Piccadilly line

Station staff face assaults

Published on: Thu, 27/02/2020 - 14:47

Antisocial behaviour and violence towards station staff is spiking on the Piccadilly East cover group. Local reps are pressing managers through the local machinery to ensure members are supported and action is taken.

Combine wide, LU will undoubtedly point to their much vaunted “workplace violence strategy” as evidence that they’re dealing with issues like this, but remember that this “strategy” involves bringing around 150 lower-paid TfL workers onto LU stations, to do work that should be covered by LU RCIs.

We need to fight for significant staffing increases, including in the revenue department (of RCIs, not the proposed new “RCO” grade), properly accessible places of safety on every station, and adequate support for staff who do face assaults.

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Ravenscourt roof

Published on: Tue, 21/01/2020 - 14:52

On Tuesday 14 January, high winds dislodged a large section of corrugated roofing at Ravenscourt Park station and sent it flying into the central area of track used by Piccadilly Line trains that pass through the station at 45mph.

Thankfully no one was injured but it is beyond evident that this was a highly serious incident that could have potentially ended very differently. The at-height location of the station means that if the section of roof had been blown the other way, it would have landed in a pedestrianised residential area, and had their been a train on the tracks, the section of roof was large and heavy enough to have potentially caused a derailment. The markings on the metal show that it made direct contact with the rail, and the wooden struts used to secure the roof panel to the canopy are visibly in poor condition.

This points to a serious failure of asset maintenance over a significant period of time that has left the roofing in such a poor condition that high winds were able to dislodge it. Simply put, had the roof been maintained properly, this could have been avoided yet LUL have continued to push through cuts in all areas of the business including asset maintenance.

A section of poorly maintained, rotting wood that contributed to the incident.

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Ravenscourt.jpg(168.53 KB) 168.53 KB

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Published on: Tue, 27/08/2019 - 17:37

You come to expect the unexpected working on the Tube; we see all sorts and we raise one eyebrow and carry on. But one Friday morning incident in August has pushed our levels of incredulity to the extreme.

Peak time, 08.41 to be precise, on the Piccadilly line and multiple passenger alarms are pulled on a train in the eastbound platform at South Kensington. The driver goes back to investigate, discovering that one of the travelling public has curled one out on the floor of car 5. That's right, they have evacuated their bowels in the middle of a packed carriage, then to top it off they are now refusing to leave the train.

The train is now clearly not fit for service, but with the depositor refusing to leave the train, service control have a dilemma. Their solution is to get a CSA to sit in the carriage with the turd and its creator, and travel to King's Cross to be met by the BTP.

What we have here is another example of managers prioritising the service over our safety. There was no thought or concern as to the wellbeing of this CSA as they traveled to King's Cross, just a thought as to how can we get this train moving.

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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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Dispute against lone working at Heathrow prepared for take off

Published on: Thu, 20/06/2019 - 23:18

RMT has launched a local dispute on the Heathrow stations cover group, demanding an end to lone working during Night Tube hours.

Due to short staffing, Night Tube staff at the Terminal 5 station often have to work alone, including having to detrain before trains are taken into the sidings. They face antisocial behaviour and a serious risk of assault. During a review of Night Tube staffing levels conducted during 2018, RMT Stations Functional Council reps raised Heathrow as an area that should be considered for an increased Night Tube staffing level, due to the possibility of staff assaults. Management stonewalled the request... and staff were indeed assaulted, including one particularly nasty incident recently.

Workers have decided enough is enough and have raised the issue via their union reps and branch. The local RMT branch is preparing to ballot affected stations members for industrial action, as well as balloting Night Tube drivers. The lack of adequate station staffing levels means drivers don't have sufficient support when detraining.

With Night Tube workers at other locations facing similar issues, let's hope the Heathrow dispute is the first of many fight backs against lone working and short staffing.

Tubeworker topics

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Ballot for Billing!

Published on: Fri, 22/03/2019 - 18:45

Station staff at Heathrow are gearing up to defend Harvinder Billing, a colleague sacked after two ticket office discrepancies.

Anyone who works in a ticket office knows how unreliable LU’s machines can be. We can’t stand by and watch our colleagues sacked for human error on an unreliable system on which we’re not properly trained.

