Tubeworker's blog

Night Tube brings in an extra £1.5bn

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 20/08/2018 - 15:40

Night Tube is now apparently going to bring an extra £1.5bn to London's night time economy. That wealth will come from the labour and skills of numerous workers, but will mainly end up in the pockets of the wealthy few.

As members of fighting unions (if we push for a fight), we can do our bit to ensure some of that wealth is redistributed; by demanding more Night Tube workers and better pay for them.

It might take strikes, and if it does the Tory press will bemoan how much we are “costing the economy”, but that will highlight our value and importance in the jobs we do.

Making it different to “Make A Difference”

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 20/08/2018 - 15:34

Tube bosses have decided to make a different award to the “Make a Difference” award, called the “You Matter” award, which will still be awarded for the subject matter of making a difference, but presumably a different deference to that awarded for making a difference currently.

The only award worth much in a capatalist society is payment for a day's work, especially if you work on a station group where the Area Manager is refusing to give out awards to save money.

Vote yes for strikes on cab security

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 17/08/2018 - 17:27

Five members of the public got into a female driver's cab on a Northern Line train at Kings Cross. London Underground played down the threat and questioned her version of events!

This is just the latest of many incidents. Drivers feel vulnerable. The cab can be accessed from the train too easily with a J door key or the emergency handle. Drivers are demanding a secure magnetic lock but London Underground refuses to pay for it.

Domestic leave is a right

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 17/08/2018 - 17:25

Tubeworker hears that LU managers are monitoring staff under the Attendance at Work procedure for taking unpaid domestic leave.

Managers are asking us to account for our time off in Return to Work Interviews – in some cases using domestic leave to build up case histories of ‘bad attendance’.

Parental leave and time off to care for dependents in emergencies is a legal right. It cannot be used as grounds for any ‘less favourable’ treatment – including action under the Attendance at Work procedure.

Wot No Funding? Wot No Fightback?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 16/08/2018 - 14:28

Attacks on our jobs and conditions are coming thick and fast. Cleaners still working for appalling pay, a cull of admin staff, stations struggling with skeleton staffing levels, unfair sackings, anti-social hours ... and you can be sure that whatever pay rise our employers are planning, it will not be generous. The big impetus behind this is the Tory government's policy of cutting TfL's funding until London Underground runs without any operating subsidy at all.

Commercial Hell

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 13/08/2018 - 17:55

Just when you thought that the noise of a busy Tube station could not get any worse, management have come up with a way to do it. Yes - they are planning to allow audio adverts to be broadcast over station PAs. It'll be like working in the midst of commercial radio hell, only without the occasional breaks for music and news.

Wot No Coverage?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 08/08/2018 - 21:08

Uncovered duties on stations are now a daily reality across much of the combine. Local managers are saying they can't cover duties on overtime because the budgets are maxed out and money is too tight. Tubeworker says: if you've maxed out your overtime budget to such an extent that you literally can't afford to cover duties, maybe you didn't have enough staff in the first place?

Potential ballot over cab security

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 02/08/2018 - 11:20

After a Northern Line driver was attacked by a passenger who managed to break into her cab, Aslef has said it will be looking to ballot its members for strikes to demand better cab security.

This issue has been brewing for a long time, with industrial and safety reps from both unions pressing management. If it takes industrial action to get some concrete action from them, so be it.

We hope both unions ballot their driver memberships and take coordinated action when the time comes.

Met drivers balloted to oppose canteen closure

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 02/08/2018 - 11:08

Drivers on the Metropolitan Line are due to be balloted for strikes to protest the removal of the staff canteen at Harrow depot.

The canteen is being demolished to allow a lift shaft to be installed. It’s absolutely right for LU to invest in making stations more accessible; it also needs to ensure facilities for staff. These things shouldn’t be in competition. We want step-free stations and staff canteens.

The timetable for the ballot has yet to be announced; when it is, vote yes for strikes!

End the victimisation of cleaners!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 28/07/2018 - 20:33

Gbenga Fasoro, a prominent RMT activist working as a cleaner at Northfields depot, was sacked recently after he fell foul of some bullying bosses. Gbenga worked on the ABM contract via the Premier Work Services agency.

