking to outsource and privatise even more workers!

As part of the ongoing “Transformation” process of TfL/LU cuts, bosses plan to outsource waste collection services in outer London, currently done by directly-employed staff, to a private company. Workers’ terms, conditions, and jobs are at risk. (For more, see this RMT report here.)

RMT is now balloting for strikes against “Transformation” cuts. As fleet workers have recently shown, the threat of action can get results.

Tubeworker topics

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Ballot on pay and conditions imminent

Published on: Tue, 18/06/2019 - 11:58

RMT is now preparing to ballot members on LU for industrial action over pay and conditions. With all three other unions having also rejected LU’s latest offer, it’s likely they’ll ballot too.

Restrictive anti-union laws mean we need to get a 50% turnout and at least 40% of all those balloted voting yes to take legal action. So make sure your contact details are up to date with your union so your ballot paper gets sent to the right place.

We need to be prepared to take serious action. A token one-day strike is unlikely to be enough to budge the bosses. Guards on South Western Railway are currently striking for five days to defend their jobs; their resolve should inspire us!

Tubeworker topics

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