Tubeworker's blog

A year of unstaffed stations!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 30/03/2019 - 14:03

A recent Freedom of Information request lodged by the RMT revealed that Tube stations were left unstaffed for a cumulative total of 7,500 hours across the whole network in 2018, the equivalent of 312 days.

LU's now infamous claim that "all stations will be staffed, from first to last trains" lies in absolute tatters.

"Transformation" rolls on: strikes can stop it in its tracks

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 30/03/2019 - 13:56

As part of the latest phase of the TfL/LUL "Transformation" programme, management has announced sweeping job cuts in Track Access Control, Power Control, Service Control, LUCC, Skills Development, Waste, Pumps, Stations Building & Civils, and Signals Incidents.

Workers who play a vital role in maintaining the safe running of the Tube could see their jobs deleted and find themselves redeployed or forced out of the door.

Central Line drivers vote for strikes

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 30/03/2019 - 13:53

Forced to re-ballot due to the stipulations of the anti-union laws, RMT drivers on the Central Line have smashed the thresholds required by those laws and delivered another massive vote for strikes. West Ruislip depot led the way in percentage terms, with 96% of drivers voting for strikes on a 96% turnout!

The dispute is over what the union calls "a breakdown in industrial relations". In other words, that means an out-of-control management arbitrarily wielding petty discipline and managing drivers in an unnecessarily heavy-handed way.

Hey buddy

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 25/03/2019 - 21:29

London Underground has announced a new 'buddy system' if we're lone working on stations.

Every two hours, you're supposed to phone your mate at the next station to check they're alright.

But what use is a phone call two hours after you've been assaulted?

The buddy system has previously only been used on nights when there are no passengers - it can't keep us safe during the day.

On the east end of the District Line, RMT wants to ballot for industrial action about lone working. It is also tackling the root cause of lone working by fighting for more staff.

Bucking the trend?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 25/03/2019 - 21:28

Around International Women's Day, 8th March, LUL's intranet and company magazine, On the Move, featured women who are 'bucking the trend' by working in male-dominated roles - technical officer, service control manager, track maintenance.

But why are women still a minority in LUL when we are 51% of London's population?

Justice for Sophie!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 22/03/2019 - 18:46

Sophie Kyei-Donkoh, a CSA at Piccadilly Circus, was abused by an aggressive passenger, who makes serial vexatious complaints against staff. How did the company support her? With a 52-week disciplinary warning!

RMT members at Sophie’s station are rightly up in arms about this travesty. Prior to the decision, the union wrote to LU to tell them that there’d be a dispute should Sophie be disciplined.

The warning must be rescinded!

Ballot for Billing!

Submitted by Tubeworker 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.

London Overground workers to strike

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 21/03/2019 - 11:47

Travel Safe Officers employed by the STM Agency on the London Overground (Arriva Rail London) contract will strike on 2 April.

The workers, who do platform and on-train work for London Overground, face a pay freeze, despite already being low-paid.

RMT will demonstrate outside Arriva Rail London's headquarters, next to Swiss Cottage Tube station, at 10am on 2 April.

Interserve workers get organised

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 21/03/2019 - 11:45

Security guards and reception workers at LUL and TfL buildings are getting organised. Interserve, the outsourced contractor which employs them, is in financial chaos, and was recently bought out of administration by its own lenders.

This means these workers, who already face a raft of workplace issues, now face a deeply uncertain future.

Familiar Names in Hong Kong Train Collision

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 19/03/2019 - 15:51

MTR - which has the contract to run Crossrail - has come a-cropper in Hong Kong, as its trial of new signalling systems came off the rails.

Two subway tains collided between Central and Admiralty stations during an early morning test run on Monday before start of traffic. Both drivers were taken to hospital, with one suffering leg injuries.

It looks like the fault was in the software, which is supplied by another name familiar to Tube workers: Thales.

Workers Win Sky-High Pay Rise

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 18/03/2019 - 11:41

Workers on the cable car service across the Thames have won pay rises of between 14.35% and 22.35% - by getting unionised.

In this relatively new workforce, a few staff had joined RMT. But the campaign stepped up a gear in October last year with the election of a new RMT rep. The union negotiated a recognition agreement and started talking to the company about pay. As time went on and the benefits of unionisation became clearer, more joined, and so the pressure on management increased.

