All sorts of troubling reports are reaching Tubeworker HQ about the depths to which the company is sinking to keep things afloat as our industrial action continues and our overtime ban bites.
One correspondent writes: "During the 8-9 July strike, it's rumoured that one of the 'all singing, all dancing' NIRMs (Network Incident Response Managers) covered a shunter's role despite having no line or geographical knowledge of the location, no technical training, and being an ex-DSM as opposed to ex-DMT or DRM."
We can't confirm the rumour, and as our correspondent was on strike at the time, they obviously weren't in work to check for themselves. But it's not difficult to believe. And it's not the only such story we've heard. We all know about the scandalous situation on the District Line, where drivers were sent home for upholding safety standards after LU used unqualified staff to prep trains (for more, see here), risking the safety of both passengers and staff. But they've also been desparately staving off station closures by drafting in DRMs (who, while technically familiarised and licensed, often have little recent hands-on experience of working on or running stations) to make up the numbers.
Our frontline correspondents tell us it's only a matter of time before a big Zone 1 station is forced to close due to staff shortages. And, with our next strike imminent, will untrained (and maybe even unqualified and unlicensed) managers be used to do work on the strike day?
This reminds us of two basic facts about London Underground: one, they're prepared to cut corners when it comes to safety in order to avoid the fines that come with delays and disruptions. And two, the network is so poorly staffed that they're totally reliant on overtime, and when we refuse to do it, managers are sent into a blind panic! The simple solution? More staff!