It’s good to see Harvinder’s colleagues rally round.

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Acton drivers plan to ballot to stop imposition of new roster

Published on: Sat, 26/01/2019 - 14:26

Management wanting to impose new rosters on Picc Line drivers at Bollo House depot in Acton?

Wouldn’t have thought so. RMT members are preparing a ballot to resist the imposition. Let’s see how the bosses' roster looks with all the drivers on strike.

Tubeworker topics

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Ticketing Troubles

Published on: Tue, 18/12/2018 - 09:38

Arnos Grove station staff are shocked and angry that management have suspended a workmate for a minor ticket office discrepancy. The staff member concerned has more than fifteen years on the job and six years doing ticket office duties without any problems, and yet the company has thrown the book at him over a shortfall that may not even be his fault.

Staff are now reluctant to enter the ticket office / POM suite in case they find themselves accused. And they are asking RMT to prepare industrial action ballots both to protect the integrity of ticket office procedures and to stop the disciplinary action against their colleague. They know very well that an injury to one is an injury to all.

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Nigel Holness quote

Wheely good service?

Published on: Mon, 19/11/2018 - 13:39

The Piccadilly Line has recently faced extensive delays due to “flatted wheels” a problem that caused major issues in 2015 and 2016 and resulted in a formal investigation and an extensive report from London TravelWatch.

You can read what London Underground had to say about it here.

The twist in the tail is that London Underground have been refusing to let the public know about the problem by insisting on advertising a “Good Service”.

This in turn has lead to an enormous amount of confrontation at affected stations and platform overcrowding. Tubeworker happens to know that station staff and union reps have repeatedly ask for this to change and feel dismissed by the responses they’ve received.

It’s quite simple really. Be honest with the people that are using the service so that they can plan their journey to work effectively. A little honesty goes a long way!

Tubeworker topics

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Central Line and Picc Line drivers: all out on 7 November!

Published on: Wed, 17/10/2018 - 13:10

RMT and Aslef drivers on the Central Line, and RMT drivers on the Piccadilly Line, will strike on 7 November. Here’s the lowdown on the Central Line strike...

RMT drivers have three ongoing disputes on the Central Line - we’re resisting the removal of detrainment staff on the Waterloo and City Line, where drivers operate out of Leytonstone depot; we’re demanding reinstatement for Paul Bailey, a driver we believe was unjustly sacked; and we’re fighting against an out-of-control management culture.

Management have backed off for now on their plans to remove Waterloo and City Line detrainment staff. They were planning to impose “flash-and-dash”, whereby, rather than the train being physically checked by a station assistant, the driver would simply be expected to flash the cab lights on and off and hope that would be enough to remind any passengers to get off, then take the train into the sidings.

In the Paul Bailey case, there is a lot of propaganda being circulated by the Central Line Operations Manager. Paul was sacked after “failing” a drugs test, for the presence of cannabinoid substances, but a second test on a sample taken at the same time showed he was well within the cut-off limit of 50-ng/mL.

Management are now moving the goalposts and saying the limit is 15-ng/mL, even though all the documentation says 50. They won’t release the results of Paul’s initial test, they’re just saying “he failed”. When pressed on why they won’t release the results, managers say, “we don’t have to”. So there’s obviously something dodgy going on in terms of openness and transparency.

The third dispute is over what the union calls a “breakdown of industrial relations”. There are a raft of issues involved here, which affect drivers at all Central Line depots. They’re similar to the issues in the Piccadilly Line dispute. Drivers feel like we’re being pushed around by management. They knowingly run trains late then effectively force drivers to work past their shift finishing times. There’s also a big issue with the authoritarian way the attendance policy is being applied; drivers who are at work with no issues are being hauled in for medical case conferences and told they’re at risk of losing their jobs!

In the Waterloo and City Line and Paul Bailey disputes, there are clear demands: retain detrainment staff, and reinstate Paul. In the other dispute, we’re fighting for a wholesale change in management culture.

We’ll strike on 7 November, alongside Aslef, who have a parallel dispute on the Central Line over similar issues. Aslef also have a live ballot mandate over cab security, but it’s not clear what their strategy is for that.

The issues with Central Line management have been ongoing for years, resurfacing over and over again. It feels like we have to strike to keep the bosses in check.

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