Northern line

Drill music?

Published on: Wed, 05/02/2020 - 14:09

Station staff at Old Street have demanded action on noise, as incessant drilling from the construction project on the roundabout has become intolerable. After pressure from union reps, it looks like an agreement has been secured to restrict the times of the drilling.

Regular rotation of staff away from the gateline is also needed, which may necessitate additional staffing levels.

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Go slow to stop track noise!

Published on: Thu, 26/09/2019 - 11:50

After the excellent ballot result on the Jubilee, Northern, Victoria, and Central Lines, RMT has named action starting on 10 October in its dispute to end excessive track noise.

Drivers will impose temporary speed restrictions in affected areas, lessening the effect of the noise forced into the driver’s cab and the train cars.

That’s the kind of go-slow we like to see. We’re less keen on the slowness of the union’s decision making process. This action should have been announced as soon as the ballot result came back. The delay only benefits the bosses.

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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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Drivers: vote yes for action over noise levels!

Published on: Tue, 27/08/2019 - 17:45

RMT is balloting all driver members, including Night Tube drivers, on the Jubilee, Central, Northern and Victoria lines, for industrial action against excessive noise levels, which have become intolerable.

The problem is caused by the "Pandrol Vanguard" system LU installed to reduce track noise for people living above and next to the tracks; fair enough, except the system has the effect of forcing the noise into the train itself, leading to thunderous levels of noise in the driver's cab (and, indeed, in the carriages).

LU wants to issue drivers with ear defenders, but RMT is rightly insisting on a long-term engineering fix to sort the problem out properly. As LU won't agree to impose speed restrictions over the affected sections of track, which would alleviate the problem, it is entirely right for drivers to ballot in order to take things into our own hands and impose the speed restrictions ourselves.

The ballot opened today, Tuesday 27 August, and closes on 10 September. Use your vote, vote yes for action!

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Action needed over noise levels

Published on: Wed, 03/07/2019 - 11:43

RMT is considering a ballot of driver members on five lines - Victoria, Central, Northern, Jubilee, and Piccadilly - over noise levels.

LU has installed “Pandrol Vanguard” technology on the tracks in an attempt to reduce train noise at street level... with the effect that noise is forced into the cab and cars, affecting drivers and passengers.

This fix is not good enough. We want a proper engineering solution, and in the meantime a temporary speed restriction in place over affected areas to reduce noise.

If LU won’t agree to that, industrial action short of strikes to drive at reduced speed over affected track will be necessary.

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Fit for Nothing

Published on: Thu, 24/01/2019 - 13:07

It has come to Tubeworker's attention that on some station groups, management have come up with a novel idea for dealing with the problem of not having CSMs available to carry out Return to Work interviews. They want staff to sign a statement that they are fit for duty and then have them crack on with work while the RTWI takes place days or even weeks later.

You don't have to be a genius to see what could go wrong here. What if you are not fit for your full duties? What if you are not sure whether you are? What happens when you make a mistake or have an accident? You signed the statement; you're responsible.

Management are trying to patch up their own short-staffing with this reckless gimmick. They are trying to shift responsibility from themselves to us. The unions must tell them to stop it. In the meantime, insist on your Return to Work Interview, and don't sign your rights away.

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In The Air Tonight

Published on: Tue, 15/01/2019 - 11:40

Scientific reports confirming the shockingly bad quality of air on London Underground are becoming an annual tradition.

The latest report, from the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants, reported last week that the air on the platforms at Hampstead was around 31 times more polluted than the average in London, taken from a roadside monitoring point.

This might not effect passengers too badly, as they’re unlikely to be at platform level for more than a few minutes at a time. But what about staff? Station staff have to do SATS duties for up to two hours, and cleaners in some locations spend their entire eight-hour shifts at platform level.

The company has been scrambling to deny the problem. An Employee Bulletin said: “We spend around £60 million every year cleaning our trains, stations, and tunnels to ensure dust levels are kept to an absolute minimum. This includes regular cleaning of trains and stations.”

This reassuring statistic omits to mention a few vital facts. Firstly, the cleaning is not carried out by robots: it’s carried out by people, who are themselves being exposed to dust and air pollution. Secondly, ABM, the multinational contractor to whom LU outsources cleaning, is planning to make huge job cuts!

LU also claims it “performs regular health checks for all our operational employees.” This is a straightforward untruth, as any operational employee knows well. The only time we’re sent to Occupational Health for a checkup is when LU is worried we might be too ill to work for a prolonged period, when its various “supportive” methods of attendance management kick in (“get back to work quickly or else”). It’s also worth remembering that ongoing austerity cuts on LU have not spared LUOH, which has been radically pared back with many additional facilities, including health fairs on stations and in depots, reduced or scrapped entirely.

LU has also consistently refused requests from station staff to be allowed to wear simple dust masks while performing platform duties, for no other reason than that some senior boss has decided they don’t look good. So the company’s concern for some superficial notion of aesthetics apparently overrides its concern for our health.

Union health and safety reps are already demanding additional local checks into air quality. Make sure yours does this too. And if LU still won’t budge on the dust masks issue and enters into serious discussions about reducing platform time, including my increasing staffing levels to facilitate greater SATS rotation if necessary, we need to start thinking about industrial action to refuse to work downstairs.

It’s a jobs issue for cleaners too; without a significant increase in cleaner numbers, there’ll be no way to limit time spent on the platform. RMT’s fight to resist ABM’s job cuts, and bring cleaning in house, is a fight for workers’ health!

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More Stations Fight Short-Staffing

Published on: Thu, 10/01/2019 - 10:23

Station staff on the Northern and District lines are set to follow in the footsteps of Bakerloo South and ballot for strikes for better staff coverage.

In the stations around Earl's Court and Hendon Central, duties are regularly left uncovered and staff left to run stations alone. Lone working is dangerous and stressful, and staff have had enough. On both these groups, union members are asking RMT to call industrial action to force management to fill vacancies and cover duties.

Tubeworker knows that this problem is rampant across our stations. So how about we fight back across the job. Together we are stronger.

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Vote yes for strikes on cab security

Published on: Fri, 17/08/2018 - 17:27

Five members of the public got into a female driver's cab on a Northern Line train at Kings Cross. London Underground played down the threat and questioned her version of events!

This is just the latest of many incidents. Drivers feel vulnerable. The cab can be accessed from the train too easily with a J door key or the emergency handle. Drivers are demanding a secure magnetic lock but London Underground refuses to pay for it.

So we will strike for our demands. Aslef members will vote between 4 and 19 September. Tubeworker hopes RMT drivers will be balloted too or join the strike action.

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Potential ballot over cab security

Published on: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 11:20

After a Northern Line driver was attacked by a passenger who managed to break into her cab, Aslef has said it will be looking to ballot its members for strikes to demand better cab security.

This issue has been brewing for a long time, with industrial and safety reps from both unions pressing management. If it takes industrial action to get some concrete action from them, so be it.

We hope both unions ballot their driver memberships and take coordinated action when the time comes.

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