Reserve and pool staff

Pool Problem

Published on: Sat, 23/07/2016 - 01:35

Pool drivers at Barking depot on the Hammersmith and City line have been getting heartily fed up of being sent to cover duties at Edgware Road and Hammersmith depots.

Under the line pool agreements, pool drivers don’t get paid travelling time when they are sent in this way. But management were breaching their own agreements and sending drivers to other depots when there were uncovered duties at Barking - an issue raised by local reps, who have got the practice stopped.

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Full-Time, Part-Time: Equal Rights!

Published on: Mon, 25/04/2016 - 15:53

London Underground has said that new part-time Night Tube drivers won’t get the drivers' New Years' Eve bonus, and that only existing, full-time drivers should be entitled to it.

At the same time, in the effort to reduce weekend working for drivers, it has been suggested that pool drivers should work more weekends so rostered drivers work fewer.

This is wrong. We should be fighting for improvements for all workers and refusing to break agreements on the same terms. Splitting grades between part timers and full timers, or between pool, rostered, and Night Tube drivers, or putting greater restrictions on one than another is not the way to get improvements for drivers, or for any worker, in any grade or function on LU.

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New Year’s Eve on the Cheap

Published on: Wed, 20/01/2016 - 22:19

We hear some stations managers have been staffing 24 hour New Year’s Eve on a budget. Rather than let people choose whether to work through the night and pay them an enhanced payment as a thank you, some managers moved reserve CSAs from dead lates to night shifts with only a few days’ notice. To add insult to injury, the reserve staff were told that they were not entitled to the enhanced payment because they hadn’t volunteered. What a delightful way to thank someone who has been forced to cancel their New Year’s plans!

Management should not get away with this. The enhanced payment is for all who work the night shift, whether by choice or by force. New Year’s staffing should be decided in consultation with local reps, and it should be staffed by volunteers. No one should be forced to have their New Year’s Eve ruined.

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Wot No Keys?!

Published on: Sun, 20/07/2014 - 12:26

News reached Tubeworker HQ that some stations are so short of master keys for staff, CSAs have to share.

This means we have to go borrowing our colleagues' keys every time we need to get into the mess room, or use the toilet, which can get a bit embarrassing, as well as inconvenient.

What's behind this key stinginess, we wonder? Apparently, too many keys have gone missing in the past, and management is now refusing to issue more.

It shows an extraordinary level of mistrust and suspicious on behalf of management. Because of a few alleged incidents, everyone on the station (including reserve staff) is being made to suffer. The past actions of a few shouldn't be used to tar us all and treat us like children. We should be able to go to the toilet, access our lockers, or get into our mess rooms, when we need to, without having to inconvenience a colleague.

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New Drivers Messed Around

Published on: Mon, 22/10/2012 - 19:51

Life for new drivers is not great right now. Just when you finally got that promotion into what you thought was a secure, decently-paid job, you find yourself moved around like a pawn on a chessboard. LUL management used you to help them deliver the service on the heavy-duty Olympic lines, now they've moved you from the Jube or Central lines to the C&H for the upgrade or to the Northern line for the TBTC. Who knows what the next stop will be on your journey?

Such are the delights of TOPRA and the woeful 2009 Agreement.

But it's even worse. This isn't just about inconvenience for new drivers now. It's about preparing for future job cuts.

Management want to establish the principle of drivers being easily movable from one line to another. Once they've opened up that particular crack in our current practice, they will move step by step to do it more and more - and that will enable them to staff up the trains with far fewer drivers.

The unions should draw a line against this, and get us out of the dreadful 'agreements' that facilitate it. We should not wait for job cuts to fight job cuts - we should resist the preparations for them too.

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Pushed Around the Pool

Published on: Tue, 15/05/2012 - 16:55

Pool operators are being used to cover duties across a line when the other depot is within 45 minutes. This doesn’t mean you book on at your home duty and then cover another location within your duty parameters and then have time to return to your home depot before booking off. It means you could be given a week's worth of duties at the other end of your line. No travelling time, no extra payment.

If a depot is short of drivers it doesn’t need to recruit extra but just shift about the skeletal cover it has. Why have the unions allowed this to happen? London Underground needs fewer drivers the more flexible we allow ourselves to become.

Imagine, you’re due to start a dead early, you have to get up an hour and a half early to get your second or maybe third taxi, only to arrive at a location you are unfamiliar with without a locker to store your belongings. It could mean an extra couple of hours on your day's travel time with no extra pay.

The rule is that if it is over 45 minutes you will be paid, but which depots would this apply to? If you were a pool driver at White City, LU don’t need to send you to Loughton, they can shift you half way down the line to Leytonstone and then move a pool driver from there to Loughton so nobody gets paid for the hassle.

This ‘agreement’ has been in place for a few years, and as is often the case has been recognised as being a bad agreement for drivers but gone unchallenged by the unions as it was previously used less and those affected are often new drivers who don't want to make a fuss as they just started in a new role. Now we have drivers been routinely shunted across London and it is hard for the unions to fight it, as LU can turn around and say this has been a long standing agreement.

