Hammersmith & City and Circle lines

Safety over speed

Published on: Thu, 18/07/2019 - 13:23

At Farringdon, trains driven in ATO leave the station at 15mph. Trains reach 30mph within station limits. A faster line speed means a more frequent service, which is London Underground's priority.

Drivers are asking for trains to pull in and out of crowded stations like Farringdon at a slower speed to minimise accidents arising from overcrowded platforms.

Safety has to take priority over the frequency of the service.

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District and H&C workers resist lone working

Published on: Fri, 22/03/2019 - 18:44

Station staff on the District East group, and drivers at Upminster and Barking depots on the District and Hammersmith and City Lines, are planning ballots for industrial action to protest lone working.

A recent spate of antisocial behaviour and violence, including stabbings, in the area sparked workers’ concern. A statement from their union branch, RMT East Ham, said: “In the space of three days, there has been a shooting and two stabbings on trains within our Branch area, and a further knife attack outside one of our stations. In all of these incidents, our members acted with bravery and professionalism, but this should not be a normal part of our jobs. Unfortunately, these types of crimes are becoming more common, putting our members at unacceptable risk.”

The ballot will be for industrial action short of a strike, specifically to refuse to lone work at stations alone or to detrain trains alone.

Lone working is a direct consequence of LU’s cuts to staffing levels over successive years; District Line workers are right to resist it.

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Barking drivers plan strikes

Published on: Thu, 20/12/2018 - 17:58

Aslef drivers at Barking depot on the Hammersmith and City Line will strike on 10 and 23 January, as yet another group of drivers encounters problems with depot management throwing their weight around and ignoring agreements.

Surely it’s time for a combine-wide drivers’ fight back against bullying bosses?

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4LM Delayed

Published on: Wed, 05/12/2018 - 01:00

The "Four Lines Modernisation" (4LM) upgrade on the District, Met, Circle, and H and C missed the 17/18 November "go live" date for the first phase of automatic train operation.

There have been numerous problems with Thales' new signalling system, including more than one train entering a signalling section at once during a simulated test. It has now been put back to next year. By 2018, Bombardier was supposed to complete the entire upgrade - before it pulled out of its contract, costing TfL £85 million. Thales doesn't seem to be seem to be delivering on its promises either.

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Dust Up

Published on: Mon, 13/11/2017 - 21:47

One consequence of sharing some stations with other train operating companies is that we get the fallout when their standards slip even lower than ours.

So spare a thought for station staff at Moorgate, Old Street and Highbury & Islington. Great Northern have omitted to clean their tunnels properly for a couple of decades, and the dust has now become a positive nuisance. The good news is that it doesn't - as initially feared - contain asbestos. The less good news is that it contains mould and various other nasty substances.

It is just not acceptable for us (or our Great Northern workmates) to be subjected to working in these conditions.

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Pain in the art?

Published on: Mon, 16/10/2017 - 23:43

Here at Tubeworker, we're big advocates of public art and the liberating potential of artistic expression. But art installations in our workplaces need to take the safety and welfare of staff into account.

This consideration went missing with a recent "Art on the Underground" installation at King's Cross, by the Met/H&C gateline, which featured a looped 12-minute film, with a soundtrack featuring high-pitched singing throughout. A site space allocation was sent to safety reps, but no risk assessment was carried out.

Staff found the noise intolerable. Additionally, disabled member activists within the union flagged up the problem of sensory over-stimulation that could make the workplace a more distressing environment for workers with certain mental health conditions.

After union reps encouraged a campaign of email bombardment to the Area Manager, an agreement was reached whereby the film would only be played between 08:00-10:00 and 17:00-19:00 daily. If something similar happens in your workplace, speak to your safety reps immediately.

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Safety First

Published on: Fri, 23/06/2017 - 17:04

The stretch of the Hammersmith & City and Circle Lines running past Grenfell Tower remain suspended, as investigations into the tragic fire continue.

This is absolutely right; no corners can be cut with safety, and until those investigations are concluded and the area made safe, that suspension should remain in place.

Some question marks then, over why the suspension was briefly lifted before being reinstated. We know LU doesn't like suspensions as they hit revenue; we also know suspensions inconvenience our passengers, but safety must come first. If there's one overarching lesson from the horror of Grenfell, it's that safety must never play second fiddle to profit.

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Wot No Minimum Numbers?

Published on: Mon, 27/03/2017 - 10:12

Last month, King's Cross station stayed open with just one CSS and two CSAs on the station - not just below but way below minimum numbers - but management have decided that it was not that much of a problem.

When the last H&C trains were running late on 22 February, dead-late staff booked off and the station fell below the minimum numbers of 1 CSM + 10 others, it should have closed. Instead, King's Cross stayed open with just one CSM, one CSS and two CSAs - and then the CSM left the station to get rid of an intoxicated passenger who had abused a member of staff.

Minimum numbers are there for a reason - we can not safely run or evacuate a station with fewer people on duty than that minimum. Other nearby stations, Baker Street, Great Portland Street and Euston Square, had already closed for exactly this reason. But our intrepid management seemingly made an exception of King's Cross.

An "investigation" by the local management concluded that it was fine to stay open below minimum numbers because, you know, it was late, only part of the station was open, there weren't many people around, and if they'd closed people might have been cross. Yes, really.

Readers do not need Tubeworker to explain the implications of this shocking occurrence. Down this road lies de-staffing and disaster.

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Wot No Control Staff

Published on: Thu, 23/02/2017 - 08:50

A new manager comes in, wants to make a name for himself, clamps down on overtime, interferes with established ways of ensuring coverage, and guess what happens?

Yup. Not enough control staff to run the subsurface and Piccadilly lines last night. No problems for our intrepid new guvnor: the control room equipment can run itself! No, it can't. Still no problem: the staff can work through their meal reliefs. Er, no they can't.

Result: job up wall.

Management managed to attribute this to 'industrial action' and then 'absence of control staff'. Might we suggest that 'shortage of staff' and 'shortcomings of management' might be more accurate?

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Tube drivers to join Christmas 2016 strike wave

Published on: Mon, 19/12/2016 - 15:45

Tube drivers on the Central and Hammersmith & City Lines will join the developing Christmas 2016 strike wave, which also includes mainline rail workers, airport workers, postal workers, cinema workers, and factory workers.

RMT driver members at the White City and West Ruislip depots are striking on 24 December to demand the reinstatement of their unjustly sacked colleague Dean Storey, and drivers at the Hammersmith and Edgware Road depots on the Hammersmith & City, Circle, and District Line are striking on the evening of 24 December in a dispute over rostering and holiday working arrangements. LU wants Hammersmith and Edgware drivers to undertake cross-line working, including picking up trains at South Kensington. RMT has also instructed driver members not to work in areas where they are not trained, until further notice.

In a separate dispute, RMT Central Line drivers will vote on whether to strike over threatened displacements, in a ballot closing on 12 January.

Tubeworker hopes Aslef members at all these depots will respect RMT picket lines.

It's time for our unions to name strikes on stations too. Striking alongside Southern rail workers and others will seriously ratchet up the pressure on LU, who are already on the ropes due to an effective overtime ban.

TSSA stations reps met on Monday 19 December, with RMT stations reps due to meet tomorrow. Tubeworker sends its solidarity to all reps arguing for our unions to step up the fight on stations and name strikes.

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