Tubeworker's blog

LU pay: we need a positive, proactive campaign

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 21/01/2019 - 19:08

RMT has now submitted its pay claim to LU; the claim is online on the RMT London Calling website, and can be read here.

It’s good that the union is publicising the full contents of the claim to all members, so we know exactly what it is we’re fighting for. It’s also good that the demands for a minimum flat-rate pay increase, which will be worth more to lower-paid grades, and the demand for a 32-hour week are prominently included.

Prepare for battle to defeat cuts to train prep

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 21/01/2019 - 18:57

RMT has declared an official dispute with the company as LU presses ahead with its plans to extend train prep.

Trains currently have basic safety checks performer on a 24-hourly basis by trained fleet workers, ensuring they’re safe to run. LU is now proposing to extend that massively, up to 96 hours on some lines and on others, essentially doing away with many regular checks entirely and introducing a system where trains are only checked every few months.

Tabard trouble

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 21/01/2019 - 18:47

10 February, we learn, will be the “go live” date for the imposition of LU’s ridiculous red tabards.

If you’ve missed the news about these nonsensical items, see our previous report on the issue. They’re uncomfortable, impractical, and fundamentally a hypocritical and inadequate response to a public backlash against LU’s own decision to cut jobs on stations.

Defend Zahra Tirmazi!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 21/01/2019 - 18:37

Zahra Tirmazi, a station worker at Walthamstow Central, was violently assaulted (including being put in a headlock), and racially abused, by a fare-evading passenger. In typically supportive fashion, LU is disciplining her for her role in an incident in which she is obviously the victim.

So much for all those posters on our stations about how LU won’t tolerate abuse of its staff. Turns out, not only will they tolerate it, they’ll blame us for it, throw the book at us, and threaten us with the sack.

No Toilet in "Tombstone"?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 21/01/2019 - 18:32

Station staff on the Wealdstone side at Harrow and Wealdstone, separated from the Harrow side by a long footbridge, still have no access to a toilet or running water. LU insists that the local council, not them, are responsible for the plumbing so fixing it is out of their hands.

In The Air Tonight

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 15/01/2019 - 11:40

Scientific reports confirming the shockingly bad quality of air on London Underground are becoming an annual tradition.

The latest report, from the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants, reported last week that the air on the platforms at Hampstead was around 31 times more polluted than the average in London, taken from a roadside monitoring point.

Cleaners Frozen Out Again

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 12/01/2019 - 11:36

The Mayor's much-vaunted 'fares freeze' only applies to some fares, so passengers using Travelcards have once again been hit with a new year increase (or 'change', as TfL's website euphemistically calls it) of an average 3.1%.

That's bad news for our passengers, but it is also bad news for some of our workmates. Cleaners are not only paid less than LUL staff but also do not get a staff pass. So they have started the new year with more money going out and the same amount coming in.

More Stations Fight Short-Staffing

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 10/01/2019 - 10:23

Station staff on the Northern and District lines are set to follow in the footsteps of Bakerloo South and ballot for strikes for better staff coverage.

In the stations around Earl's Court and Hendon Central, duties are regularly left uncovered and staff left to run stations alone. Lone working is dangerous and stressful, and staff have had enough. On both these groups, union members are asking RMT to call industrial action to force management to fill vacancies and cover duties.

Gains made in short-staffing fight

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 09/01/2019 - 22:38

Under pressure from an RMT dispute and the threat of strikes, management on Bakerloo South stations have committed to a more proactive approach in ensuring duties are covered, and have given firm guarantees that vacancies on the group will be filled.

The vacancies, and management's previous policy of only attempting to arrange cover if so-called "critical" duties were uncovered, meant that stations were chronically short staffed and workers were bearing the brunt.

A resounding vote for strikes and the announcement of two strikes soon brought management to its senses.

Labour rank-and-file challenge Tory cuts and Sadiq Khan's failures

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sun, 06/01/2019 - 21:00

London Labour Party members are set to debate a resolution condemning both the Tory government's cut to TfL funding and Sadiq Khan's decision to implement rather than fight the cuts. The resolution, which has already been passed by one branch, is copied here.

TRANSPORT FOR LONDON

This conference condemns the savage cuts in funding to Transport for London by the Conservative government, which expects London Underground to be the only major metro system in the world to run without public subsidy.

Prepare for action in train prep fight

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 28/12/2018 - 09:47

RMT has now declared an official dispute with LU over its plans to cut train prep frequency from 24 hours.

The plan, which could see trains run for up to three days without having basic checks performed, threatens staff safety, passenger safety, and jobs, and must be resisted.

If LU doesn’t back down from the planned cut, we must fight back industrially, and across all grades.

Wot No Winter Gear?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 28/12/2018 - 09:44

Despite promising cleaners warm winter fleeces, ABM has failed to deliver in many places.

This means cleaners are working in the cold without proper uniform.

LU’s own uniform delivery services is also in a rather chaotic condition, meaning directly-employed and outsourced staff may be united by cold this winter.

If the situation continues, Tubeworker feels some impromptu sit-ins in mess rooms coming on...

Wins for station staff at Baker Street and Bakerloo Line South

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 20/12/2018 - 18:00

Station staff at Baker Street and the Bakerloo Line South Cover Group are finishing 2018 on a high after the threat of strikes forced concessions from management.