Meanwhile, another RMT cleaner, Ayodele Oyedeji, has been suspended from work for weeks on trumped-up charges.

We can't tolerate a culture of petty discipline and authoritarian management. RMT has rightly declared disputes in response to these attacks and should move swiftly to ballot for action if Gbenga and Ayodele aren't back at work soon.

Hands off detrainment staff: vote yes for strikes!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 28/07/2018 - 20:28

RMT drivers at Leytonstone depot are balloting for strikes to oppose the removal of Waterloo and City Line detrainment staff (Waterloo and City Line drivers come from Central Line depots).

Union action has seen off threats to detrainment staff before: we can do it again. The ballot closes on 14 August, vote yes for strikes!

Stations admin “transformation” brings chaos

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 24/07/2018 - 13:13

It’s day one of the newly “transformed” stations admin, and the chaos we all predicted is unfolding nicely.

Workers report being bounced around from place to place, with no clarity on whether things like mutual changeover of duties need to be submitted in hard copy or electronically.

The admins themselves are under immense strain, with some who didn’t make the grade for the new positions being asked by an obviously desperate management to stay on and help them wade through the mess!

Reinstate Picc strikes if bosses don't honour agreements

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 21/07/2018 - 15:56

Drivers’ strikes planned on the Picc for 12-15 July were suspended after bosses offered RMT a settlement.

Among other things, the deal commits management to maintaining existing staffing levels at Picc depots.

The big majority in the ballot for strikes shows the strength of feeling on the line. The strike was only suspended: the dispute remains live. If there’s even the merest sniff of management reneging on their commitments, new strikes should be called.

For workers' unity against the far right

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 21/07/2018 - 14:52

Demonstrations on 9 June and 14 July saw the far right out in force, in their greatest numbers since the 1930s. The demonstrations have been organised in support of Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, aka "Tommy Robinson", recently jailed for contempt of court. After the demonstration on 14 July, a group of far-right thugs attacked people in a Westminster pub, including a number of Tube workers and RMT members.

These events should be a wake-up call. A growing far right is a threat to the labour movement.

More Transplant strikes due on 3 August: the story of the fight so far

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 21/07/2018 - 14:47

Transplant is a department within London Underground, formerly part of TubeLines. Some may know Transplant as the “Ballast Trains”, or maybe the “Engineers Train Unit” (ETU). Due to the nature of work, predominantly carried out under the cover of darkness, some would believe that its just a small setup. The reality is very different.

Calling it a night

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 21/07/2018 - 01:15

CSAs working shifts till 0020 are left asking what they are still doing on Friday or Saturday when night tube staff have already booked on.

We don't want to see staff cut but once all the night turns have started in a lot of cases by 2300 why do other staff still need to hang around? CSS/CSMs can definitely make themselves popular by letting these staff get away. If night tube is a distinct service with its own contracts then other staff shouldn't have to work their shifts.

8 Days A Week?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 19/07/2018 - 18:29

Local management on a couple of station areas have been pushing their luck when it comes to cover weeks.

The Stations Framework makes clear that the maximum days we can work in a row is eight; this clause is accompanied by a note which says we may work eight days "in order to facilitate the provision of a long weekend and to minimise split rest days". There doesn't seem to be much room for interpretation here: it means, if you work eight days, you get a long weekend off. Simple. That's how it's always been.

Night Tube Health Nightmare

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 19/07/2018 - 16:24

Night work can cause health problems, so the law demands that employers assess the health of night workers. Not too onerous a task really - they only have to issue a questionnaire and act on any responses that show concern.

But apparently, even this is too much for LUL when it comes to its Night Tube staff. The company only got round to issuing the questionnaire this year, despite Night Tube having been running for nearly two years. And it seems that many staff have not even received it.

Goldfish Bowl saga continues

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 03/07/2018 - 19:16

Drivers' union reps on the Bakerloo Line have been raising the issue of the shocking condition of the "Goldfish Bowl", the step-back room on the platform at Elephant and Castle, since around the time London Underground was still using steam-powered trains.

