Tubeworker's blog

A tale of two ASLEFs?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 20/02/2020 - 10:09

We were amused to see another edition of the Tube Driver bulletin appear online recently (see bottom of this article), apparently an attempt by some members of the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (Aslef) to replicate Tubeworker, but with an explicitly sectionalist, driver-only slant. It makes its lack of interest in solidarity with other grades very clear.

Bosses' devices

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 18/02/2020 - 23:48

Cleaning contractor ABM is issuing cleaners with new mobile devices, loaded with an app called "OnTime", which will be used for booking in and out of shifts, logging breaks, and booking holiday.

Aslef launches ballot

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 11/02/2020 - 15:23

Aslef has announced a ballot of its members on London Underground, over pay and conditions. The ballot opens on 28 February, and closes on 9 March. Aslef is a minority union across LU as a whole, but a majority amongst drivers. One of its key demands in pay negotiations thus far has been for a driver-specific salary increase, to bring LU drivers’ pay in line with that of mainline train drivers. Along with all other unions organising in LU, Aslef has also demanded a reduction in the working week.

Keep it a mess(room)

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 07/02/2020 - 14:34

Reports reached Tubeworker that night tube CSAs going for their meal break at Stockwell on Friday night found contractors setup in the mess room working at a desk going through their paperwork. We understand that people shared a cup of tea and had a good chat but why if they needed somewhere to work were they put up in the messroom?

An already windowless cell is barely fit for its actual purpose, but you can't take a nap or watch cat videos or get some downtime from the job while people are working. Management should keep our space free for us to use.

Bakerloo drivers: all out!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 07/02/2020 - 13:53

RMT has named strikes in the timetable dispute on the Bakerloo Line. Drivers will strike from 11.59 on Friday 21 to 11.59 on Saturday 22, then from 11.59 on Sunday 23 to 11.59 on Monday 24. The intention is for this rolling strike to maximise the impact of the action across four days, while only requiring drivers to lose two days' money.

Sodexo plans cuts

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 05/02/2020 - 14:11

Sodexo, the outsourcing giant which has a contract with LU to provide catering services in staff canteens, is planning a restructure which could see 18 jobs slashed. The proposed reductions would see the staff canteen at Stonebridge Park fleet depot reduced to a single member of staff!

Drill music?

Submitted by Tubeworker 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.

Equal treatment for probationers

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 31/01/2020 - 14:32

Every so often, we hear some utter horror stories about probationers on stations having their probation extended, or even terminated, for utterly minor “infractions”, that would hardly elicit a raised eyebrow, let alone a disciplinary sanction, were they to be done by established staff. Some of these cases, which we may bring you further details of as campaigns develop, involve what can only be described as utterly jaw-dropping levels of callousness on the part of some local managers.

No displacements on stations!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 31/01/2020 - 14:31

There’s a roster redesign underway at Bank... four new full-time CSA positions are being created.

Great! Or so you’d think... turns out local management plan to pay for this by deleting six positions from the part-time CSA establishment, three of which are vacant. As for the other three, the staff have been told they’ll be displaced! This is another case of robbing Peter to pay Paul. Part-time staff shouldn’t be forced to move against their will. If their positions do end up being reorganised, they should stay on at their location over establishment.

Support the TfL workers' strikes!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 31/01/2020 - 14:26

Members of Unite working for Transport for London in revenue, enforcement, and Dial-a-Ride struck today, the first of four planned strikes on the last Friday of each month, until April. TfL has offered them a 1% pay rise, well below inflation. The workers held a lively picket outside Palestra, where many of TfL’s central administration is now based, where they were supported by RMT London Underground reps.

Only industrial action can force major concessions on LU pay/conditions

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 21/01/2020 - 16:01

Our current deal on pay and conditions on London Underground expired in April 2019, so we’re the better part of year overdue. All four unions submitted claims based on a range of demands, including a reduction in the working week to 32 hours. Negotiations began formally in February 2019, and have continued for nearly a year.

Ravenscourt roof

Submitted by Tubeworker 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.

Overground Ticket Offices Hours to be Cut

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 20/01/2020 - 12:40

A strong campaign by RMT and local Labour Parties made London Overground drop its plans to close nearly all of its ticket offices. But the company now plans to go ahead with cutting their opening hours, despite objections.

But it's not a done deal yet, so our campaign goes on. Stations left with a ticket office for just two-and-a-half hours a day can not provide the serivde that passengers need and are doubless a step on the road to full closure. And of course, it's not just services that are threatened - it is jobs.

A reply to some critics

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 17/01/2020 - 17:53

This image has been brought to our attention; it originates with some Aslef reps.

