Tubeworker's blog

The Great Train Sale

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 01/19/2018 - 00:08

London Underground plans to sell off some of its trains so it can raise £875 million to pay for new Piccadilly Line trains. Once sold, LU will rent the trains back in order to keep running its services. Long-term LU will end up spending far more in rent to a private company than if it had paid for the new Piccadilly train upgrade directly.

Save Our Canteen!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 01/19/2018 - 00:06

London Underground wants to close Harrow on the Hill canteen to make way for new lifts at the station.

We're all for improving access to the Tube, but don't do it at the expense of staff facilities. The closure would leave the Met with no canteen on the line.

If LU gets away with this on one line, it will no doubt look to save money by doing it on others. Hundreds of staff have already signed a petition about this. If you want to add your name, contact your rep. Local reps on both trains and station side are working to oppose the closure.

False Alarm? Tubeworker Fri, 01/19/2018 - 00:02

Our unions have been told that the Department for Transport is soon to issue new guidance on the procedure for assessing suspicious items. It will be mandatory to open bags; external visual inspection is no longer enough.

This is all about reducing "lost customer hours". The government must think over-cautious staff are causing too many delays with 'false alarm' security alerts. But isn't it better that we treat security concerns seriously without putting ourselves at risk in the process?

DLR ISS workers to strike again Tubeworker Thu, 01/18/2018 - 09:27

Cleaners and security workers employed by ISS on the DLR will strike again from 1-3 February.

Following a solid strike on New Year's Eve, RMT is organising further action in an attempt to force ISS to adhere to its own agreed procedures for negotiating changes to working practises. The union also wants ISS to respond to its pay claim.

As well as the strike, RMT has also called action-short-of-strike from 5-10 February, in the form of a work-to-rule around risk assessments.

Don't sacrifice the framework! Tubeworker Thu, 01/18/2018 - 09:20

An Aslef leaflet is being circulated around train depots attacking RMT for "blocking" Aslef's "four day week" plan.

NYE pay shambles Tubeworker Thu, 01/18/2018 - 09:11

There seems to have been an almighty cock-up when it comes to station workers' New Year's Eve payments.

Opening their payslips this week, many workers who worked overtime or rest-day-working on New Year's Eve seem to have been short-paid, or not paid at all. Some have been told the rest will be paid in February's pay, but a company like LU shouldn't be making its workers wait until mid-February to be paid for work they did in December.

Drivers call for dispute over SPAD policy Tubeworker Thu, 01/18/2018 - 08:58

RMT drivers at the west end of the Piccadilly Line have called for a dispute over management's misapplication of the SPAD policy, after a long-serving driver was dipped to CSA2 after four SPADs. The driver was not given the option of a move to an automatic line. The demotion to CSA2 could represent a pay-cut of nearly £30,000.

ISS mess Tubeworker Thu, 01/18/2018 - 08:54

ISS cleaners on the JNP are due to transfer onto the new ABM contract in early February. But workers say the transfer process so far has been a shambles.

ISS cleaners have not been given any ABM uniform, with no sign of it arriving soon, but are being told their ISS uniform must be handed back. No interim provisions have been put in place for the switch from ISS's fortnightly payment system to ABM's monthly one, meaning workers could go 40 days without being paid.

Train prep fight still brewing Tubeworker Thu, 01/04/2018 - 13:40

Management are still spoiling for a fight over their planned cuts to train prep.

They want to reduce then frequency from 24 to 96 hours, meaning some trains will be running for 3-4 days without having basic safety checks performed.

Unions are discussing the issue with senior bosses. Tubeworker says that if LU doesn’t back down pronto, unions declare a dispute.

Asset Operations Boxing Day dispute: good news and bad news Tubeworker Thu, 01/04/2018 - 13:36

Asset Operations workers balloted for strikes to secure the same Boxing Day bonus other engineering workers get.

After RMT balloted its members, management agreed to pay the bonus to most workers. Unfortunately, however, the ballot failed to meet the turnout threshold required by the new anti-union laws.

So, two important lessons: one, sometimes even the threat of action will force concessions. And two, it’s vital every member votes in industrial action ballots!

"Roadmap" to pay parity at Ruislip Depot Tubeworker Thu, 01/04/2018 - 13:31

RMT members at the ex-AP JNP Transplant Depot at Ruislip planned a work-to-rule from 20 December, in a dispute to win pay parity with Engineering Train Operators and others, who’d recently secured a 6.1% pay increase.

Perhaps knowing that an effective work-to-rule could stop the job, management came back to the table, and have agreed a “roadmap” to pay parity.

They’ll need holding to this commitment; industrial action may still be necessary in future.

Cleaners left behind Tubeworker Thu, 01/04/2018 - 13:29

ABM cleaners across the network are still waiting on vital uniform and PPE.

With ex-ISS staff due to formally transfer over to ABM in February, these issues must be resolved.

If they’re not, RMT should consider action.

Fight the Funding Cut Tubeworker Thu, 12/21/2017 - 14:50

The Tory government has savagely cut Transport for London’s funding. TfL will lose £700m per year over the next five years, and from this coming year onwards, it will receive no public grants towards its operations.

ABM QR codes not Quite Right Tubeworker Tue, 12/19/2017 - 21:22

Cleaning contractor ABM's shiny new QR-code sign-in system is, predictably, causing problems.

Cleaners are supposed to scan tag points fixed to the wall using a QR-reader app on their phones to sign in and out of stations. ABM uses the data to work out pay.

But the app is unreliable, often failing to read the codes in less well-lit stations, and sometimes simply not working at all. Cleaners are worried about being short-paid as a consequence.

Overground Night Service Tubeworker Fri, 12/15/2017 - 22:09

Spare a thought for those staff affected by London Overground's night service, which kicks off tonight.

The Overground stations will be staffed by security guards, if they are staffed at all. And the affected London Underground stations? Who knows? There has been practically zero consultation with our unions about how the stations will deal with the extra demand.

Engineering workers to vote on strikes against Scrooge bosses Tubeworker Mon, 12/04/2017 - 15:01

LU gives additional payments to, or makes special arrangements for, workers in many departments for working over Christmas and Boxing Day. The unions' ongoing battles for fair working practises for drivers on Boxing Day are well known.

But Asset Operations workers have no additional payment or any other form of recognition or remuneration for working over these days, despite the obvious impact on work/life balance.

DLR security workers balloting for strikes Tubeworker Mon, 12/04/2017 - 14:57

RMT is balloting its members working as security staff for ISS on the DLR contract for strikes.

Neither ISS nor Keolis Amey Docklands, the contract holder, has meaningfully responded to the union's pay claim. On top of this, ISS is making a mess of rostering by offering shifts to workers outside of their contracted grade and responsibilities.

The ballot closes on 14 December. Tubeworker encourages all those balloted to vote yes!

Un-Appealing Tubeworker Mon, 12/04/2017 - 14:51

As Tubeworker has previously reported, it seems that many CSMs across the job are being instructed in how to conduct LDIs by their Area Managers.

Many AMs seem to be training CSMs to treat the process as automatic: breach the attendance standard, an LDI is automatically convened, a 26-week warning is automatically issued. No discretion, no actual investigation into the circumstances, the process is a formality.

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.