A sorry-looking sign stuck to the booking-on point at Queen's Park, the depot at the other end of the line, says refurbishment works are expected to be completed in a few weeks. The notice is date 8 May.

Safety first: close the station!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 03/07/2018 - 19:05

Staff and punters at Oxford Circus were horrified yesterday (2 July) when a pipe burst and what appeared to be raw sewage and effluence began gushing from the ceiling by the Argyll Gateline. This followed a similar incident earlier in the day by Exit 4.

An ABM cleaner was drafted in to clear up the mess, some absorbent bags put down, and the area cordoned off... but the station remained open.

Tubeworker asks: what would it take for some managers to close a station? Surely it's not safe to keep a station in operation with raw sewage gushing from the ceiling?!

All out at Ruislip!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 02/07/2018 - 13:51

Train maintenance workers at the Ruislip depot will strike over the following times:

07:00 on Thursday 12 July to 07:00 on Friday 13 July
19:00 on Friday 13 July to 07:00 on Saturday 14 July
07:00 on Sunday 15 July to 19:00 on Sunday 15 July

Spreading the strike across several shifts should see maximum impact. This means that the Central Line service could be severely impacted at the same time as the Picc Line drivers’ strike knocks out service on the Picc.

It’s time to give LUL bosses a reminder of who really makes the job run!

Strikes due at Transplant

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 26/06/2018 - 10:55

RMT members at the ex-AP JNP Transplant depot have voted for strikes in two separate disputes, over pay parity and train preparation.

Action to level up pay between different grades of workers is vital, and strikes over train prep could be a prelude to combine-wide disputes over the same issue, as LU still plans to cut prep frequency from 24 to 96 hours.

Stay tuned for the announcement of strike days.

All out on the Picc!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 26/06/2018 - 10:50

RMT has named dates for a forthcoming drivers' strike on the Piccadilly Line.

The strike begins at 21:00 on Wednesday 11 July, and finishes at 01:00 on Saturday 14 July.

This will see four days of impact on the service, with two full strike days, and will also involve Night Tube drivers as it covers their Friday night-Saturday morning turns. The strike also coincides with the visit to the UK of the far-right US President Donald Trump. We don't imagine Trump was planning on using the Picc too much, but if the strike disrupts his visit in any way then that's an added bonus!

Shorter Hours, Better Life

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 21/06/2018 - 11:09

It’s a tough job, physically and mentally. Workload, anti-social and irregular hours, stress and trauma … all of this and more leaves many of us feeling exhausted even when we are not at work. We need more quality time away from the job.
There is plenty of research showing that shift work causes health problems, including increased risk of heart disease and certain cancers. It also affects our relationships and our mental well-being.
Full-time London Underground Ltd employees are now on a 35-hour week. We want this reduced to a 32-hour, four-day week!

Picc Line strike ballot closes today

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 21/06/2018 - 10:24

RMT drivers on the Piccadilly Line are currently balloting for industrial action, with the vote due to close today (Thursday 21 June).

The dispute has been prompted by what the union calls a complete "breakdown in industrial relations", with management adopting an increasingly disciplinarian and authoritarian approach, including obstructing union reps from carrying out basic trade union duties. Piccadilly Line management has also failed to honour agreements made in previous disputes.

Jubilee Line dispute shows that solidarity wins

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sun, 17/06/2018 - 19:46

The planned strike on the Jubilee Line on 14 June was called off; Tubeworker understands that things went right to the wire, with the strike being suspended on Wednesday night at 7pm, less than five hours before the industrial action was due to begin. Staff at the conciliation service Acas had even told the assembled union reps and LU managers that the lights were about to be switched off as the room hire had come to an end!

Familiar story for cleaners

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 07/06/2018 - 19:37

In a development that surprised absolutely no-one, many ABM cleaners have found themselves one day short in the latest pay packet.

Short payment was an all-too-regular feature of life under ISS and Interserve and, once again, it seems to be a case of "meet the new boss, same as the old boss" with ABM.

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