Tubeworker's blog

Earl's Court drivers' ballot scuppered by anti-union laws

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 20/04/2018 - 12:36

Aslef drivers at Earl's Court depot on the District Line voted by a 77.8% majority for strikes over abuses of the SPAD policy, intending to join their colleagues at Acton depot who struck over similar issues on Friday 13 April.

However, the union is not able to call a lawful strike, as only 39.2% of those eligible to vote voted yes, rather than the 40% required in "essential services" by the Tories' 2016 Trade Union Act.

No Shit

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 20/04/2018 - 12:30

Cleaners are being pressured to clean pigeon muck at various stations. Any significant amount needs to be dealt with by specialists. If you are asked to do this: refuse! Do not compromise your health and safety.

Pigeon and other bird guano can contain serious amounts of harmful bacteria, as this page on the Health and Safety Executive website makes clear.

Unanswered questions for ABM

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 20/04/2018 - 12:18

With all LU cleaning contracts now formally consolidated under ABM, the new company's conduct so far has left many workers with unanswered questions.

Some of these are as fundamental as: who do we actually work for? Tax letters from HMRC say we're employed by... GBM Services Ltd! ABM, a US company, did absorb GBM's UK operation (which held LU cleaning contracts many years ago), but as far as we knew, we were employed directly by ABM, not some subsidiary entity. It makes it hard to assert your rights when you don't even know who your employer is!

Prepare for battle on the Picc

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 09/04/2018 - 00:28

RMT drivers on the Piccadilly Line are heading for a dispute, after the two RMT branches covering the line passed motions noting "that due to continued mismanagement, morale levels on the line are at an historic low level."

Workers cite a raft of issues, including management obstruction of union reps; abuse of procedures; heavy-handed discipline; issues around safety; and more. We all know that solid action by drivers will massively impact the service. Hopefully it'll make the bosses sit up and take notice.

DLR workers to strike again

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 09/04/2018 - 00:26

Workers on London's Docklands Light Railway will strike from 20-24 April, as part of an ongoing dispute over a range of attacks by Keolis Amey Docklands (KAD), the contractor that operates the DLR.

KAD has begun to outsource more work on the DLR, which the RMT union undermines the job security of existing staff. Recent roster changes have also hit work/life balance, with RMT also accusing KAD of failing to uphold company procedures.

The strikes threaten to disrupt the London Marathon, due to take place over that weekend.

Fight for 15?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 09/04/2018 - 00:22

The London Living Wage went up to £10.20 this month, and with LU cleaners' pay pegged to that rate, they're in line for a pay increase. But between rising living costs and the government's pensions regulator also increasing the minimum employee contributions for workplace pensions schemes, many could see that increase swallowed up.

Low Standards

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sun, 08/04/2018 - 20:08
PURGE OF EXTREMIST WORKERS ON LONDON TRANSPORT

When Friday evening's passengers read their free Evening Standard, they read that the workforce getting them to where they were going was infested with 'extremists' and terrorists.

Yes, Tory government security minister Ben Wallace had announced that they would be rooting out the extremists who work on the transport system. No wonder Friday's late turn staff were getting nervous looks from numerous passengers.

We don't always need assistance

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 31/03/2018 - 04:35

BTP seem to think they can step in to "help" during any conversation with a customer where there might have been a disagreement or where you've had to repeat something.

You've just told someone to top-up, maybe you don't think they should travel till they've sobered up or they are absent mindedly tapping their card on a 'No Entry' gate.

We deal with customers like this everyday, sometimes they get a bit annoyed when you intervene but most of the time we've handled the situation and we can move on.

Solidarity not snitching!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sun, 25/03/2018 - 21:24

With the creation of the CSM grade, operational station staff are now disciplining each other. Increasingly, station staff are divided between grades.

The breakdown of solidarity has led to a culture whereby many staff seem to take it upon themselves to police each other and grass their colleagues up to management for minor performance issues.

Union busting on Yammer?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sun, 25/03/2018 - 21:20

LU bosses tell us that corporate social media platform Yammer is a great way to have a conversation about what's going on at work. Senior managers like MD Mark Wild like to drop by to give the impression they're listening to what their workers think.

But it seems the conversation is rather one-sided: a Yammer user was recently censored for posting an RMT leaflet, which was summarily deleted.

Bonfire of the procedures?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sun, 25/03/2018 - 21:13

Rumours abound, originating in a leaked email from a senior HR manager, that LU plans to merge various procedures. This could include merging CDI and LDI processes, merging the grievance and harrasment and bullying processes, and more.

This is bad news if true. The bosses won't do this to make things better for us! We need to gear up for a fight to stop any such mergers.

In many cases, the status quo is pretty wretched too. We should use any fight to”defend” existing procedures as a springboard to fight for improvements.

Aslef members at Acton to strike on 11 April

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 22/03/2018 - 23:33

Aslef drivers at Acton depot have announced a strike for 11 April, in protest at the misapplication of policies and procedures (particularly the SPAD policy) and the dipping of a driver to a stations role. Aslef members at Earl's Court are also balloting.

There was some confusion in the announcement of the strike, which was initially called for 28 March, then pushed to 11 April, possibly due to Aslef falling foul of new laws requiring a union to give an employer increased notices of strikes.

