Tubeworker's blog

Wot No Passes?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 28/05/2019 - 17:25

Some ABM cleaners on the former JNP contract had their pictures taken, apparently in order to be issued with travel passes that would allow them to open gates while at work.

Some time has now passed, and there’s no sign of the passes.

The way to resolve the situation is simple: LU needs to issue all cleaners with the same travel passes directly-employed staff receive.

Fire Brigade warns London Bridge

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 28/05/2019 - 17:24

It has emerged that the London Fire Brigade issued London Bridge station with a notice on 10 April for breaching fire safety regulations.

Ultimately it is management’s job to oversee that our workplaces comply with these vital regulations. How many other corners are they cutting, and where?

Workers need to feel empowered to blow the whistle. If your local management is cutting corners with safety, let a union health and safety rep know immediately.

Wi-Fi tracked?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 28/05/2019 - 17:22

The press has recently reported TfL’s plan to track all wi-fi enabled devices through the Tube system, to measure passenger flows.

This technology could lead to important data gathering, which improves safety and staff deployment. But there’s also a risk it could be used nefariously, either for advertising purposes or even to track individuals’ movements.

If the technology is implemented, it needs to be within strict limits that ensures it can’t be used in a way that compromises privacy.

Victoria Line drivers head for action

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 28/05/2019 - 17:21

RMT drivers on the Victoria Line look as though they may soon join their Central Line comrades in balloting for industrial action.

The issues are similar, focusing on management throwing their weight around in the depot. RMT has been arranging meetings of the relevant reps, but it’s crucial that these are quickly translated into action.

As the fleet dispute shows, industrial action is often the only language LU understands.

Central Line fight needs strikes

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 28/05/2019 - 17:18

Central Line drivers in RMT recently returned a thumping majority for new strikes in a long-running dispute against bullying bosses. Click here for our report from the time.

So far, no action has been called. It's been over a month. Many drivers are starting to ask why. The dispute hasn’t been resolved, and the exceptional turnout and high majority for strikes in the ballot shows there is a mood to fight. So why hasn’t the union named dates?

Pay and conditions fight update

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 28/05/2019 - 17:15

LU has now made a revised offer on pay and conditions, offering RPI + 0.1% this year, and RPI + 0.2% next year. There has been no movement on any union demand: for a reduced working week, for a flat-rate minimum for lower-paid staff, and more.

This offer needs to be completely rejected, and a dispute declared.

No-one should be in any doubt that strikes will be required to win a decent deal. We need to build for that now, and preparing for the hard work of achieving the required threshold in the ballot.

ABM slashes jobs

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 16/05/2019 - 18:03

It appears that ABM is mounting a serious assault on jobs, with reports flooding in from across LU of positions being slashed.

Numerous stations with three or more cleaners on a shift are losing at least one position, with any agency cleaners first in the firing line. Many are being told they have to accept redeployment to a new station, often nowhere near their current one.

Fleet workers win train prep fight

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 15/05/2019 - 09:13


You can almost hear the grinding of gritted teeth...


Industrial action by LU Fleet workers, and the threat of a three-day strike from 17-20 May, has forced LU bosses into an embarrassing climb-down over their plans to extend train prep schedules. An Employee Bulletin announced the bosses' defeat on 14 May, with the company saying it had "decided not to change the frequencies" of train checks.

Piccadilly power wins justice for Sophie

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 13/05/2019 - 22:18

We reported a couple of months back on LU's scandalous decision to hand Sophie Kyei-Donkoh, a Piccadilly Circus CSA, a 52-week warning for the "crime" of being abused by a member of the public (who was, in fact, a serial vexatious complainer).

Sophie's colleagues, through their local reps and RMT branch, organised to take a stand, and committed to balloting for industrial action if the warning remained.

Fortunately, management saw sense and the warning was rescinded on appeal.

Wot no Night Cleaners?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 13/05/2019 - 21:47

Station staff in sefveral locations have been shocked to find out that the number of night cleaners on their station has been cut, without any notice or discussion.

And the cleaners involved have been told - often verbally, at just one day's notice - that there is no more work for them.

Strike to defend train safety!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 08/05/2019 - 17:18

Fleet workers have begun their industrial action to defeat extended train prep, by refusing to deliver or participate in training for work outside substantive roles. This action is vital to stop LU training up a scab workforce to cover train prep work while fleet staff are on strike.

Strikes have been called from 07:00 on 17 May to 07:00 on 20 May. It’s good the union has called three days of action, rather than a token one-day strike. This will hit the company hard.

Ticket Offices Saved!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 20/04/2019 - 14:28
Hackney Labour and RMT campaigners

Great news this week as Transport for London has backed down on plans to close London Overground ticket offices.

This follows an active campaign by RMT, and by local Labour Party branches in the areas affected. Reps and activists handed out thousands of leaflets, travelled round the various stations affected and made themselves seen and heard. They made the case that ticket offices are essential for people to safely access the network and for protecting jobs.

Calling you at home?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 18/04/2019 - 14:40

Tubeworker thinks that outside of a genuine emergency no one needs their manager contacting them outside of work. The survey being conducted by Aslef as to whether managers can call us to offer duties we didn't request has a very easy answer. NO!

Agency workers exploited on the Bakerloo?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 11/04/2019 - 13:57

Network Rail has provided agency workers to work as suicide-prevention security staff on stations at the north end of the Bakerloo Line for some time.

Previously, workers were hired via an agency called SES, and paid around £10 an hour. But a new agency, Servo, has recently taken over the contract, and appears to be paying workers less - around £8 an hour.

Massive Vote to Stop Train Prep Cuts

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 08/04/2019 - 09:43

Fleet maintainers have voted overwhelming for industrial action against LUL management's plan to cut the frequency of train preparation. A combination of strength of feeling about the issue and a solid organising effort by RMT activists saw nearly two-thirds of ballot papers returned, nearly ninety per cent of them voting Yes to strikes and even more than that for action short.

LU's pay offer is a joke: stand firm for our demands!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 05/04/2019 - 20:07

London Underground has offered our unions a one-year, 2.5% pay increase... as long as our unions agree to drop the entirety of our demands.

What is there to say about this offer other than... well, to avoid using inappropriate language, let's just say, "no thanks".

The unions' pay claims included varied demands, but all have demanded a 32-hour, four-day week. LU has simply ignored this, and many other demands around work/life balance and working conditions.

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.

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