Tubeworker's blog

Votes yes for action at Ruislip depot!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 11/20/2017 - 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, 11/20/2017 - 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, 11/20/2017 - 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, 11/13/2017 - 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, 11/13/2017 - 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 ...

No cuts to Wembley Central event staff!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 11/08/2017 - 14:00

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.

"Transformation" means job cuts

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 11/07/2017 - 11:06

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.

Change to drivers' agreement penalises junior drivers

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 11/07/2017 - 11:01

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.

Return of the Rainbow?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 11/03/2017 - 10:24

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.

ABM bribes cleaners?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 10/26/2017 - 00:35

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.

100 years since the Russian Revolution: what happened, and why it matters

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 10/23/2017 - 13:15

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.

Stay Another Day?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 10/19/2017 - 09:33

What is it with management, thinking we can just add hours of (unpaid) travelling time to our working week just to suit their latest reshuffle?

They want to move some engineering staff from Cody Road (in E16) to Lillie Bridge, over in West Kensington. That's 50 minutes travelling time away.

While management hide in their bunkers pushing us around like plastic figures on a wartime map, we confidently expect our union reps to insist that this ridiculous move is stopped.

4-day week? Only for full-timers.

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 10/19/2017 - 09:14

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.

Seeing red (tabards)!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 10/17/2017 - 00:00

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.

ABM: More of the same

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 10/16/2017 - 23:56

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.

Pain in the art?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 10/16/2017 - 23:43

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.

Solidarity with the Picturehouse cinema workers' strikes!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 10/06/2017 - 20:14

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.

Aslef strike off

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 10/06/2017 - 19:28

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.

Aslef calls strike for 5 October

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 09/25/2017 - 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, 09/25/2017 - 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, 08/31/2017 - 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.

Wot No Risk Assessment?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 08/24/2017 - 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.