Tubeworker's blog

Aslef calls strike for 5 October

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 25/09/2017 - 13:12

Aslef has called a strike for Thursday 5 October, in its dispute with LU over work/life balance issues for drivers. RMT is in dispute over the same issues, but is yet to ballot its driver members.

The dispute is a hangover from the 2015 pay settlement, which committed the company to explore ways of improving drivers' work/life balance. The company has dragged its feet since, and the only concrete development has been the "four day week" trial on the Jubilee Line. Aslef wants that model rolled out of the rest of the combine.

Central Line drivers deliver huge majority for strikes: stand firm to get Danny back on the front!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 25/09/2017 - 13:04

RMT's Central Line drivers' ballot, which saw drivers at all depots at both ends of the line balloted for industrial action to win the reinstatement of sacked colleague Danny Davis, returned an absolutely thumping majority.

Easily beating the Tories' "double threshold" (a minimum 50% turnout, and a minimum 40% of all those balloted voting yes to action), the final score was 99% in favour of action on a 77% turnout.

Help Me If You Can

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 31/08/2017 - 16:01

Management have a cunning plan to help them avoid the consequences of de-staffing stations: linking help points to other stations so it seemingly doesn't matter if there is no-one on a station to help.

They decided that they would trial this at a few stations, but unfortunately 'forgot' to consult with our unions before sending out an email to staff telling them the trial was about to start. Rumbled by eagle-eyed union activists, management have had to insert their tail between their legs and put the trial on hold indefinitely. Guilty as charged.

No Witness Available?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 25/08/2017 - 15:40

A member of station staff has been given a suspended dismissal by LU - a "gross misconduct" charge, the highest disciplinary sanction short of actually being sacked - for conducting cash-handling work without getting a witness... because they were lone working, and there was no witness available.

Wot No Risk Assessment?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 24/08/2017 - 16:53

LUL is making pregnant women wait for workplace risk assessments because it doesn't have enough managers to carry them out.

LUL gave voluntary severance to a lot of the old station managers (DSMs) during its Fit for the Future reorganisation but has not trained its new managers, CSMs, to take over a lot of the work they used to do - including pregnancy risk assessments, even tho these are a requirement by law.

Don't help LU paper over cracks

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 24/08/2017 - 12:16

In a last minute hurry to get enough staff to assist with Notting Hill Carnival, LUL sent some SRT staff to Notting Hill Gate station to be familiarised. The station had no supervisor available to walk them round the station so the SRT staff were told to come back another time.

Good! CSAs familiarising their colleagues has become a common short cut, but that's not how it should be done. Why should we take short cuts and bend the rules to help disguise how short staffed LUL is?

We need to highlight short staffing at every opportunity.

The key to better work/life balance is a shorter working week

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 24/08/2017 - 12:15

Both RMT and Alsef are in dispute with Tube bosses over train drivers' poor work life balance. In 2015, the London Underground pay deal contained commitments from management, notably over pro rota working (an option to do less hours for less pay), a reduction in weekend working, and a trial of a "compacted" four day, 36-hour week. However, these commitments have not been met and a dispute has begun.

On all these issues but one, both train drivers' unions are in agreement.

Night Tube Nightmare

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 24/08/2017 - 10:09

Welcome though it is that Night Tube drivers have been able to move into full-time roles, it was somewhat remiss of LUL management to not arrange for their Night Tube posts to be filled - especially as there are plenty of Night Tube station staff who would willingly fill those posts.

Result: a massive shortfall in Night Tube driver numbers on the Piccadilly line, a ridiculously low level of train service, headways to make your eyes bulge, and grief for passengers, drivers and station staff.

Fight the fascists!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 22/08/2017 - 23:43

Recent scenes from America, where Heather Heyer, an anti-fascist activist, was murdered by a neo-Nazi in Charlottesville, have reminded us, again, that violent far-right organisation is not a thing of the past.

The resurgent white supremacist movement in the USA is emboldened by a president who is clearly in sympathy with some of its ideas, and who openly equivocates between Nazis and those mobilising to resist them.

Danny Davis sacking: a miscarriage of justice

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 18/08/2017 - 11:48

It has emerged that management used footage from only two of Ruislip Gardens' 17 CCTV cameras in the evidence bundle for the disciplinary panel that sacked Danny Davis.

Footage from cameras showing P-Way at the front of Danny’s train at the time of the incident was withheld.

This represents an outrageous miscarriage of justice that confirms that Danny's sacking was grossly unfair.

Testing the Water

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 10/08/2017 - 17:33

Our employer has to test our drinking water and certify it safe at regular intervals. This is one of those tasks that rather than do it itself, LUL prefers to pass the buck, whoops we mean contract out, the task to another firm.

Said firm has been caught with its metaphorical trousers down, having forged the water safety certificates. Yes, you read that right. Your drinking water may be "certified" safe by a forgery.

