Tubeworker's blog

Resist ticket office closure on London Overground!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 21/09/2018 - 16:46

London Overground, operated by Arriva Rail London on a contract from TfL, is planning a mass programme of ticket office closures that closely resembles the "Fit for the Future" scheme we went to war against on London Underground in 2014.

RMT has launched a campaign against the closures, with a day of action planned on 3 October. Read more about it here.

Stand firm to knock back "flash and dash"

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 21/09/2018 - 16:41

The stage is set for a solid dispute to defend detrainment staff on the Waterloo & City Line.

With RMT’s action mandate now live, Aslef naming a strike on the Central Line (Waterloo & City drivers are supplied by Leytonstone depot) on 5 October, and RMT planning to ballot station staff at Waterloo as part of the same dispute, the pressure is mounting on management to back off from their plans to force drivers to take their trains into sidings without them having been physically checked.

BTP spies on station staff

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 21/09/2018 - 16:40

There’s been outcry across the job since it emerged yesterday that plain-clothes British Transport Police officers had been conducting a covert spying operation on station staff at Piccadilly Circus.

The operation consisted of the officers posing as fare dodgers and committing acts of antisocial behaviour in order, apparently to “gauge staff reaction”.

Although the local Area Manager claims not to have known about the operation in advance, he was briefed by the BTP afterwards. He did not notify staff however, and only admitted his involvement when challenged by union reps.

Brexit threatens migrants' rights

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 21/09/2018 - 16:29

As the Tory government's shambolic Brexit negotiations continue, there's ongoing uncertainty for migrant workers, both EU and non-EU, about how Britain's immigration laws might be reformed.

We already know that cleaning contractors use immigration controls to undermine workers' organisation; they have targeted union reps in ISS and shopped them to border police in the past.

Sack the agencies, direct employment now!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 21/09/2018 - 16:19

It's time to kick agencies like AGS People and Premier Work Services off the job, and ensure direct employment for all cleaners.

As we've previously reported, ABM are carrying out their commitment to reduce the amount of agency labour on their contract in the least fair and transparent way imaginable. Rather than transferring agency cleaners onto direct contracts on the basis of how long they've been on the job, lists are going round that seem to be based on who managers and supervisors want to give the jobs to.

The Central issues

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 21/09/2018 - 10:42

UPDATE: Since the below article was written, Aslef have named strikes on 5 October and 7 November. RMT's ballot is due to commence shortly.


Central Line drivers are fighting an out-of-control management, in a dispute that closely mirrors the issues on the Piccadilly Line.

Aslef drivers vote for strikes on cab security

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 21/09/2018 - 10:38

Aslef drivers have returned a big majority for strikes in their vote for action on cab security. 89% of drivers voted for strikes, on a 56% turnout.

There's clearly a significant strength of feeling around this issue, which has been brewing for some time.

Union safety reps are still in talks with the company about possible solutions to the issue; and nothing focuses the bosses' minds like the prospect of strikes. When strikes are called, Tubeworker is confident RMT drivers will respect Aslef picket lines.

Ambassador, you are spoiling us...

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 19/09/2018 - 21:25

A post on Yammer has announced the rates-of-pay for “Ambassadors” working on stations.

We’ve all seen this merry bunch, sporting their pink hi-vis, taking a day off from their office-based, usually managerial, jobs to put in a shift on a station.

Undoubtedly most of them are motivated by a sense of public spiritedness, but it’s not hard to see why station staff often resent their presence.

Real Cab Security Needs Station Staff

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 17/09/2018 - 19:40

ASLEF drivers are balloting for industrial action on cab security, and Tubeworker hopes that RMT will soon follow. Their demand is for a secure locking system on the cab door.

But is a technical fix enough? Is it even possible for a lock to be so secure that it is impenetrable in every imaginable situation? And what about if a driver is attacked via another route, for example through the window when checking the PTI?

Vote for strikes to reinstate Paul Bailey!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 12/09/2018 - 20:15

RMT has announced it will ballot Central Line drivers for strikes to demand the reinstatement of Paul Bailey.

Paul was sacked after a "failed" D&A test, despite the test showing that he was within the accepted limit for cannabinoid substances. As the RMT has said, the case calls into question the integrity of the entire D&A testing regime.

This could happen to any of us, so we have to stick together. When the ballot arrives, vote yes for strikes!

Picc Strikes Back On!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 12/09/2018 - 20:04

RMT has named new strikes for driver members on the Picc, as follows:

12:00 on Wednesday 26 September until 12:00 on Friday 28 September, and from 20:30 on Friday 28 September until 01:30 on Saturday 29 September 2018

These strikes have been called in response to LU reneging on the agreements it made in July, which led to RMT calling off strikes planned for 11-14 July. Since then, Piccadilly Line bosses have failed to maintain staffing at the levels set by those agreements.

RIP RCT

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 30/08/2018 - 11:06

LU has announced that the planned “Rostering and Coverage Tool”, a semi-automated system for covering duties on stations, swapping duties and annual leave, etc., will be scrapped.

It was already years (literally) behind schedule. Anyone who came into contact with test versions could see it wasn’t fit for purpose. It should’ve been abandoned long before now.

Mental health at work: bosses’ approaches and ours

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 20/08/2018 - 15:50

No capitalist solution to workplace mental health issues

The charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness have set up a campaign called “Time to Change” which, although not instantly recognisable, is aimed at increasing dialogue around mental health issues in the workplace.

The campaign suggests several pledges, most of them around management encouraging and initiating dialogue, but nothing about what the boss can do to actually reduce workplace stress and workplace related mental Ill health.

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!

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