To clarify, Tubeworker is NOT an RMT publication. We are fiercely pro-union, but we are an independent rank-and-file bulletin, published by a socialist group, and not affiliated with any individual union on the job.

Green Park Under Water

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 15/01/2020 - 11:43
Water at Green Park station this morning

Green Park station staff have found themselves wading to work this morning after rainy weather and dodgy plumbing combined to leave the mess room and other areas flooded.

There is only one usable toilet, so staff are going in and out of hte ticket office every time they need to spend a penny.

This comes after several days of faulty plumbing causing unpleasant smells and the sink to become unusable.


Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 14/01/2020 - 23:02

LU likes to pay lip service to its commitment to equalities, but right across the job, local managers are only to keen to pick on disabled workers who they dehumanisingly view as obstacles and drains on resources.

In a variety of locations, especially on stations, we’re hearing reports of disabled workers, who are perfectly able to do their jobs with reasonable adjustments in place, being told the company can no longer “accommodate” or “sustain” them.

Management makes concessions in Bakerloo timetable fight

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 14/01/2020 - 23:00

Following Bakerloo drivers’ overwhelming vote for industrial action to win a workable timetable, LU has committed to a “no compulsory overtime” agreement on the line, as well as agreeing to review SPADs and safety incidents that have taken place under the current, and almost universally despised, “Working Timetable 44”.

Managers are meeting with reps to discuss the implementation of a new timetable, which has been brought forward to March.

Boxing Day? Equal pay!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 14/01/2020 - 22:58

Trains reps are discussing improved Boxing Day and NYE working arrangements for drivers with LU bosses.

Tubeworker supports any group of workers negotiating towards, and taking action to win, improvements to their conditions; we also believe all workers across LU should be entitled to the same benefits. It’s not fair that drivers get improved payments for working Boxing Day or NYE, when that’s just a normal working day for station staff and many other workers (including cleaners and other outsourced workers!).

Justice for Station Staff!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 14/01/2020 - 22:50

RMT is now planning a new “Justice for Station Staff” campaign, bringing together a small, focused number of key issues affecting station workers into a single fight back. These issues include ending lone working; reversing or resisting two-tier workforce models (within the CSA grade, and the new proposal to create a new grade in the revenue department); demanding parity with drivers for Boxing Day payments; and auditing staffing levels and places of safety across the job to mitigate the risk of workplace violence.

Great Northern Stops Early - Or Does It?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sun, 12/01/2020 - 21:13

Spare a thought for staff on Great Northern - and on Tube stations such as Moorgate or Finsbury Park which interchange with it.

Great Northern is supposed to be closing mid-evening at weekends to allow for engineering works. But on a seemingly random basis, management cancel this and run the service anyway. Cue confusion and irritated passengers - and the people responsible nowhere to be seen, while we get the grief.

Bah Humbug!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 01/01/2020 - 14:36

Robbers helped themselves to some Christmas cash in two break-ins on 25 December. At Waterloo and Seven Sisters, staff booked on for Boxing Day to find that the ticket offices were not as secure as we would like to think.

As the culprits are chased down, beware of management trying to apportion some blame to station staff for not emptying the machines on Christmas Eve. They should remember that if you want the job done properly, then you have to employ and train enough staff to do it.

Hammersmith Hammers Staff

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sun, 22/12/2019 - 11:38

It was a long time coming, so you would think that management could have made the Hammersmith Servic Control Centre a decent place to work. If so, you'd be disappointed.

First up, there is the inadequate access to the building, with no parking spaces and staff assaulted while walking to work. staff facilities are well short of what we need.

Then, once inside, the control room does not have a full-size kitchen or mess facilites, and doesn't even have enough toilets. Seating, lighting and lockers are all inadequate.

Action ahead on the Central Line?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 10/12/2019 - 16:04

It's becoming an all-too familiar pattern on trains. Managers in depots get out of control, presiding over a culture of petty and arbitrary discipline, interpreting procedures and policies punitively and acting like tinpot authoritarians. RMT drivers ballot for industrial action to stop this culture, strikes are declared, negotiations take place at Acas, trains managers promise to wind their necks in, and strikes are suspended.

A few months later... the old problems have returned and we're back to square one.

Staffing reviews delayed... time to step up the fight

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 10/12/2019 - 15:52

Almost exactly a year ago, station staff on the Bakerloo South group had just voted for industrial action to address issues around uncovered duties and short staffing.

Strikes were called in December and January, and later suspended after LU committed to filling all vacancies; covering all duties; and conducting a staffing review across the group to identify possible needs for additional jobs.

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