The Tory government has savagely cut Transport for London’s funding. TfL will lose £700m per year over the next five years, and from this coming year onwards, it will receive no public grants towards its operations.
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.
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.
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!
As Tubeworker has previously reported, it seems that many CSMs across the job are being instructed in how to conduct LDIs by their Area Managers.
Many AMs seem to be training CSMs to treat the process as automatic: breach the attendance standard, an LDI is automatically convened, a 26-week warning is automatically issued. No discretion, no actual investigation into the circumstances, the process is a formality.
Train maintainers and maintenance and stores workers at Ruislip Transplant Depot are balloting for strikes to win pay parity.
Workers are being paid unequally for doing the same work, and Advanced Train Maintainers, Team Leaders, and Duty Maintenance Managers who do train prep work and sign off trains as fit for service are being denied the associated pay enhancement.
The RMT ballot begins on 21 November and closes on 6 December.
LU says too many customers are having too much money refunded to their Oyster cards. LU is now monitoring station staff. It has produced a league table to help management identify whether "the same people" are "always" doing refunds.
What is this meant to prove? That some staff like to help when customers have been over-charged?
It's a slap in the face. LU closes ticket offices and pressures us to do ticket selling duties without proper training, then watches to see if we do the new practises "wrong".
One consequence of sharing some stations with other train operating companies is that we get the fallout when their standards slip even lower than ours.
So spare a thought for station staff at Moorgate, Old Street and Highbury & Islington. Great Northern have omitted to clean their tunnels properly for a couple of decades, and the dust has now become a positive nuisance. The good news is that it doesn't - as initially feared - contain asbestos. The less good news is that it contains mould and various other nasty substances.
The Evening Standard and the Metro are so determined to foist their propaganda on the unsuspecting public that they are trying to slip into our stations to do it - seemingly regardless of the consequences.
They have been getting permission from Area Managers to dish out their papers on the paid side of the gateline. And it seems that some AMs are agreeing to this without even asking station staff. What could possibly go wrong? Apart from the litter build-up, obstruction, congestion, general aggro ...
Transport for London has announced a plan to cut 1,400 jobs as part of its "transformation" programme, a bid to save up to £5 billion as the Tories' slash TfL's central government subsidy. These jobs will come from engineering, admin, managerial, and other departments.
Wembley Park, the main station serving Wembley Stadium, currently has additional support from the Special Requirements Team for match days and events. Wembley Central, not quite as close to the stadium but also used to access it, has less SRT support but has its own additional event staff complement rostered on for match/event days.
TfL/LU has announced the latest wave of its "Transformation" programme, and is briefing staff about them today (7 November).
Unions say they expect the announcements to include job cuts in numerous departments, including Skills Development, Establishment Planning, Network Operational Administration, Renewals and Enhancement, Asset Operations, Senior Management Administration, and Performance Analysis and Improvement.
A change has been made to the Train Operators Professional Agreement (Topra). It used to be that any driver who had safety related incidents on a manual line, and who had been on the job two years, had an option of moving to an automatic line. Management and Aslef decided they wanted to increase this to five years and, despite RMT protestations, it has occurred.
Remember Rainbow? Managers at their keyboards spotting imaginary 'patterns' in your sickness absence so they can issue warnings to staff who haven't actually triggered the Attendance procedure. Well, it appears to have reappeared.
The Rainbow has been spotted recently over some Piccadilly line traincrew depots, Central line stations and in service control. If you spot it in your area, get on to your union rep straightaway.
At the end of this Rainbow is a crock ... but not of gold.
The Director’s Review into the sacking of Danny Davis has concluded that he will be reinstated with a guaranteed job as a train driver from 12 months after the date he was sacked. He is already about six months into that period, having been recently been reinstated as a CSA.
Word reaches Tubeworker HQ that ABM will soon be extending its empire from LU to other parts of TfL, including taking over from ISS on the DLR contract. We hear that DLR cleaners are being offered financial incentives, to the tune of £1,000, to move from the DLR contract to the former TubeLines/JNP contract on LU. ABM apparently plans to fill any roles vacated with agency cleaners.
In October 1917 the working class took power in Russia. Although this is often described as an undemocratic coup, Tubeworker believes that democracy was at the heart of the events that brought the working class to power in 1917. How did they do it?
In 1917 Russia was still an autocracy ruled over by a monarch, the Tsar. In contrast, the capitalist class and the ruling regime were weak. The Tsar was unpopular. The peasants wanted land. The people were war-weary. Russia’s participation in World War One had cost around 3.6 million soldiers’ lives by late 1916.
As we all know, ABM has taken over cleaning contracts on London Underground from September, and is continuing to transfer staff through TUPE regulations. Interserve staff have already transferred, with Vinci staff due to go over in early December, followed by ISS staff in February.
Night Tube drivers are disappointed to see that the opportunity to work a four-day week is only available to drivers who currently work five days. Why not to Night Tubers too?
The issue that prompted the four-day week trial is that some full-time drivers struggle with the demands of a five-day week. But there are Night Tubers who struggle with a five-day week to the extent that they can't even consider doing it.
Surveys by the independent transport watchdog London TravelWatch have consistently revealed that, despite LU's spin that closing ticket offices would make staff "more visible", passengers consistently have difficulty finding members of staff to assist them on stations.
Here at Tubeworker, we think the problem is clear: there aren't enough staff. The solution is to reverse job cuts.
LU has other ideas. It insists the problem is one of "visibility", and to ameliorate this it is trialling the use of red tabards (emblazoned with "here to help") at certain locations.
We're a month into the new "super-contract" for cleaning, with American firm having taken over from Interserve (the transfer of ISS staff to ABM is due to take place in February), and it very much seems to be a case of "meet the new boss, same as the old boss."
Cleaners report that the scandal of short payment is continuing, with workers finding their pay packets considerably lighter than they should be.
This is theft: there is no excuse for any employer to pay their workers less than they are owed.
Here at Tubeworker, we're big advocates of public art and the liberating potential of artistic expression. But art installations in our workplaces need to take the safety and welfare of staff into account.
This consideration went missing with a recent "Art on the Underground" installation at King's Cross, by the Met/H&C gateline, which featured a looped 12-minute film, with a soundtrack featuring high-pitched singing throughout. A site space allocation was sent to safety reps, but no risk assessment was carried out.
Workers at the Picturehouse cinema chain, owned by corporate giant Cineworld, have been in dispute for over a year to win living wages, union recognition, and other workplace rights. They're in the Bectu union, now a section of Prospect. Four of their reps at the Ritzy cinema in Brixton have been sacked for their role in organising the strikes, and Picturehouse has threatened any worker who continues to participate in industrial action with dismissal.
What’s in the settlement Aslef called off Thursday’s strike for? Well, it’s not entirely clear.
Union reports to members say the four-day-week trial on the Jubilee Line will be "analysed", and if seen as unsuccessful, a "nine-day-fortnight" may be looked at instead. LU have also said that the current steps to reduce weekend working will continue after the 2015-2019 pay deal expires. Additionally, the company has reportedly agreed to allow three drivers per depot to move to "pro-rata four-day working", on top of existing agreements.
The restructuring of station grades as part of "Fit for the Future" was always intended to divide the workforce. We're seeing the fruits of that division on many stations now, as some CSMs and CSSs increasingly see their role as policing and disciplining CSAs.