Tubeworker's blog

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!

Un-Appealing

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 04/12/2017 - 14:51

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.

Votes yes for action at Ruislip depot!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 20/11/2017 - 11:47

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.

Fight cuts to train prep!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 20/11/2017 - 11:32

Management have told union reps on fleet that they intend to reduce the frequency of train prep, essential maintenance done to check that trains are safe to run, from 24 hours to 96.

This reckless cut could cost jobs, and lives!

Union activists are already organising to resist the attack. Stay tuned for more info.

Your Money Back?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 20/11/2017 - 11:27

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".

Dust Up

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 13/11/2017 - 21:47

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.

Slipping Standards?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 13/11/2017 - 21:06

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 ...

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