Sick pay robbery reversed

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 22/03/2018 - 23:27

RMT's Regional Organiser announced last week that ex-Vinci cleaners transferred onto the new ABM contract will retain their rights to contractual sick pay.

This had been removed in their new ABM contracts, in direct contravention of "TUPE" regulations (the laws governing workers being transferred from one employer to another), which stipulate that existing rights must be retained.

Jobs Saved at North Greenwich

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 19/03/2018 - 23:52

The Area Manager at North Greenwich, who shall for the purposes of this article remain nameless, has been trying their hardest recently to cut CSA jobs at the station and even reduce minimum numbers.

Quite why any manager, particularly one managing the station next to the O2 Arena, in a major tourist location, and attached to a train depot, would want fewer staff is beyond us, but that's the crazy world of LU for you. Perhaps this eager young boss is keen to make a name for themselves as someone who can ruthlessly hack down the size of a budget.

Admin Gutted

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 15/03/2018 - 14:52

LU has revealed its devastating plans for stations admin. It is gutting the grade: cutting positions from 77 to 53. It plans to split the role into 'coverage' and 'core'. Coverage staff will be centralised at Palestra at Southwark. 'Core' jobs will be based at seven 'hubs', which will all be in central locations, such as Kings Cross and Baker Street. There won't be a hub east of Stratford or west of Hammersmith.

Housing Is A Right

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 14/03/2018 - 22:25

According to housing charity Shelter, one in every 200 people in the UK is homeless. In London, that figure shoots up to one in 59. We see the evidence of this in and around our stations with increased numbers of rough sleepers and people forced to beg. Several homeless people died during the recent winter storms.

We can't 'resolve' everything

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 13/03/2018 - 18:56

Management on the Vic are keen that CSAs “do more” to track ‘36’ error codes on the gates. They want more customers to be taken over to the POMs and made to top-up, resolve journeys and drag us further into doing the job of protecting revenue, and they want us to record how we are doing it. Tubeworker is pretty confident that this will make no impact on the blackhole in government funding.

Overground Nightmares

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sun, 11/03/2018 - 18:20

Spare a thought for the staff and passengers of Highbury and Islington station, which is now served by the Night Overground service as well as Night Tube.
When this was first announced, staff and our unions had plenty of issues to raise with management, not least of all minimum numbers, staffing levels, cleaning and emergency procedures. Bear in mind that following a recent uprating, Highbury now has to carry out hourly security checks, and Night Overground has added three platforms to the scope of the checks.

Resist "duty creep", fight for one CSA grade!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 10/03/2018 - 13:53

LU bosses provoked widespread outrage on Friday, when they uploaded a new document on the role of CSA2s to the company Intranet.

The subject of the document - exactly what CSA2s can and can't do - has been the focus of negotiations between LU and union reps for months, negotiations that were very much ongoing. LU's decision to upload the document represented a clear attempt to bypass those talks.

A “fair deal” for cleaners?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 08/03/2018 - 00:56

LU frequently uses its in-house staff magazine On The Move to give itself undeserved pats on the back. This month is no exception, with an article on cleaning claiming the new ABM contract “ensures our cleaning team gets a fair deal”.

“With the new team”, the article runs, “has come new contracts to ensure our cleaners get fair pay and benefits.”

“We have worked closely with contractor ABM to secure entitlements for these vital colleagues who now benefit from fixed contracts, London’s living wage, and holiday entitlement.”

Wot No Toilets?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 03/03/2018 - 16:06

Horror stories about the effects of the "Beast from the East" on staff welfare from all over the combine are reaching Tubeworker HQ. One particularly grim tale comes from the north end of the Bakerloo Line, where pipes at several stations froze, leaving staff with no drinking water or toilet facilities.

Workers at Queen's Park had to use the facilities in the train depot next door. Elsewhere, management laid on taxis for staff to travel to neighbouring stations to use toilets.

Mapping Mess

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 22/02/2018 - 18:16

As “Transformation” continues to rumble into gear, the lack of clarity from management about exactly who will be affected and how is making life difficult for workers.

Some workers are being given contradictory messages by managers, first being told their jobs are safe, then finding out they’re in the frame to be “mapped” into new roles, with only vague guarantees and protections.

"We didn't know you were coming..."

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 16/02/2018 - 13:43

The words that many new part time and Night Tube starters were greeted with as they introduced themselves on the stations they had been assigned. After being assured by their trainers that they would go to the stations, meet the AM, speak to Cover Group Support and find out who they would be shadowing. Some were even told they wouldn't be on the system properly until they knew they'd passed all their training, that sorting anything out now would be impossible.

Transformation - no thanks!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 16/02/2018 - 13:32

Management’s plan is to split the stations admin assistant (AG1) role into “coverage” and “core” ( which is everything else) and move coverage to a central location.

This will be detrimental to both admin and station staff because we will lose the local knowledge and working arrangements which we have at the moment. It also deskills admin because we would be performing less functions rather than having multi-skilled admin as at the moment. And it reduces the number of jobs.

Admin cuts affect all of us!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 16/02/2018 - 13:08

The changes to admin will wreck what's left of work-life balance for station staff. With so much rostered weekend working, we rely on favours from admin if we want to get to weddings or family birthdays. We also rely on admin sorting out cover weeks so we can do shifts that suit commitments outside work.

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