Tubeworker's blog

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.

Bank/Monument station slaughtered Saturdays and Sundays.

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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).

Workers and passengers deserve not to work and travel in over-heated conditions!

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Major safety incident at Mile End

On Saturday 26 July, the Central Line was suspended after masonry fell on the track at Mile End.

Yep, that's right, masonry. Large, heavy, blocks of concrete. There is some indication the incident was caused by vibration from work being done on the track.

How will major safety incidents be dealt with if the company achieves their dream of trains with no drivers going through stations with no staff?

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LU jobs battle: prepare for more action!

A contribution to discussion about strategy in the fight against job cuts and ticket office closures on London Underground.

Management are determined to push ahead with cuts, and are reneging on previous commitments. We must be equally determined to stop them!

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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.

Station supervisors will 'decline' the 'invitation' to an assessment event that is part of fitting us into a reduced number of roles as a result of LU's job cuts program.

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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.

Our employers want us to know how valued we are... when it suits them.

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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.

A tribute to Brian Munro, reposted from the Workers' Liberty newspaper 'Solidarity'.

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Any Vacancies?

We're hearing reports that LU is picking and choosing which vacancies on stations it will fill, depending on how important it thinks they are.

We're hearing reports that LU is picking and choosing which vacancies on stations it will fill, depending on how important it thinks they are.

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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.

Cleaners working for ISS have been resisting biometric booking on, which is an immigration tool and an insult to dignity.

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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.

Major construction work happening while stations are open?

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LU jobs battle heats up again: prepare for more action!

We all thought the strikes had won pay protection for all station staff. But after weeks of negotiation, LU’s plans look drastically different.

LU is trying to weasel out of its commitment not to cut pay in any staffing reorganisation. The fight against its cuts goes on! Prepare for more action!

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What LU staff can do to support ISS cleaners

If ISS gets away with introducing "biometric fingerprinting", it could cost LU staff jobs. LU already wants more automated booking-on to justify removing station supervisors. Biometric booking-on is perfect for LU’s job cut plans. And if cleaning companies introduce biometric booking-on for their staff, will LU be far behind?

LU staff on stations where ISS has the cleaning contract, particularly station supervisors, can support cleaners by:

• Flooding the system with jobs if cleaners are sent home for refusing to touch these machines. Hurt ISS financially through fines.

LU staff on stations where ISS has the cleaning contract can take measures to support the cleaners' fight.

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Cleaners take on ISS: the modern-day David vs Goliath

ISS, which has the cleaning contract on some parts of the Tube, wants to introduce “biometric fingerprinting” machines for cleaners on the Jubilee, Northern, and Picadilly Lines.

ISS cleaners are fighting the introduction of "biometric fingerprinting".

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Cracking the Code

Who else has noticed the new captions that accompany the POD codes on electric gates?

Instead of just showing the code number, there’s now a little description as well... “36 – Please top up”, “21 – Card already used”, etc. The information was never intended to be a company secret (it's all over the internet, and there’s even a smartphone app you can download which tells you what all the codes mean), and Tubeworker is positively in favour of passengers being more informed about their journeys and ticketing issues.

Helping passengers "take ownership of their journey"... or more excuses to cut staff?

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Bakerloo drivers' ballot: vote yes!

RMT driver members on the Bakerloo Line are balloting for action short of strikes in a dispute over train maintenance procedure.

RMT driver members on the Bakerloo Line are balloting for action short of strikes in a dispute over train maintenance procedure. Tubeworker urges members to vote yes!

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Solidarity with the São Paulo subway workers' strike!

Subway workers in São Paulo, Brazil, are striking to win a 12% wage increase. Their strike is now into its fifth day.

Strikers and supporters clashed with riot police on Monday 9 June, as Brazil gears up for the start of the World Cup.

Workers in other industries have also struck, facing repression from the police and the military, as the approaching World Cup highlights glaring and growing social inequality in Brazil.

Subway workers in São Paulo, Brazil, are striking to win a 12% wage increase. Their strike is now into its fifth day.

Around the world: 

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World Cup "Common Sense"

"Businesses hail 'victory for common sense'", the Evening Standard bellows, announcing Transport for London's decision to lay on extra night bus services after England's first World Cup game on Saturday. The Standard claims its "appeal" for the extra transport is what swayed TfL.

So much expressed in so short a headline! How much it does indeed tell us about the "common sense" of London's "business community", and the values of its propaganda sheet, the Evening Standard!

Demanding an extended service while cheering on cuts...

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Where's Our Bonus?

LU workers have wondered, "where's our bonus?" for weeks. Instead of giving us a straight answer, LU has preferred to play mind games.

We've been asking "where's our bonus?" for weeks. But LU has been playing mind games.

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Defend Mark Harding

Mark Harding is an RMT rep who faces prison for carrying out picket duties during February’s strikes. He has been charged under UK’s restrictive anti trade union legislation; he appeared in court on 23 May, and will find out his verdict on 2 June.

We picket to make strike action effective; we have the right to ask people to respect our picket lines and build support for our action. This is picketing; it is not "intimidation" or "harassment". If the person pursuing this claim can convince a court that the act of picketing is "intimidation", then our right to picket is threatened.

Drop the charges! Defend the right to picket!

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Market Research

LU has paid a market research agency to say exactly what it wanted to hear from customers about the new LU uniform: feedback contained all LU’s jargon about making staff more visible, "identifiable", etc.

We have said we don’t want bright uniforms with huge logos. But LU will listen to market research companies rather than its own workers.

Strange how LU can find the money for market research on uniform, but refuses to carry out public consultation over job cuts...

LU will listen to market researchers, but not to its own staff.

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How cuts will hit diversity and equality

LU makes much of its reputation as an employer which promotes “diversity” and “equality”. But its real record is poor, and “Fit for the Future – Stations” job cuts look set to undo any advances made during the last decade.

Cuts will adversely affect every stations worker. But workers already facing inequality, such as women, black and ethnic minority, and disabled workers, will face particular negative consequences. Cuts will damage LU’s diversity. We must make sure we expose the truth about its record as an employer, and fight these cuts, which will lead to greater inequality.

LU's cuts will negatively impact on workers who already face huge inequality.

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