Take Your Picc

Published on: Thu, 17/03/2016 - 23:27

RMT drivers on the Picc Line will strike against an out-of-control management on 23-24 March, 19-20 April, and 20-21 April. We hope members of the Associated Society will be joining picket lines too.

RMT reported that negotiations aimed at resolving the dispute were sabotaged by uncooperative bosses.

Workers in pretty much every function, grade, and area will recognise the picture from the Picc: managers drunk on power, wielding disciplinary sanctions in an arbitrary and authoritarian fashion. That seems to be the flavour of the month (year?) for LU managers right across the board.

A solid strike on the Picc could stop managers at Picc depots in their tracks, and send a strong signal to dictatorial bosses elsewhere on the job.

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Picc Line drivers, DLR cleaners: vote yes for strikes!

Published on: Sat, 20/02/2016 - 16:06

Back in October 2015, Picc Line drivers voted for strikes against an increasingly out-of-control management that was abusing its own disciplinary procedures. The unfair sacking of a driver was a particularly spectacular example.

After an 85% majority voted for strikes (undoubtedly a big factor in forcing the company to reinstate the driver, albeit as a CSA), things calmed down a bit. But they've now flared up again, with managers ripping up procedures and creating a culture of arbitrary and authoritarian discipline.

It's a sad state of affairs when we have to strike just to force management to stick to its own (usually inadequate) policies, but that's where we are.

RMT will ballot drivers for strikes from 22 February to 8 March. Make sure you vote yes. Aslef drivers should respect the picket lines.

Meanwhile, over on the Docklands Light Railway, RMT will be balloting Interserve cleaners for strikes against job cuts and unilateral changes to contracts and shifts. Tubeworker readers will be familiar with Interserve's many pleasant, worker-friendly practises on LU, like slashing jobs and routinely short-paying its staff. Strikes by Interserve workers on DLR already forced a 75p/hour pay increase; further strikes can force them to back off from their cuts plans.

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Strike For Your Future!

Published on: Fri, 29/01/2016 - 13:17

As London Underground prepares to impose “Fit for the Future” on three station groups from 7 February, and elsewhere from April, RMT has called a strike of all station staff from 21.00 on Saturday 6 February until 20.59 on Monday 8 February.

What we want

No member of station staff needs reminding what a nightmare “Fit for the Future” will be. We oppose the entire model, top to bottom. But even if we don’t force LU to abandon it, we can still win concessions. For example, we demand:

• Redrawn rosters to guarantee no-one works more weekends than presently
• Jobs put back into rosters and guarantees that vacancies will be filled
• No worsening of the existing Framework
• Protection of earnings for all SAMFs who cannot do the night working required by their new forced promotions into Supervisor grades
• Adequate training and remuneration for CSAs forced to undertake former ticket office work.
• Don't turn supervisors into bosses who discipline their workmates.
• Bring back seated roles on stations, as many staff can't stand up all day.

Can stations-only strikes be effective?

Yes. A solid strike of station staff will lead to station closures, particularly of Section 12 stations, hitting the company’s revenue hard. It won’t be a total shutdown, but if our strike is solid, we can cause chaos.

Even where stations don’t close, management will be sent into blind panic mode, digging out hi-vis for managers who haven’t done a proper day’s work in years, madly trying to get people familiarised. There’s no question is would throw management off balance.

Tubeworker has always called for the maximum possible unity of grades; we opposed the decision to de-escalate the dispute against "Fit for the Future" into a stations-only issue last summer, and we opposed the suspension of the planned all-grades strikes on pay/Night Tube on 27 January. We also opposed the suspension of "Every Job Matters" strikes on that date.

The current stations-only approach is not without risks. We have to work to make the upcoming strikes as solid as possible.

Other grades, particularly drivers, can show solidarity.

What next?

The 6-8 February strike must a precursor to ongoing action, aimed at disrupting the implementation of “Fit for the Future” and forcing concessions from the company.

We should consider creative forms of action: how about a day where everyone books on two hours late for their shift? How about the late turns booking off two hours early? How about staff on groups where the “Fit for the Future” rosters are imposed “reclaiming” some of our weekend rest days by striking? There are lots of possibilities. Unions could use hardship funds to help out members who end up taking more action than others because of how their duties fall.

Everything should be considered. The only thing that should be ruled out is doing nothing. Let’s start with a solid strike on 6-8 February and keep the pressure on.

An all-grades fight

It’s frustrating that the all-grades unity with which the “Every Job Matters” campaign was launched in 2013 has now broken down. That needs rebuilding. A management on attack on one grade should be seen as an attack on all of us.

In the immediate term, other grades should support the stations action. Drivers can refuse to drive if they feel stations aren’t staffed to safe levels. They should insist on assisted dispatch.

RCIs, who were not balloted as part of the most recent "Every Job Matters" strike ballot, should refuse to cover CSA or SS work on stations during strike days.

Admin and other staff should do "ICSA" work (which is not compulsory), and engineers can refuse to book on at stations which aren't properly staffed and supervised by qualified supervisors.

This is not about other grades taking action “for” station staff. It’s about all of us resisting an attack on us as a workforce.

Pay/Night Tube: Reject The Deal!

LU is still insisting that the pay offer, the Night Tube settlement, and “Fit for the Future” are all linked.

Tubeworker believes the pay offer is shoddy and should be rejected on its own terms. We were against the 27 January and 16/18 February strikes being called off.

If LU insists on making it contingent on accepting “Fit for the Future”, there’s even more reason to reject it. We cannot allow our bosses to tell us we can only get a pay rise if we agree to huge job cuts on stations!

Unions may soon begin referendums of members on the deal; Tubeworker encourages you to vote no.