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Line Reserve

Published on: Fri, 08/04/2011 - 15:11

'Line Reserve' is happening. Reserve station staff who used to only work on one group are being asked to work on other groups. As we have warned already, this will erode reserves' terms and conditions, who already get precious little notice of their work pattern. It has health and safety implications too. Staff need to know their stations. We had line reserve in the past but it was scrapped after the Kings Cross fire.

It has not come in with a bang. It seems to be the Northern and Met lines first, but others will surely follow. Management have been requesting people to cover duties elsewhere in a subtle way. They have asked people who tend to be most compliant with managers.

The framework agreement for station staff states that staff can be required to work on other groups occasionally. So, technically, management may be within their rights to be making these requests.

But they are using this part of the agreement now because a. the OSP has created an inbalance between groups' staffing levels: some groups are 'over establishment' while others have too few staff. And b. they almost seem to be proving a point: kicking us when we are already down.

The good news is that when staff have refused to go, management have not pushed the point. They are obviously not wanting to create huge fights over this.

So, if you are asked to work off your group, kick up a bit of a fuss. Even reserve station staff have a right to 28 days' notice of duties. They cannot change your rest days, and changes to duties should be by mutual agreement if possible. You do not have to be as flexible as they might make you believe.

But for those staff who lack the confidence, we may need to put a boycott in place, as action short of strike. We need not fear discipline for refusing if we are covered by official industrial action. Members, reps, branches and the unions need to get their membership records up to date so we can issue notice to LU of official industrial action and start resisting this, and other attacks, en masse.

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Hands Off Our Weekends!

Published on: Tue, 27/04/2010 - 21:47

Reserve CSAs on Liverpool Street group have a guaranteed weekend off every four weeks. Management evidently think that they are living the life of Riley so have announced that they want to cut it to every six weeks.

Charming - you'd better start asking your kids to make appointments a couple of months in advance if they want to spend a day with you. And as far as Tubeworker can tell, Liverpool Street isn't even especially busy at weekends.

Staff are following the example of the signal maintenance workers and defending their right to weekends off. The RMT rep is leading the charge, but we hear that the TSSA rep is inclined to see things from management's point of view. Perhaps someone should remind him that that's management's job.

Comments

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 24/05/2010 - 10:27

We think you'll find that the framework agreement doesn't mention the issue (although if you insist that it does, perhaps you could tell us the number of the clause concerned).

Rather, there is an agreement at functional level that it is good practice to have rest-day rosters for reserves and that if reps ask for it, management have to carry out a survey of the staff affected and implement such a roster for any grade of staff where the majority want it.

In other words, local reps can fight for a rest-day roster (or guaranteed weekends off, which is a version of a rest-day roster) if the staff want it and if the reps have the will to fight for it.

Experience tells us that where reps defer to management's "right" to withdraw from agreements rather than defend the agreements they have, then the effect is to give management a headstart on the issue, and workers will come off worse.

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Forcing CSAs off their group - again!

Published on: Tue, 16/09/2008 - 20:48

Eleven reserve CSA’s on the Goodge Street Group were sent letters last week warning them that they could be moved from their current group, which is over-establishment, to one that is under. Management have revealed their callous disregard for the lives of the staff they employ and another attempt to undermine job stability, following from their recent success at forcing staff to move from the Rickmansworth group.

They have dropped a complete bombshell on the reserves. The letter begins, ‘As you may or may not be aware, you were placed as a Customer Service Assistant on the Goodge St Group to cover a project’. They blatantly know there was no chance they ‘may be aware’ as nobody told them at all. This was the first time they’d heard of the ‘project!

Some of these CSA’s have been working there since January and have built up friendships and attachments to the group, never thinking they would go anywhere except by their own choice.

This has not come from local management, who, incidentally are unhappy with it. The group is only four over establishment, which local managers would rather resolve through natural wastage. This has come from higher up. The letter is from the Chair of the Stations Functional Council. It shows a bigger agenda. They want to create a job where staff do not expect stability. They want a workforce they can shuffle around to suite their needs. If we show ourselves too weak to defend our stability, it will be gone. Management will feel confident after Rickmansworth that they can get away with it anywhere. This will not be the only group affected, or the only grade affected, in the long-run.

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Cutting costs, cutting staff

Published on: Wed, 03/09/2008 - 11:22

Management let slip at one of their 'Northern line meetings' their latest plans to cut costs, which involves ... (no surprise)... cutting back on staff!

There will be an overall reduction in the number of reserve staff, people who are transfered or promoted will not be replaced. The result? More anti-social shifts for the reserves that are left, less flexibility in choosing rest days because less cover will be available, more last-minute changes of duties to cover for absence. These things will have a big impact on the quality of life of reserve staff.

Management may justify cuts by saying reserve staff were superfluous anyway. The union should stand up for more staff and their right to a quality of life.

And are the company not supposed to be recalculating (and increasing) the percentage of reserve staff needed by every group to take into account employees' new rights to time off for paternity leave, domestic emergencies, etc.? Reps should be asking for more reserve staff, not accepting less!

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