Tubeworker's blog

Help Me If You Can Tubeworker Thu, 08/31/2017 - 16:01

Management have a cunning plan to help them avoid the consequences of de-staffing stations: linking help points to other stations so it seemingly doesn't matter if there is no-one on a station to help.

They decided that they would trial this at a few stations, but unfortunately 'forgot' to consult with our unions before sending out an email to staff telling them the trial was about to start. Rumbled by eagle-eyed union activists, management have had to insert their tail between their legs and put the trial on hold indefinitely. Guilty as charged.

No Witness Available? Tubeworker Fri, 08/25/2017 - 15:40

A member of station staff has been given a suspended dismissal by LU - a "gross misconduct" charge, the highest disciplinary sanction short of actually being sacked - for conducting cash-handling work without getting a witness... because they were lone working, and there was no witness available.

Wot No Risk Assessment? Tubeworker Thu, 08/24/2017 - 16:53

LUL is making pregnant women wait for workplace risk assessments because it doesn't have enough managers to carry them out.

LUL gave voluntary severance to a lot of the old station managers (DSMs) during its Fit for the Future reorganisation but has not trained its new managers, CSMs, to take over a lot of the work they used to do - including pregnancy risk assessments, even tho these are a requirement by law.

Don't help LU paper over cracks Tubeworker Thu, 08/24/2017 - 12:16

In a last minute hurry to get enough staff to assist with Notting Hill Carnival, LUL sent some SRT staff to Notting Hill Gate station to be familiarised. The station had no supervisor available to walk them round the station so the SRT staff were told to come back another time.

Good! CSAs familiarising their colleagues has become a common short cut, but that's not how it should be done. Why should we take short cuts and bend the rules to help disguise how short staffed LUL is?

We need to highlight short staffing at every opportunity.

The key to better work/life balance is a shorter working week Tubeworker Thu, 08/24/2017 - 12:15

Both RMT and Alsef are in dispute with Tube bosses over train drivers' poor work life balance. In 2015, the London Underground pay deal contained commitments from management, notably over pro rota working (an option to do less hours for less pay), a reduction in weekend working, and a trial of a "compacted" four day, 36-hour week. However, these commitments have not been met and a dispute has begun.

On all these issues but one, both train drivers' unions are in agreement.

Night Tube Nightmare Tubeworker Thu, 08/24/2017 - 10:09

Welcome though it is that Night Tube drivers have been able to move into full-time roles, it was somewhat remiss of LUL management to not arrange for their Night Tube posts to be filled - especially as there are plenty of Night Tube station staff who would willingly fill those posts.

Result: a massive shortfall in Night Tube driver numbers on the Piccadilly line, a ridiculously low level of train service, headways to make your eyes bulge, and grief for passengers, drivers and station staff.

Interserve must reinstate Kostatin! Tubeworker Tue, 08/22/2017 - 23:47

Interserve have sacked Upminster cleaner Kostanin for missing a return-to-work meeting scheduled during his annual leave.

As RMT explains, "Kostatin had two weeks leave booked, during which he travelled abroad to visit family. Unfortunately he was ill the week before his holiday and provided the employer with a note from his GP.

Fight the fascists! Tubeworker Tue, 08/22/2017 - 23:43

Recent scenes from America, where Heather Heyer, an anti-fascist activist, was murdered by a neo-Nazi in Charlottesville, have reminded us, again, that violent far-right organisation is not a thing of the past.

The resurgent white supremacist movement in the USA is emboldened by a president who is clearly in sympathy with some of its ideas, and who openly equivocates between Nazis and those mobilising to resist them.

Danny Davis sacking: a miscarriage of justice

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 08/18/2017 - 11:48

It has emerged that management used footage from only two of Ruislip Gardens' 17 CCTV cameras in the evidence bundle for the disciplinary panel that sacked Danny Davis.

Footage from cameras showing P-Way at the front of Danny’s train at the time of the incident was withheld.

This represents an outrageous miscarriage of justice that confirms that Danny's sacking was grossly unfair.

Testing the Water

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 08/10/2017 - 17:33

Our employer has to test our drinking water and certify it safe at regular intervals. This is one of those tasks that rather than do it itself, LUL prefers to pass the buck, whoops we mean contract out, the task to another firm.

Said firm has been caught with its metaphorical trousers down, having forged the water safety certificates. Yes, you read that right. Your drinking water may be "certified" safe by a forgery.

Pay Reinstated

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 08/10/2017 - 14:51

Drivers all over the network, in both RMT and Aslef, refused to cross RMT station staff picket lines at depots located at stations during the 8-9 January strike.

Others refused to drive on the grounds of safety, arguing that it was unsafe for LU to run trains through unstaffed stations. One such RMT driver on the Bakerloo Line had his pay docked for doing so, but after pursuing a grievance against management, has had it reinstated.

The lesson? Stand your ground!

Reinstate Danny Davis!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 08/04/2017 - 20:50

Central Line driver Danny Davis, a colleague with 20 years' service and an unblemished record, has been summarily dismissed following a PTI incident.

It was the type of mistake any driver could make, and for which other drivers have received coaching and support, not the sack.

Danny's union branch, RMT Central Line East, is preparing a ballot for industrial action, which will hopefully involve drivers at both ends of the line.

If justice isn't done, the dispute will need to escalate.

