Tubeworker's blog

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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Who else saw the all-staff email from Sir Peter Hendy (he of the salary four times that of the Prime Minister, who our bosses still think is paid too little), thanking us all for the extra hard work we did to deliver the Tour de France in London?

Well, it's nice to be valued, isn't it? But the outpouring of gratitude (if one email can be considered a real display of gratitude) rings a little hollow when you consider the context and backdrop: a management offensive against jobs.

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Brian Munro, 1968-2014

This tribute to Brian Munro first appeared in the Workers' Liberty newspaper Solidarity on 4 July. Click here for the original.

Brian Munro, a London Underground worker, RMT Executive member, and former member of Workers’ Liberty and its predecessor group Socialist Organiser, died on Saturday 28 June after a long battle with ocular melanoma, an extremely rare form of eye cancer.

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Cleaners Give Biometrics The Finger!

Since Monday 7 July, cleaners in the RMT have been taking industrial action by refusing to touch biometric booking on machines. The machines are an insult to cleaners' dignity; ISS has admitted it will share data with the Home Office to be used as an immigration tool.

ISS has "locked out" cleaners who have refused to touch the machines. Cleaners are saying they are willing to work; they just don't want to hand over unique data to an untrustworthy employer. But ISS is sending cleaners home without pay.

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Come on, feel the noise!

The escalator refurb at Kilburn Park is finished now. While it was underway, late-turn CSAs had to work next to an active construction site, with work beginning well before the station closed each night.

The noise was phenomenally loud. Unlike the SSs, the CSAs don't have a walled-off office to sit in (the GLAP is hardly soundproof, and besides, they're needed on the gateline!), and unlike the L&E engineers, they don't have protective equipment.

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