Piccadilly line

Turdgate!

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.

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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.

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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!

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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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Action brings management to the table but where next?

Published on: Sun, 07/10/2018 - 00:28

The Picc line strike 26-28 September was rock solid at all depots. Management are clearly worried and now asking to return to ACAS for further talks. Aslef members respecting pickets and the involvement of the night tube for the first time show there is appetite from drivers to pile on the pressure.

It would be all to easy to go into the talks, hear some progress, just like in November and once against for them to fail to deliver. RMT should go into these talks with dates for further action named. With the ballot showing strong support for action on The Central. Picc drivers should coordinate their action. RMT branches jointly meeting with all those involved to discuss the next steps like Finsbury Park and Piccadilly & District Line West did are examples to be followed

On 26 September coming out at noon effectively gave an extra day of action, lining up to do the same when the Central Line driver's name their date will show what we are capable of.

A whole line being taken out caused plenty of problems for management, two going out together and a commitment to keep naming dates until real concessions are made would put us on the front foot and serve as an example to other grades on the combine

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Picc-et Lines!

Published on: Fri, 21/09/2018 - 10:59

Drivers on the Piccadilly Line are set to strike for 48 hours from 26-28 September, with Night Tube drivers striking on 28 and 29.

Strikes were planned on the Picc from 11-14 July, but were called off after LU offered a settlement. The headline of the deal was a commitment to maintain staffing levels at Piccadilly Line depots at a level well above the agreed minimum, in an attempt to ameliorate a crisis of short staffing. At the time, there was significant dissent amongst some reps and activists, with many feeling that the offer didn't go far enough and that LU couldn't be trusted to keep up their end of the bargain. Many argued that the strikes should go ahead to give the company a reminder of who actually makes the trains move (i.e., workers, not bosses).

The strikes were suspended, but it didn't take long for those who'd argued against suspension to be vindicated. LU reneged on its commitments. Back to square one.

It's absolutely vital the strikes go ahead this time. The company clearly cannot be trusted to uphold agreements made in negotiations unless the additional pressure of workers' action is brought to bear. The only language they understand is profit; stopping the job and hitting their revenue and reputation is the only way to force concessions they actually stick to.

RMT's Finsbury Park and Piccadilly & District Line branches plan comprehensive picketing of depots at both ends of the line, which we confidently expect members of the other union will respect.

Calling off strikes at the last minute isn't cost-neutral. Workers' confidence and mobilisation can't be turned on and off like a light switch. If we train ourselves into the habit of expecting strikes to be called off, at a certain point people will stop voting for them. There's also an issue of union democracy involved; the resolution that led to the initial ballot contained a clause stipulating a 24-hour deadline for negotiations, committing the union to going ahead with strikes if no adequate settlement had been reached 24 hours in advance. Despite this, negotiations continued until the last possible minute.

We elect reps and send them into negotiations to articulate our demands and let the company know what we want. But it's industrial action that will force the changes. The model shouldn't be negotiators saying, "give us a deal and we'll suspend the strikes", it should be negotiators saying "these are our demands: will you meet them?", and if the company responds in the negative, we strike. Simple.

Obviously in the course of a dispute compromise may be necessary, and we may decide that a deal offered at a particular point represents enough of a step forward for us to accept it. But the starting point should always be workers' direct action to win our demands, not the threat of strikes used as a bargaining chip in negotiations. Even on those terms, the more strikes we suspend, the less power that threat has.

Drivers on the Picc are up for the fight, so let's take it to the bosses.

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