Disposing of our heritage

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 16/03/2019 - 14:51
St James Park station at 55 Broadway

55 Broadway is to be 'disposed of' according to an article on the TfL intranet. That is crass language for the privatisation of such an iconic LU building; funded by taxes or passenger fares.

This happening as a result of a political choice to end tube subsidies, made by the Tory party as they don't wish to tax their own wealthy class a fair amount. TfL argues it is having to make cuts, usually spun as savings, though it is doing so without much of a fight from senior management or from our Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan.

Sticky Stick Rip-off

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 08/03/2019 - 10:43

Apparently, LUL pays £1,300 a go for a Track Retrieval Device.

That might sound quite reasonable if it were actually a 'device' in the popular understanding of the word. But it is a stick with a sticky pad on the end. Hence its usual moniker among station staff - the 'sticky stick'.

Private companies which make stuff like this must think that LUL is run by a bunch of suckers who will put their hands deep into their corporate pockets for any simple gadget they can come up with.

Train prep ballot: Vote Yes!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 06/03/2019 - 13:10

Management's plan to cut the frequency of train preparation from every 24 hours to every 96 hours will be disastrous for jobs, for safety, and for reliability.

Driven solely by penny-pinching, the cut - if it goes ahead - will see trains going into passenger service which have not been check for up to three days. Given the mileage that a train will have covered during that time, and the range of hazards and stresses it faces over that time, the likelihood of a fault is significant. That's why we check them every day, and why it is vital that we keep checking them every day.

The pay claim and you

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 25/02/2019 - 11:00

A lot of us have come onto the job since the last pay claim in 2015. If you are Night Tube then you probably don’t remember the last time a pay increase was on the cards. All the unions on the tube have now gone to the bosses with what they want.

Fight for more jobs on trains!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 20/02/2019 - 20:59

The RMT trade union recently called for more train operators. The union's National Executive Committee made a decision on the matter that stated the issues caused by a lack of drivers are 'increasingly detrimental effect on members in terms of their ability to take leave, family friendly & flexible arrangements, medically necessary reasonable adjustments, training, secondments, career development and representation at management meetings including disciplinaries.'

Wot No Walthamstow Lift?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sun, 17/02/2019 - 21:20

Spare a thought for the passengers at Walthamstow Central station, who have had to manage without the lift from the ticket hall to the bus station for around three weeks now. They are left with no access other than by the pretty hefty staircase.

It seems that a part failed and that rather than holding a stock of spare parts, the contractor has to order a new one to be made, which is done in Italy and can take up to a month.

Tea break?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sun, 10/02/2019 - 20:26

A post by the senior stations boss on the Bakerloo Line on Yammer, LU's "social network" (/management megaphone) suggests that free communal tea and coffee supplies, which were a standard in the dim and distant past, may be returning to stations.

Good news. A little token of appreciation goes along way. But anyone inclined to tug their forelocks and effusively thank the bosses for their generosity should remember the following:

Bosses treat us like equipment - we say: fight for socialism!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 26/01/2019 - 14:31

It can sometimes be difficult to see beyond the small battles we fight all the time at work; these can lead to two attitudes.
One is to say, “Why are we banging on about socialism, we’re a trade union, what's that got to do with us?”. The opposite is, “what's the use? Even if we win this small battle and they'll just come back at us with something else.”

However, there is a very simple reason why these small battles are not only important, but expose the very nature of the system we live in.

POM Problems

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 26/01/2019 - 14:30

Station staff across the job are facing discipline, and even the sack, for minor ticket office discrepancies.

We’re rapidly losing faith in the technology we’re working with, and in LU’s ability to train us on it.

If you don’t feel confident, insist on further training.

Fit for Nothing

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 24/01/2019 - 13:07

It has come to Tubeworker's attention that on some station groups, management have come up with a novel idea for dealing with the problem of not having CSMs available to carry out Return to Work interviews. They want staff to sign a statement that they are fit for duty and then have them crack on with work while the RTWI takes place days or even weeks later.

Cleaners Halt Jobs Massacre

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 24/01/2019 - 13:03

Cleaners have scored a big win, with contractor ABM backing down from its proposal to cut the workforce by a third.
They would probably like us to believe that they have seen the error of their ways and revisited their sums, but we prefer to think that RMT's noisy preparations for battle pushed them back.
ABM still plans to employ 150 fewer cleaners than it promised in its contract bid, and it still denies those cleaners civilised conditions and pay rates, so let's used the momentum from this victory to push for more.

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