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.
RMT's Trains Health and Safety Council has written to the company demanding urgent answers on how this major safety incident happened, and why union health and safety reps weren't contacted (instead having to find out via social media!). One senior LU manager made the ludicrous claim that, because the masonry fell into the pit, and not onto the actual track, safety was never an issue anyway!
Fortunately, no-one was injured in the incident. But what if such an incident took place in a dystopian future where the company has won all its battles - so there's no driver on the train, and the station is staffed by a skeleton crew of semi-casualised CSAs (if at all)? Who'll be there to deal with safety incidents like this, to evacuate stations if necessary, to help and reassure passengers?
Local union activists say that service was resume with only a cursory inspection by structural engineers, with no input from health and safety reps, again showing management's readiness to cut corners when it comes to safety.
This also happens to be the same stretch of track where a derailment took place in 2007, following several other safety incidents in the same area. Health and safety reps' warnings were consistently ignored then, too.
Proper safety standards need more staff, not fewer, and for elected health and safety representatives to be on the frontline and listened to by the company.