Tubeworker's blog

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.

On the Jubilee Line drivers' strike

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sun, 27/05/2018 - 15:20

Jubilee Line drivers are fed up with the attitude of management on the line.

Local managers are pushing harder and harder as the service is ramped up and user numbers increase. Any perceived "staff error" and they are now coming down harder on drivers presumably thinking that ‘more stick and less carrot’ will make us more amenable to their whip cracking.

However, the breaking point has been the new timetable forced on drivers which increases the number of weekends worked, ups the pressure on us and sees work-life balance issues ignored.

"Assisting" intoxicated customers

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 24/05/2018 - 11:43

Management want to trial station staff at Piccadilly and Oxford Circus challenging passengers drinking alcohol during the bank holiday weekend.

The alcohol ban may well have been in place since 2008, butparticularly on night tube we know it's not worth trying to enforce it. Most passengers are alright but challenging drunk people holding glass bottles isn't what we signed up for! Only last weekend a CSA had alcohol thrown in their face for asking someone to stop drinking.

Jubilee and Acton District drivers: all out on 6 and 14 June!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 22/05/2018 - 14:57

Despite previous commitments to improve work/life balance and reduce weekend working, a new timetable management is attempting to impose on the Jubilee Line in fact increases weekend working. Quite rightly, drivers aren't having it. Both Aslef and RMT members will strike on 6 and 14 June to resist the imposition of the new timetable.

No place of safety? Don’t work!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 11/05/2018 - 14:21

Management at Edgware Road on the Bakerloo have come up with the bright idea of stationing a solitary CSA downstairs by the lifts to deter passengers from entering via the exit side.

Only problem is, there’s no place of safety down there, and the duty hasn’t been risk assessed.

Tubeworker reminds readers that we have the right to refuse to carry out unsafe work. A place of safety is your right.

Night Tube fight back

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 01/05/2018 - 11:54

A campaign is brewing involving Night Tube station staff; RMT’s Finsbury Park branch passed a charter of issues affecting Night Tube workers, which has been submitted to LU to form the basis of a comprehensive review of Night Tube.

Although both RMT and Aslef have organised disputes involving Night Tube drivers, there are issues on both trains and stations around the integration of Night Tube workers into the wider workforce. Contact, or lack of it, with union reps can be an issue, and unions need to do more to organise amongst Night Tube staff.

Start the pay fight now!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 01/05/2018 - 11:51

The deal on pay, terms, and conditions on LU expires in April 2019. We need to get into gear to make sure the next deal is a good one.

Let’s make sure our unions submit the deal in good time, meaning that if strikes become necessary to push our demands (and, let’s face it, they almost certainly will), they can be organised well in advance, with the aim of securing a deal in time for when it’s actually supposed to be implemented.

More question marks for ABM

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 24/04/2018 - 22:14

The passes used by some ex-ISS supervisors now working for ABM mysteriously stopped working today; their ABM company emails also went down.

It doesn't inspire confidence. In fact, it's starting to resemble the days of cowboy company Blue Diamond, who eventually cut and run from the contract.

Are ABM up to the job? The organisation with the capacity to properly coordinate cleaning on LU and integrate the employment of thousands of cleaners is... LU itself. Bring cleaning back in house!

Two views on the RMT Labour reaffiliation debate

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 23/04/2018 - 21:44

The RMT is currently debating whether to reaffiliate to the Labour Party. The decision will be made at a Special General Meeting in Doncaster on 30 May. In the run-up to this meeting, many branches are holding special meetings to decide their positions and mandate their SGM delegate.

A majority of those involved in producing the Tubeworker bulletin support reaffiliation: this view is reflected in the first article below, and elsewhere on this site (including in this briefing).

Wot No Station Closure?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 20/04/2018 - 16:57

When a person was stabbed at Highbury and Islington station a couple of weekends ago, the Police asked for the station to close so they could search for the weapon. No problem, said the station staff, and started the process of closing it. But then the Service Manager got wind of this, and somehow had delusions of authority over the staff on site and ordered the trains - which had already started non-stopping at Highbury - to start stopping there.

Justice for sacked drivers!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 20/04/2018 - 14:04

Paul Bailey

Paul Bailey, a Leytonstone driver, has been sacked following a drug and alcohol test which he passed.

Testing for cannabis is notoriously difficult. Paul's original test result was hidden from him, but he was stood down because of it. A follow up private test showed 19ng of a cannabinoid substance, but the industry standard for a so called 'failed test' is 50ng. The positive result came because this driver has eaten hemp supplements - allowed by LU - as part of a fitness regime.

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