Tubeworker's blog

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.

Noise Problems

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 10/02/2018 - 13:25

Following complaints from residents living near stations and above tunnel sections, LU has visited new noise-suppressing fastenings to sections of Central Line tracks.

Fair enough. Only problem is, this has the effect of sending the noise and vibrations back through the train. It's incredibly loud for drivers and, in some places, even worse for punters in the carriage. Some drivers are buying ear defenders.

Is ISS shipping in strike-breakers?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 01/02/2018 - 14:58

Cleaners and security workers employed by ISS on the DLR contract struck again today. The strike will last until 3 February; workers have also planned a work-to-rule from 5 February.

The strike follows a successful action on New Year's Eve, and is over a raft of issues; ISS has unilaterally slashed some workers' hours, and has refused to meaningfully negotiate with RMT over pay.

Not my preference!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 01/02/2018 - 14:00

All requests to move work locations now have to be submitted as "preferences" on MiApps, a bug-ridden app on our work iPads. Having cancelled their "preferences", some station staff have received surprise notifications to move to new work locations. Worse still, they have been told that they cannot refuse to move, even if they have evidence that their preferences had been cancelled.

This has happened to quite a few people, some of whom are going to suffer financial hardship as their moves are from full time to part time hours. What an inhuman system!

The Great Train Sale

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 19/01/2018 - 00:08

London Underground plans to sell off some of its trains so it can raise £875 million to pay for new Piccadilly Line trains. Once sold, LU will rent the trains back in order to keep running its services. Long-term LU will end up spending far more in rent to a private company than if it had paid for the new Piccadilly train upgrade directly.

Save Our Canteen!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 19/01/2018 - 00:06

London Underground wants to close Harrow on the Hill canteen to make way for new lifts at the station.

We're all for improving access to the Tube, but don't do it at the expense of staff facilities. The closure would leave the Met with no canteen on the line.

If LU gets away with this on one line, it will no doubt look to save money by doing it on others. Hundreds of staff have already signed a petition about this. If you want to add your name, contact your rep. Local reps on both trains and station side are working to oppose the closure.

False Alarm?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 19/01/2018 - 00:02

Our unions have been told that the Department for Transport is soon to issue new guidance on the procedure for assessing suspicious items. It will be mandatory to open bags; external visual inspection is no longer enough.

This is all about reducing "lost customer hours". The government must think over-cautious staff are causing too many delays with 'false alarm' security alerts. But isn't it better that we treat security concerns seriously without putting ourselves at risk in the process?

DLR ISS workers to strike again

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 18/01/2018 - 09:27

Cleaners and security workers employed by ISS on the DLR will strike again from 1-3 February.

Following a solid strike on New Year's Eve, RMT is organising further action in an attempt to force ISS to adhere to its own agreed procedures for negotiating changes to working practises. The union also wants ISS to respond to its pay claim.

As well as the strike, RMT has also called action-short-of-strike from 5-10 February, in the form of a work-to-rule around risk assessments.

NYE pay shambles

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 18/01/2018 - 09:11

There seems to have been an almighty cock-up when it comes to station workers' New Year's Eve payments.

Opening their payslips this week, many workers who worked overtime or rest-day-working on New Year's Eve seem to have been short-paid, or not paid at all. Some have been told the rest will be paid in February's pay, but a company like LU shouldn't be making its workers wait until mid-February to be paid for work they did in December.

ISS mess

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 18/01/2018 - 08:54

ISS cleaners on the JNP are due to transfer onto the new ABM contract in early February. But workers say the transfer process so far has been a shambles.

ISS cleaners have not been given any ABM uniform, with no sign of it arriving soon, but are being told their ISS uniform must be handed back. No interim provisions have been put in place for the switch from ISS's fortnightly payment system to ABM's monthly one, meaning workers could go 40 days without being paid.

Train prep fight still brewing

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 04/01/2018 - 13:40

Management are still spoiling for a fight over their planned cuts to train prep.

They want to reduce then frequency from 24 to 96 hours, meaning some trains will be running for 3-4 days without having basic safety checks performed.

Unions are discussing the issue with senior bosses. Tubeworker says that if LU doesn’t back down pronto, unions declare a dispute.

Asset Operations Boxing Day dispute: good news and bad news

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 04/01/2018 - 13:36

Asset Operations workers balloted for strikes to secure the same Boxing Day bonus other engineering workers get.

After RMT balloted its members, management agreed to pay the bonus to most workers. Unfortunately, however, the ballot failed to meet the turnout threshold required by the new anti-union laws.

So, two important lessons: one, sometimes even the threat of action will force concessions. And two, it’s vital every member votes in industrial action ballots!

"Roadmap" to pay parity at Ruislip Depot

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 04/01/2018 - 13:31

RMT members at the ex-AP JNP Transplant Depot at Ruislip planned a work-to-rule from 20 December, in a dispute to win pay parity with Engineering Train Operators and others, who’d recently secured a 6.1% pay increase.

Perhaps knowing that an effective work-to-rule could stop the job, management came back to the table, and have agreed a “roadmap” to pay parity.

They’ll need holding to this commitment; industrial action may still be necessary in future.

ABM QR codes not Quite Right

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 19/12/2017 - 21:22

Cleaning contractor ABM's shiny new QR-code sign-in system is, predictably, causing problems.

Cleaners are supposed to scan tag points fixed to the wall using a QR-reader app on their phones to sign in and out of stations. ABM uses the data to work out pay.

But the app is unreliable, often failing to read the codes in less well-lit stations, and sometimes simply not working at all. Cleaners are worried about being short-paid as a consequence.

Overground Night Service

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 15/12/2017 - 22:09

Spare a thought for those staff affected by London Overground's night service, which kicks off tonight.

The Overground stations will be staffed by security guards, if they are staffed at all. And the affected London Underground stations? Who knows? There has been practically zero consultation with our unions about how the stations will deal with the extra demand.

Engineering workers to vote on strikes against Scrooge bosses

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 04/12/2017 - 15:01

LU gives additional payments to, or makes special arrangements for, workers in many departments for working over Christmas and Boxing Day. The unions' ongoing battles for fair working practises for drivers on Boxing Day are well known.

But Asset Operations workers have no additional payment or any other form of recognition or remuneration for working over these days, despite the obvious impact on work/life balance.

DLR security workers balloting for strikes

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 04/12/2017 - 14:57

RMT is balloting its members working as security staff for ISS on the DLR contract for strikes.

Neither ISS nor Keolis Amey Docklands, the contract holder, has meaningfully responded to the union's pay claim. On top of this, ISS is making a mess of rostering by offering shifts to workers outside of their contracted grade and responsibilities.

The ballot closes on 14 December. Tubeworker encourages all those balloted to vote yes!

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