Interserve must reinstate Kostatin!

Interserve have sacked Upminster cleaner Kostanin for missing a return-to-work meeting scheduled during his annual leave.

As RMT explains, "Kostatin had two weeks leave booked, during which he travelled abroad to visit family. Unfortunately he was ill the week before his holiday and provided the employer with a note from his GP.

Tubeworker topics: 

Fight the fascists!

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.

Tubeworker topics: 

On the frontlines against DOO

A report from a Northern guard

Our depot is solid with regards to the strike action. We only have 21 guards, of whom 17 have appeared on the picket line at one time or another (we average about 11 people on each strike day). Newcastle, Workington and Barrow are likewise unified.

Trade Unions: 

Danny Davis sacking: a miscarriage of justice

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.

Tubeworker topics: 

Testing the Water

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.

Tubeworker will be checking before we drink any, and if there is no guaranteed safe drinking water, then we reckon that it may well not be safe to work.

Tubeworker topics: 

Pay Reinstated

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!

Tubeworker topics: 

Reinstate Danny Davis!

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.

Tubeworker topics: 

Interserve bosses plan to appoint reps

As the transfer of LU stations cleaning contracts draws nearer, Interserve bosses have come up with a novel way of communicating with staff.

A letter sent to all employees says the company will speak to "appointed employee representatives", "gathered" from a pool of volunteers, and invites anyone interested to come forward.

Tubeworker topics: 

Picc Of The Bunch!

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.

Tubeworker topics: 

Improvement Notice

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.

Tubeworker topics: 

'Third Party' Tyranny Against Catering Staff

Call to support and stamp out unacceptable working conditions for our members who are facing the tyranny of their scabby employers but the might of TOCs and their contractual arrangements with their suppliers.

Over two weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending a RMT reps course at Doncaster. What struck me was how, on the whole, the working conditions of the other course members differed to the members I represent - onboard catering hosts working for a contractor.

Gender-Neutral Announcements part 2

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?

Tubeworker topics: 

LU Attacks Our Reps

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.

Tubeworker topics: 

Vinci Immigration Busts?

Tubeworker 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.

Tubeworker topics: 

Cleaners: Meet The New Boss, Same As The Old Boss...

It's been an open secret on the job for some time now that the recipient of London Underground's fabled "super-contract", via which it will consolidate the separate cleaning contracts currently held by Interserve, ISS, and Vinci, into one, will be ABM, a USA-based facilities management giant.

Tubeworker topics: 

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

Tubeworker 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?

Tubeworker topics: 

SATS in Civvies

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.

Tubeworker topics: 

Four-day week trial to end

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.

Tubeworker topics: 

Picc fleet workers gear up for action in fight for permanent jobs

Picc fleet workers will commence industrial action from 25 July in their dispute to win permanent jobs and push back casualisation.

RMT members will participate in various forms of "action-short-of-strike":

Tubeworker topics: 

Wot No Pay Rise?

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.

Tubeworker topics: 

Disabled Activists' Strike Solidarity

Disabled activists will be joining picket lines tomorrow morning to support all three strikes against driver-only operation (DOO).

The companies' threat to remove guards is not just a threat to our jobs - for many disabled people, it threatens their right to travel on the railway at all. Many of us had helped disabled passengers access the train service, have intervened to stop harassment of disabled passengers, or - more ominously - have dealt with the fallout when the lack of a guard has left disabled passengers stranded and distressed.

Issues and Campaigns: 

Trade Unions: 

Wot No Privacy?

LUL management changing Station Supervisors into Customer Service Managers has significantly increased the number of managers, with staff's personal and medical details being shared liberally among them. This situation is unacceptable, and here at Tubeworker, we want our unions to challenge it.

When staff are sick, or have domestic problems, every CSM on their group gets to see a 'live file' that tells them all the details. Sometimes CSSs get involved too. Emails fly around telling groups of people about a staff member's private situation.

Tubeworker topics: 

HOT mess

Union safety reps have been telling LU for some time now that the "HOT procedure" for identifying suspect packages needs improving.

LU seem to have tacitly admitted that existing procedures are inadequate, but their changes make things worse. Rather than reviewing the "HOT procedure" and looking for ways to improve it, they've simply imposed an additional instruction that members of staff look inside suspicious bags and cases! So if we identify something as suspicious, we're now expected to start rifling around inside it.

Tubeworker topics: 

SATS life?

The Area Manager at one busy Zone 1 station has opted for the stick over the carrot in response to some disappointing scorecard figures for staff presence on platforms. The AM has instructed CSMs and CSSs to make daily inspections of all SATS duties, effectively creating another level of performance management on top of the existing CMS.

Tubeworker topics: 

Picc fleet workers vote for strikes

Fleet workers on the Picc have returned a thumping majority for strikes in their fight for permanent jobs, easily clearing the thresholds of the Trade Union Act.

144 workers were balloted, with 121 (84%) returning their ballot papers. 115 voted for strikes, and 119 for action short of strikes. Six workers voted against strikes, and two against action short. That's an 80% majority for action!

The dispute aims to force LU/TubeLines to make all new jobs permanent, and abandon their current plans to recruit new staff on two-year fixed-terms contracts.

Tubeworker topics: 


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