Tubeworker's blog

Falling Rocks

Yesterday morning, the job really did go right up the wall.

We reported just a few weeks back about lumps of concrete falling onto tracks and endangering life and limb. That time, it was on the Central Line, this time it's the Met/H&C.

The falling rock fouled the juice rails and the running rails, and it was only the alertness of a track workers that prevented a potentially-disastrous derailment.

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Ban's back on!

The RMT has reinstated its overtime ban in the "Every Job Matters" dispute, covering stations and revenue grades, effective from Wednesday 24 September.

Tubeworker thinks it was wrong to suspend the ban in the first place (see here), but it's positive that it's been put back on.

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Reinstate Noel and Alex!

Two Tube workers have been sacked by LU on entirely unjust grounds. The RMT is rightly fighting for reinstatement.

Noel Roberts has been "medically terminated" despite everyone from his GSM to his GP to LUOH agreeing that he's fit for work. After some time off, Noel has been back at work for 10 months and hasn't missed a single day. Management have stitched Noel up in order to get rid of him. Read more about his case here.

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Farewell Phil

So, Farewell Phil. You weren't here very long, but you managed to announce the closure of all ticket offices and a thousand job cuts before jumping ship and boarding HMS Network Rail.

We're sure it was tough, but equally sure that you were handsomely rewarded for your efforts, and will continue to be so in your new post.

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Fares Freeze?!

BoJo and TfL's spin machine announces that fares will be 'frozen', but goes on to define this as 'on average going up by the rates of inflation'.

So, not a fares freeze then. Many working-class people have not seen their wages go up in line with inflation, so the fares rise will be an increase in real terms - as well as cash terms - for them. Moreover, when the Mayor states that the inflation-rate rise will be 'on average', we can expect that to mean that some fares will rise by more than inflation.

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Dirty Drain

You could be taking a big risk if you take a swig of water in the Waterloo & City line depot.

The site used to be a chemical plant, and it seems that some of the chemicals might have, erm, lingered. In a recent test of the water, it tested positive for nine out of fifteen pollutants.

Yuk. No wonder it's known as 'The Drain'. It doesn't sound safe to work from to us.

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Card Clash

Does LU management seriously think that by pumping out repeated PAs about 'card clash', the introduction of contactless payment next week will go smoothly?

What about the (many) people who can't hear well, wear headphones, or just tune out and don't listen to announcements? We would have added 'don't understand English' to that list, but we've a feeling that the language of the PA script is actually LU jargon rather than plain English. Unless you're fluent in the lingo of 'card clash' and 'contactless', it's likely to go over your head.

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RMT calls off action after LU legal threats: union musn't back down now! Name more action!

The RMT has called of its overtime ban and boycott of the Station Supervisor "development days", due to begin tomorrow (3 September), after London Underground threatened legal action. (See the union's statement for more.)

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Build the ban, prepare for strikes!

The RMT has called an overtime ban for all station grades members, effective from 00.01 on 3 September. RMT has also announced a boycott of the "development days" that Station Supervisors are expected to attend, effective from the same date/time. (For details of the action, see here.) Tubeworker hopes that these actions are part of the build up to further strikes.

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Ministry of Truth

The bumph for Station Supervisors about the proposed new CSM role includes a tabletop exercise set on a fictional line, which delights in the name of ... the Orwell line.

How deliciously appropriate. We can only assume that this is a tribute to the 1984-like qualities of Fit for the Future - Stations.

After all, it claims to make staff more visible while making us less visible, to improve customer service while cutting it back, and to give us new opportunities by getting rid of our current jobs!

Orwell's Ministry of Truth couldn't have put it better.

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Every Job Matters dispute: we need to strike again!

RMT held a members' meeting last week to discuss taking further action in the "Every Job Matters" dispute against staffing cuts and ticket office closures. It's good that such meetings are taking place. Management remain intransigent, and they're looking to weasel out of commitments they made after our previous strikes. We need more action.

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As LU goes public with its lies, we need to go public with the truth!

We wrote last week about LU's dishonest attempt to disguise its staff cut proposals as the 'result' of the 'station by station review'.

Now LU is due to spread these lies further. It tells us it's going to share these results with the London Assembly and London Travelwatch, the statutory body that regulates public transport in London.

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LU thinks we're paid too much? Most workers are paid too little!

There has been an unprecedented fall in real wages in recent years. LU seems to be using this as an opportunity to slash pay. Fighting to retain jobs at our current wages not only protects us, but also benefits workers who are paid too little.

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More on the Central Line drivers' strike

ASLEF union members on the Central Line walked out yesterday (22 August), bringing the entire line to a virtual standstill, with no service at all on the Waterloo and City Line.

In a statement, ASLEF accused Transport for London of a “failure to treat drivers with the respect and dignity they deserve”.

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ASLEF drivers on Central Line strike

A strike by ASLEF drivers on the Central Line today (Friday 22 August) was solid, knocking out the entire train service through central London and reducing LU to running shuttle services west of White City and east of Leytonstone.

Drivers were striking over local breakdowns in industrial relations at certain Central Line depots.

Tubeworker will carry more coverage, discussion, and analysis on the Central Line drivers' dispute in the coming day.

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Speed-Up Central

Do management have an unwritten rule that once a decade has passed, the lessons of a serious accident can be quietly dropped?

Maybe so. After all, they seem to think that the 92 Stock trains on the Central Line can run at 100kph, despite the 85kph limit imposed after the Chancery Lane derailment in 2003.

That disaster was caused by a motor falling off the train, after inadequate bolts were fitted by agencies using dodgy equipment. But it was also found that even with better bolts fitted properly, they were still vulnerable to damage from resonance above 85kph.

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Weekend Woes

Spare a thought for the staff - and passengers - at Bank/Monument at weekends.
The (massive) station is woefully understaffed, with CSAs run off their feet and "customers" struggling to find the "step-fee access" the maps promise them, as the gateline by the lift landing is closed.
The company seems to still think that because Bank is in the heart of the City of London, it must be dead at the weekend. Perhaps that was true twenty years ago, but there's been a huge increase in passenger numbers since then.

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Hotting up...

There's been a mini-scandal in the media recently about temperature levels on the Underground, after it was discovered that a Central Line train was hotter than the legal maximum for transporting cattle (for more, see here).

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An Invitation?

All LU station supervisors have been sent an 'invitation to a three day development centre'. It is intended to identify who is 'management material' and who deserves to be demoted: it's all part of Fit for the Future - Stations, LU's plan to shift us into a reduced number of 'new' roles.

To help us prepare, we're expected go through online modules 'similar to the hazard perception driver theory test'. We're expected to find 'quiet periods at work' to do them.

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