Interserve bosses plan to appoint reps

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 08/04/2017 - 20:40

As the transfer of LU stations cleaning contracts draws nearer, Interserve bosses have come up with a novel way of communicating with staff.

A letter sent to all employees says the company will speak to "appointed employee representatives", "gathered" from a pool of volunteers, and invites anyone interested to come forward.

Picc Of The Bunch!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 07/27/2017 - 20:20

Fleet maintenance workers on the Piccadilly Line have won an excellent victory in their fight for permanent jobs.

35 workers, employed on two-year, fixed-term contracts, will now be guaranteed permanent jobs.

It was achieved solely by the resolute direct action taken by workers, who stuck to a solid work-to-rule. The impact on the service was massive, with trains being unable to run, causing severe delays. They began their action on 25 July: it took less than 48 hours for management to cave completely.

Improvement Notice

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 07/25/2017 - 00:06

The Office of Rail and Road (ORR), the independent transport regulatory body, has issued an official "improvement notice" to LU regarding safety on stations.

The admonishment comes off the back of the tragic incident at Canning Town, where a passenger died after falling down stairs in a non-public area of the station. An investigation clearly showed that job cuts, which led to lone working and the control room being de-staffed, had played a key role.

Gender-Neutral Announcements part 2

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 07/20/2017 - 22:43

We are all used to receiving the memo with management's latest wheeze, giving us some new terminology or buzzword to use. It is usually annoying, ridiculous or both. But just occasionally, a change comes that, once you look at the issues, is fair enough - even welcome and progressive. One of these is the scrapping of the term 'Ladies and gentlemen' in announcements. Why is this a good move?

LU Attacks Our Reps

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 07/20/2017 - 18:23

Although we live in a (relatively) democratic society, that democracy ends almost entirely at the workplace. We are told what to do by managers no-one elected, paid vastly inflated salaries they decided amongst themselves. The only means by which workers (the people who really make society run) have ever been able to impose even minimal levels of democratic functioning into the workplace has been via our unions, which we have forced management to recognise, giving us structures through which to elect workplace representatives.

Vinci Immigration Busts?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 07/20/2017 - 18:00

<i>Tubeworker</i> HQ has heard rumours that Vinci cleaners are getting messages from their managers summoning them to random meetings where they're met with demands to produce their immigration papers or proofs of right-to-work.

UK immigration policy is a shifting landscape designed to discriminate against poorer migrants. If you get any invite to any formal meeting with management, tell your union and make sure you bring a rep. Speak to your rep first, as it may be appropriate to seek advice from the union's legal department about the best approach.

Cleaners: Meet The New Boss, Same As The Old Boss...

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 07/20/2017 - 17:45

It's been an open secret on the job for some time now that the recipient of London Underground's fabled "super-contract", via which it will consolidate the separate cleaning contracts currently held by Interserve, ISS, and Vinci, into one, will be ABM, a USA-based facilities management giant.

Yes to gender-neutral announcements, yes to real equality in the workplace!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 07/18/2017 - 13:50

<I>Tubeworker</I> fully supports the recent announcements that gender-specific announcements like "ladies and gentlemen" will be phased out in PAs and SATS.

The term "ladies and gentlemen" is outdated, and divide people on the basis of gender. Many people do not identify as male or female, or have fluid gender identities, so why should our announcements make these people feel excluded?

SATS in Civvies

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 07/17/2017 - 12:44

The Diplomatic Service is obviously a unique growth area in TfL, as Ambassadors have been popping up everywhere. This weekend, Travel Ambassadors have been popping up along the Central Line, at locations including Bethnal Green, Mile End and Ealing Broadway.

Of course, we wouldn't need extra help from admin staff in hi-vis if we had enough station staff in the first place, and we would have enough station staff in the first place if management hadn't cut the numbers repeatedly over recent years. But what do we know? We only work here.

Wot No Pay Rise?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 07/12/2017 - 23:29

Interserve staff have received letters from the company informing them that the increase in their pay review, already a fortnight late, has been pushed back from 1 July to 1 October. They have told staff they intend to implement a 2.5% increase from 1 October, but with no backpay to 1 July, the date staff should have had the increment.

Interserve's reasons for doing this are remarkably thin gruel. They cite "significant financial headwinds" - whatever the hell that means.

Wot No Privacy?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 07/08/2017 - 14:38

LUL management changing Station Supervisors into Customer Service Managers has significantly increased the number of managers, with staff's personal and medical details being shared liberally among them. This situation is unacceptable, and here at Tubeworker, we want our unions to challenge it.

When staff are sick, or have domestic problems, every CSM on their group gets to see a 'live file' that tells them all the details. Sometimes CSSs get involved too. Emails fly around telling groups of people about a staff member's private situation.

HOT mess

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 07/05/2017 - 21:06

Union safety reps have been telling LU for some time now that the "HOT procedure" for identifying suspect packages needs improving.

LU seem to have tacitly admitted that existing procedures are inadequate, but their changes make things worse. Rather than reviewing the "HOT procedure" and looking for ways to improve it, they've simply imposed an additional instruction that members of staff look inside suspicious bags and cases! So if we identify something as suspicious, we're now expected to start rifling around inside it.

SATS life?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 07/05/2017 - 20:52

The Area Manager at one busy Zone 1 station has opted for the stick over the carrot in response to some disappointing scorecard figures for staff presence on platforms. The AM has instructed CSMs and CSSs to make daily inspections of all SATS duties, effectively creating another level of performance management on top of the existing CMS.