Tubeworker's blog

Correct Side?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 26/09/2005 - 13:04

The latest plan to resolve the PTI problems at Cockfosters is to close platform 2 and only use platform 3 for trains in the middle road.

Fair enough, maybe. But a couple of tips to management ... When you introduce a measure like this:

  • 1. Tell the Line Controllers and the DOM.
  • 2. Make sure the CSDE (Correct Side Door Enabler) equipment actually works.

You might thing that such things would be basic. Not on LUL. Sometimes you wonder why we have managers at all.

Stations and Metronet: Time to Fight Back

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sun, 25/09/2005 - 20:19

- defend jobs - stop outsourcing - defend pensions -

Despite a few small concessions, the ‘new’ draft stations rosters are completely unacceptable. They will result in the displacement of staff; reduce staffing levels on stations, and so increase the level of stress, assault, and low morale.

It seems to us at Tubeworker than we should not be wasting our time trying to tinker with the rosters. LUL should withdraw these rosters and come back with rosters that give us a proper 35 hour week with no job cuts or displacements.

Rip It Up and Start Again

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 24/09/2005 - 14:11

Whoops. Management have put all that effort into reviewing the Working Reference Manual, but overlooked the small matter of involving health and safety reps from the Infracos.

Anyone would think they just wanted to do a bit of ‘streamlining’ and don’t really care what the staff think. Don’t mind us, we only work here.

Shedding Light

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 24/09/2005 - 14:05

Isn’t it funny how when there is a disaster, management agree to safety improvements, then, when they think that everyone has forgotten about it, they try to reverse the improvements on the sly?

After the Camden and Hammersmith derailments two years go, the Infracos agreed to introduce ‘Lampmen’ (‘Lamp-persons’, surely?) to make sure that track patrols could actually see what they are doing. But now, Metronet plans to withdraw them.

Service Control Restructuring

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 24/09/2005 - 13:40

Why are we waiting? Milestone 1 was finally implemented on 18 September, which means that everyone whose job is mapped across into the new structure gets their pay rise. However, everyone who is at risk is still in limbo waiting for news of whether they still have a job in Service Control.

The closed listing application process for filling promotional vacancies is also taking longer than originally stated.

MEL part 57

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 23/09/2005 - 13:38

The introduction of MEL (Manual Electronic Logging) into some of the Met and District Line signal cabins is reportedly imminent. So we might be forgiven for wondering why the MEL team (extra staff seconded to work at Harrow-on-the-Hill cabin to assist with MEL), which had been kicking its heels since May, has just been disbanded. Good question.

And how is the introduction of MEL going to be supported at Harrow, given what a busy cabin it is and given that the introduction of MEL will mean extra workload?

A Bit Dim

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 22/09/2005 - 21:49

As drivers and passengers will know, the platform lights at Northwood are not exactly bright. In fact, they are so dim that they are a menace.

Staff hoped that things would look brighter (sorry!) when LUL finally got round to carrying out a lux test. But unfortunately, the results had to be discounted because the testing equipment did not work properly. Not enough brightness in the management grades, perhaps?

There and Back Again

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 22/09/2005 - 17:29

Learning and Development was transferred from LUL to TfL a couple of years back. Now it's coming back again!

Tubeworker would really like to know how much this pointless exercise has cost - both in terms of money and of disruption to staff.

Broken Rails

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 21/09/2005 - 12:10

LUL has managed to admit that there have been too many broken rails of late. Getting them to admit the cause of the problem, though, might take longer.

It seems plain to Tubeworker that if a railway is carrying more people over more miles, then it needs better maintenance. Instead, we have the extra traffic, and … PPP ... meaning, erm, worse maintenance!

Unpaid Overtime

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 20/09/2005 - 18:53

Staff at Canary Wharf discovered to their horror that they were not paid for overtime. It seems that the manager responsible had gone on holiday without making sure that it would be done in his absence.

It's bad enough that LUL relies on overtime to keep stations running. Tubeworker would rather see overtime scrapped - along with a big pay rise so that we don't miss it!

But whilst people do put in the extra hours, LUL could at least make sure that it pays them!

Case Dismissed

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 19/09/2005 - 16:39

Ashfield House trainer and RMT rep Pat Houlihan has finally seen the back of the ridiculous disciplinary action taken against him. Perhaps now managers will not be so quick to cry 'harassment' just because a union rep stands up to them.

It's an insult to all those staff who genuinely suffer harassment at work. Those are the cases that this policy was set up to deal with - not managers who can not tell the difference between assertive trade union representation and harassment.

