RMT is balloting fleet workers at Ealing Common, Neasden, Hearne House, Hammersmith, and Upminster depots for industrial action to resist LU's plan to have trains run in automatic mode ("Automatic Train Operation", ATO; also known as "Automatic Train Control", ATC) in depot sidings.
This is a safety risk, as there is a greater likelihood of another person being on or near the track in a sidings (e.g., a fleet worker, a track worker, another driver, or a cleaner). With trains running in manual, drivers are in full control and can perform emergency stops if necessary. Currently, all running in sidings is done in manual mode.
If management wants to change something, the question should be: does it make things safer? There's no case to be made that imposing ATO in depots and sidings increases safety. There's no way we should accept the imposition of additional risk, even if it's relatively slight. Downgrading the role of the driver in the situation could also be another small step towards driverless trains.
The ballot closes on 26 August; vote yes/yes!