Pay Reinstated

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 10/08/2017 - 14:51

Drivers all over the network, in both RMT and Aslef, refused to cross RMT station staff picket lines at depots located at stations during the 8-9 January strike.

Others refused to drive on the grounds of safety, arguing that it was unsafe for LU to run trains through unstaffed stations. One such RMT driver on the Bakerloo Line had his pay docked for doing so, but after pursuing a grievance against management, has had it reinstated.

The lesson? Stand your ground!

Reinstate Danny Davis!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 04/08/2017 - 20:50

Central Line driver Danny Davis, a colleague with 20 years' service and an unblemished record, has been summarily dismissed following a PTI incident.

It was the type of mistake any driver could make, and for which other drivers have received coaching and support, not the sack.

Danny's union branch, RMT Central Line East, is preparing a ballot for industrial action, which will hopefully involve drivers at both ends of the line.

If justice isn't done, the dispute will need to escalate.

Picc Of The Bunch!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 27/07/2017 - 20:20

Fleet maintenance workers on the Piccadilly Line have won an excellent victory in their fight for permanent jobs.

35 workers, employed on two-year, fixed-term contracts, will now be guaranteed permanent jobs.

It was achieved solely by the resolute direct action taken by workers, who stuck to a solid work-to-rule. The impact on the service was massive, with trains being unable to run, causing severe delays. They began their action on 25 July: it took less than 48 hours for management to cave completely.

Improvement Notice

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 25/07/2017 - 00:06

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR), the independent transport regulatory body, has issued an official "improvement notice" to LU regarding safety on stations.

The admonishment comes off the back of the tragic incident at Canning Town, where a passenger died after falling down stairs in a non-public area of the station. An investigation clearly showed that job cuts, which led to lone working and the control room being de-staffed, had played a key role.

Gender-Neutral Announcements part 2

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 20/07/2017 - 22:43

We are all used to receiving the memo with management's latest wheeze, giving us some new terminology or buzzword to use. It is usually annoying, ridiculous or both. But just occasionally, a change comes that, once you look at the issues, is fair enough - even welcome and progressive. One of these is the scrapping of the term 'Ladies and gentlemen' in announcements. Why is this a good move?

LU Attacks Our Reps

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 20/07/2017 - 18:23

Although we live in a (relatively) democratic society, that democracy ends almost entirely at the workplace. We are told what to do by managers no-one elected, paid vastly inflated salaries they decided amongst themselves. The only means by which workers (the people who really make society run) have ever been able to impose even minimal levels of democratic functioning into the workplace has been via our unions, which we have forced management to recognise, giving us structures through which to elect workplace representatives.

Vinci Immigration Busts?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 20/07/2017 - 18:00

<i>Tubeworker</i> HQ has heard rumours that Vinci cleaners are getting messages from their managers summoning them to random meetings where they're met with demands to produce their immigration papers or proofs of right-to-work.

UK immigration policy is a shifting landscape designed to discriminate against poorer migrants. If you get any invite to any formal meeting with management, tell your union and make sure you bring a rep. Speak to your rep first, as it may be appropriate to seek advice from the union's legal department about the best approach.

Yes to gender-neutral announcements, yes to real equality in the workplace!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 18/07/2017 - 13:50

<I>Tubeworker</I> fully supports the recent announcements that gender-specific announcements like "ladies and gentlemen" will be phased out in PAs and SATS.

The term "ladies and gentlemen" is outdated, and divide people on the basis of gender. Many people do not identify as male or female, or have fluid gender identities, so why should our announcements make these people feel excluded?

SATS in Civvies

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 17/07/2017 - 12:44

The Diplomatic Service is obviously a unique growth area in TfL, as Ambassadors have been popping up everywhere. This weekend, Travel Ambassadors have been popping up along the Central Line, at locations including Bethnal Green, Mile End and Ealing Broadway.

Of course, we wouldn't need extra help from admin staff in hi-vis if we had enough station staff in the first place, and we would have enough station staff in the first place if management hadn't cut the numbers repeatedly over recent years. But what do we know? We only work here.

Four-day week trial to end

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 13/07/2017 - 11:34

The four-day week trial LU has been running with drivers on the Jubilee Line is due to come to an end on 2 September. Beset with problems from the start, primarily because at the east end of the line so few people wanted to do it, the trial has seen further drop outs and problems with covering shifts.

Wot No Pay Rise?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 12/07/2017 - 23:29

Interserve staff have received letters from the company informing them that the increase in their pay review, already a fortnight late, has been pushed back from 1 July to 1 October. They have told staff they intend to implement a 2.5% increase from 1 October, but with no backpay to 1 July, the date staff should have had the increment.

Interserve's reasons for doing this are remarkably thin gruel. They cite "significant financial headwinds" - whatever the hell that means.

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