Diary of a Tube worker: Unanswered questions

Submitted by AWL on 28 April, 2020 - 12:17 Author: Jay Dawkey
Tube workers

On Wednesday [22nd] after London mayor Sadiq Khan is quoted saying that TfL [Transport for London] has run out of money and then we are notified that TfL will start furloughing some staff, people have unanswered questions.

“We are getting our pay rise now and that won’t help”.
“The pay rise is factored in, they’ve known about it since the deal was agreed. He [Khan] is saying this to put pressure on government for more money”
“He should have been asking for this money a long time ago”, I say.
“He allowed the government to cut the grant, put up no fight. It’s ironic he’s found his voice now.“
“What about if some of us get furloughed? Will we come back here? I don’t want to be moved to somewhere miles away”.

Later on we get confirmation that people will be protected for their full pay, and no one will be moved. The conversation moves on to the beggars and rough sleepers on the network.

“It takes skills to finesse people, he’s more than just a thief (one of the regular beggars at the station). He knows what he is doing, picks his targets and then he confuses them and is off with the money.”
“They aren’t happy though, corona and no oyster deposit refund anymore, no one is using cash.”
“I just don’t like it when people lie to them. Bruv, you are collecting your change from the machine now, don’t tell man you’ve got no change. Just tell him to do one”.
“The nittys are struggling now y’know. I hear some have been refused places to stay”.
“A lot of the places are overcrowded and why would you want to be locked up with a load of other people like that? They are safer on the streets. I don’t blame them”.

The radio goes off, “Tango five four, can you come to the control room, please?” I hope it’s time to go. “Yeah, tbh I didn’t realise you were here, you could have gone 30 minutes ago. Sorry about that”.

I’ll be home for dinner tonight at least.

Another day had started badly.

“Why have you come in now?”
“It’s my book-on time”.
“If I’d known, you could have come about 1900, if you are the late turn”.
“What do you mean if you knew? You do know. It is on a piece of paper in front of you. So you could have told me.”
“Well, I couldn’t have rung you. I don’t have your number.”
“Why didn’t something get sent out on email asking us to ring two hours before a shift to check?”
“Yeah, well, just call me tomorrow. Now you know.”

First shift of the week has got off to a frustrating start. I am two hours earlier than needed. I go up to the depot mess room and read. No point going back home, and it’s not like I can go anywhere else...

I don’t speak to a single customer for the whole week. I won’t have given anyone wrong directions this week.

Other entries in the “My Life At Work” series, and other workers' diaries

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