Defend fire safety: union to demonstrate

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sun, 18/09/2005 - 22:14

As regular readers will know, the government has been trying its hand at abolishing Section 12. As all Tube workers will know - but some earwigging readers may not - Section 12 is the name we give to the Fire Precautions (Sub-Surface Railway Stations) Regulations 1989. That's the law introduced in the wake of the death of 30+ people in the 1987 Kings Cross fire, and which includes: minimum staffing levels, means of escape, staff training standards, means of detecting, containing and warning of fire, and more besides.

Metronet: action is coming

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 14/09/2005 - 17:07

As we have reported previously in Tubeworker, Metronet has been waging war on its employees, through 'outsourcing' (reprivatising stuff that has already been privatised), 'reorganisation' (aka. job losses), attacks on our pensions, and failure to progress with our 35-hour week.

Enough is enough, and, not before time, RMT has decided to ballot Metronet members for strike action. What we need now is a mass meeting, so rank-and-file Metronet workers can drive this dispute and ensure that it is organised as effectively as possible.

Your Right to a Rep?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 10/09/2005 - 15:13

It looks like LUL management are getting the hump about those pesky workers standing up for their rights. More and more of us are having the cheek to demand union representation at Fact Finding interviews.

LUL recognises your right to representation once the formal disciplinary procedure starts - though grudgingly, having been forced to by a legal ruling. But the company reckons that Fact Finding interviews only find out facts, so you don't need a rep.

Bad Air Day

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 09/09/2005 - 14:53

Still unable to make train radios work reliably, LUL is issuing 'air-wave radios'. The problem is that no-one seems to know what they are or how they work. The company has not properly consulted union health & safety reps or involved them in risk assessments.

Have you been trained in their use? How can you be sure that you will hear a Code Amber? Is this another case of train miles before safety?! Surely not!

Taken To the Cleaners

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 07/09/2005 - 17:01

A fair few staff have found that dry cleaners are refusing LUL cleaning tokens. Something about how LUL doesn't pay enough and takes ages to cough up. If this happens to you, keep your receipts, and demand your local management pay up!

We will have to bring this to the attention of our union officials - they might not be aware of the problem, especially if they have not put on a uniform for years ...

Deadly Fibres

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 07/09/2005 - 16:57

Asbestos needs removing from the track area at Bounds Green. Fair enough, you'd think, safety systems exist to ensure that staff are protected from the lethal fibres. At the very least, staff would be told about it. Or maybe not, since it seems that local management decided that there was no need to consult stations safety reps. Or to tell the staff. Hey, don't mind us - we only work here.

This is no joke. This stuff kills, and if management ignore the basics, we could all be at risk.

What Are They On?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 05/09/2005 - 16:52

When a Morden Train Maintainer with 30 years' service was sacked recently, something very ominous came to light. It seems that Alstom and TubeLines now have a policy to D&A test staff as part of their annual relicensing.

Underground employers already have the power to test us post incident, for cause, and unannounced. So this extra testing round is not about keeping people bright-eyed and sober, but about keeping us under an ever-more-authoritarian thumb.

If It's Not Safe, Don't Do It

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sun, 04/09/2005 - 15:39

LUL is trying to change the procedure for refusal to work on safety grounds, possibly by cutting out the role of senior managers. This policy is a crucial protection for us at work, and we can hazard a guess that if management want to change it, they are up to no good. Weakening the procedure will make it harder to refuse unsafe work, and easier for managers to bully us into putting ourselves at risk.

So, what are our unions doing about it? We need information and leadership - now.

In The Loop

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sun, 04/09/2005 - 15:37

In the current situation, it is vital that whenever there is a security alert, we all know what is going on. After all, not only are we on the frontline, we also keep passengers informed and prevent panic.

So why have drivers been held at signals for up to ten minutes with no information?! It's just not good enough - Line Controllers will have to do better.

Friday Night's Not Alright

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 03/09/2005 - 15:35

As Ruislip depot, Balfour Beatty management want Tube Recon Gangs to sign away the Friday night agreement, and agree instead to flat-rate compulsory overtime every rostered Friday. And they think we are cheap enough to accept this for a one-off £150.

Don't sign the slip. Vote Yes in the RMT's ballot for action.

Wrist Action

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 02/09/2005 - 15:29

The SPAD (that's Signals Passed At Danger, for you non-Underground workers earwigging the TW blog) Champ has really excelled himself this time, issuing drivers with wristbands stating that 'Professionalism Prevents Piccadilly SPADs' and 'Piccadilly Drivers Don't SPAD'. Tubeworker wonders when we will have our first SPAD caused by a driver being distracted by reading his/her wristband.

We suggest alternative wristband slogans:

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