At Baker Street, an unjustly sacked probationer was reinstated, and trumped up disciplinary charges against two staff, including the local RMT rep, were dropped after workers returned a big majority for industrial action.

Barking drivers plan strikes

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 20/12/2018 - 17:58

Aslef drivers at Barking depot on the Hammersmith and City Line will strike on 10 and 23 January, as yet another group of drivers encounters problems with depot management throwing their weight around and ignoring agreements.

Surely it’s time for a combine-wide drivers’ fight back against bullying bosses?

Tube drivers earning £100k?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 20/12/2018 - 09:38

"London Tube drivers earning £100,000 a year" screamed The Times headline, suggesting that London Underground train drivers now earn a six figure sum. However, in reality full time Train Operators earn £55,000.

The Times and other Tory propoganda rags claimed that drivers are on £100k, yet the reality is that just nine specialist drivers, who operate various stocks on lines across the network earn that amount which includes benefits and pension cintributiins, whilst the majority of drivers, 4000 of us, earn an annual salary which is nearly half that amount.

Transformation Teething Trouble?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 18/12/2018 - 09:43

Since stations admin was reorganised under 'Transformation', various things have been going pear-shaped.
Staff have not been getting answers about leave, pay and other issues. And much though Tubeworker is not a fan of overtime, we do think that if you do it, it is only right that you get paid for it!
This is not the fault of the admin staff. They did not asked to be 'Transformed'. It is the fault of a change driven by penny-pinching and cutting staff.

Ticketing Troubles

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 18/12/2018 - 09:38

Arnos Grove station staff are shocked and angry that management have suspended a workmate for a minor ticket office discrepancy. The staff member concerned has more than fifteen years on the job and six years doing ticket office duties without any problems, and yet the company has thrown the book at him over a shortfall that may not even be his fault.

Bakerloo station staff to strike

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 13/12/2018 - 18:01

Station staff on the Bakerloo Line South Cover Group (Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus, Charing Cross, Lambeth North, and Elephant and Castle) will strike on 26 December and 14 January, fighting back against short staffing.

The issues in the dispute are clear. Anyone who works at an even moderately busy station knows that staffing levels are already too low, and LU’s current culture of cost cutting means that when people are off sick or there are unfilled vacancies, those duties often go uncovered as the company doesn’t want to cough up for the overtime.

Union declares victory in “battle of Baker Street”

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sun, 09/12/2018 - 22:33

RMT has declared victory in “the battle of Baker Street”, after London Underground reinstated an unjustly sacked CSA, and trumped-up disciplinary charges against a CSS were dropped.

LU were forced to back down after 41 out of 61 workers balloted at the station voted for strikes (on a turnout of 45). This showed a clear strength of feeling at the station and made certain that any strikes would have a serious impact.

Local reps and activists say this is the first battle in an ongoing fight against a culture of management bullying.

74% all round?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 05/12/2018 - 01:18

It’s been revealed that senior stations boss Brian Woodhead received a 74% salary bump this year, taking his pay to nearly £300k.

While we don’t doubt for a second that Brian is worth every penny of that (after all... if he didn’t come to work, stations wouldn’t open and trains wouldn’t run... right?), but surely lower paid frontline staff deserve the same? 74% increase all round, anyone?

Despite their claims of poverty, there’s clearly still money for some things at LU.

4LM Delayed

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 05/12/2018 - 01:00

The "Four Lines Modernisation" (4LM) upgrade on the District, Met, Circle, and H and C missed the 17/18 November "go live" date for the first phase of automatic train operation.

There have been numerous problems with Thales' new signalling system, including more than one train entering a signalling section at once during a simulated test. It has now been put back to next year. By 2018, Bombardier was supposed to complete the entire upgrade - before it pulled out of its contract, costing TfL £85 million. Thales doesn't seem to be seem to be delivering on its promises either.

Out in the cold

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 05/12/2018 - 00:58

In the cold weather, we need to use the GLAP (variously, Gate Line Attendance Post, Attendant's Post, or Assistance Point!) to keep warm.

But try that in a new style GLAP and you'll find the heater lets out less heat than a lightbulb. LUL designed it like this to deter us from sitting down. What a heartless employer we work for!

The GLAP is not just a place of safety, it's meant for our comfort too. We would love to see the managers who made this decision work extreme shifts all winter in windy, unheated offices.

Here to help?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 05/12/2018 - 00:55

From the new year, LUL wants station staff to wear red tabards with the slogan "here to help".

The idea came out of a London Travelwatch review of the impact of staff cuts and ticket office closures, which found that staff were not visible enough.

More staff, not an add-on to our uniform, is the answer! Why should we dress like clowns to cover up for staff shortages? LUL has ignored unions' objections.

Progress on cab security

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 21/11/2018 - 14:32

There seems to have been progress in the ongoing battle for cab security, with LU proposing a new prototype with a J Door key opening system.

Trains safety reps from both Aslef and RMT seem pleased with the prototype, with meetings now planned involving reps and the engineers working on the system to explain it to drivers.

The progress has been marred somewhat by intra-union conflict, with Aslef using the opportunity to take swipes at the RMT.

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