Tubeworker topics

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Strikes are on: build, and push for more!

Published on: Tue, 12/01/2016 - 08:53

Aslef, RMT, and Unite have named strikes for 26-27 January, 15-16 February, and 17-18 February. Each strike is for 24 hours, commencing on the evening of the first day and continuing until the following evening. TSSA's leadership is meeting tomorrow and may join the action.

These strikes are part of the ongoing dispute over pay, terms and conditions, and the "Night Tube" settlement. The company's offer, tabled in November, is pretty shoddy, for reasons we set out at the time.

That three unions have returned to battle stations after months of quiet is a hugely positive and welcome development. We have to make these strikes count: the shutdown of the network needs to be total, picket lines need to be well supported and vibrant, engaging with the public to explain that, contrary to tabloid myths, we're not simply striking for more money but for a decent settlement on terms and conditions that protects our work/life balance.

RMT, which has a live station-grades-only mandate for action on "Fit for the Future", also needs to use that mandate to call further strikes on this issue as soon as possible. Tubeworker likes the idea of striking for a sustained period over the days around the proposed "Fit for the Future" imposition on 7 February.

While joint union action will have an increased impact, 24-hour strikes will have a limited effect. While our immediate energies need to be focused on making our next strike as solid as possible, we also need to keep in mind that we need to step up our action.

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Engineers: Vote Yes for Strikes!

Published on: Sat, 09/01/2016 - 18:53

Engineers in the RMT are currently taking part in two strike ballots, both concluding on 28 January.

TubeLines staff are being balloted for strikes over pay. Reps overwhelmingly rejected a settlement (which also covers proposed pay and terms conditions arrangements for the proposed "Night Tube") that was equivalent to the deal offered to LU staff, which unions have also rejected.

Meanwhile, a ballot is underway for strikes over track safety. New LU procedures have severely eroded the protections previously in place for use of the track. There was an incident on Piccadilly Line track on 10 December, where track workers only avoided serious accident after a technician alerted them that an engineering train was heading towards them. There is no excuse for this kind of near miss!

We need proper procedures in place to protect us when we're working on the track. LU's Section 15 possession procedures are a fatal accident waiting to happen.

Vote yes for strikes on pay and safety!

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Station grades: Overtime ban back on from 3 January, prepare for strikes!

Published on: Sat, 26/12/2015 - 17:48

LU has indicated it may rush to impose new contracts on station staff, particularly in the areas where it wants to launch “Fit for the Future” first (King’s Cross, and the east end of the Central Line).

Tubeworker is pleased that this has stirred RMT to reinstating an overtime ban on stations from 3 January, and to contemplate renewing strike action.

The overtime ban can really hurt the company if it's enforced. Reps and activists should get out across the job to make sure it's upheld. It won't win us our disputes on our own, but it can be an effective element in a diverse range of industrial action tactics we use to pressure the employer. Hopefully other unions will follow this lead.

Many members feel we need to swiftly follow up the overtime ban with an announcement of strikes. That view seems to be shared by regional union leaders; however, we are concerned about how often the word “if” comes first (as in: “we will strike if LU imposes new contracts, or “if” it imposes Fit for the Future in some areas before others).

Isn’t LU already doing enough – cutting 800 jobs, wrecking our work-life balance – to warrant industrial action?! Advertising Train Op vacancies externally is another attack, undermining the possibility of career progression for stations grades. We don’t need to wait for further provocation before we strike.

There’s also clear grounds for strikes over pay. All unions have rejected the offer, which is barely an increase at all and would be erased for most of us by increases in National Insurance Contributions.

We need all-grades strikes as soon as possible.

Tubeworker topics

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New Contract Threat

Published on: Mon, 14/12/2015 - 18:02

LU has indicated it may rush to impose new contract on station staff, particularly in the areas where it wants to launch "Fit for the Future" first (King's Cross, and the east end of the Central Line).

It seems the company has grown tired of pretending it's interested in negotiating constructively with unions and plans to bulldoze its plans through.

A provocation of this kind needs a decisive response. It's time to strike.

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That's The Way To Do It!

Published on: Tue, 08/12/2015 - 03:34

RMT has announced not one, not two, but SEVENTEEN strike days on the DLR, including two four-day strikes, across the first four months of 2016.

DLR workers struck in November, bringing the network to a complete standstill. Now, instead of letting negotiations trundle on indefinitely, or announcing one or two more strikes of a day or two and seeing where that gets them, they've sent a very clear signal to management: multiple sets of strikes, all announced at once, escalating over several months.

Tubeworker would like to see similar tactics used in our disputes on LU. And as we're hopefully just about to put management's latest pay offer where it belongs (in the bin), maybe we could even coordinate our strikes with our brothers and sisters on the DLR?

Tubeworker topics

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Speak To Us Together, Or Not At All

Published on: Tue, 03/11/2015 - 09:21

London Underground's attempt to undermine collective bargaining, by launching what it laughably calls a "listening exercise", which promotes its latest offer on pay and conditions to staff on an individual basis, rather than through our unions, deserves to be treated with utter contempt.

Leaflets trumpeting the offer have already landed in our workplaces, and there are suggestions that managers will be seeking friendly chats with individual members of staff about the issue.

Our pay, terms, and conditions are not individual matters. They are collective issues, which affect us all, and which we will bargain for and resolve collectively, through our unions. LU's attempt to circumvent that collective bargaining is an outrageous provocation that needs a swift and serious response.

The offer they're touting is the same one we rejected months ago, and struck against (twice). If it wants a "listening exercise", we've made ourselves clear. We shut down the Tube. The problem is, they're not listening.

We need to make them listen. The strike on the DLR should inspire us to launch further across TfL, including reinstating industrial action in our ongoing disputes with LU.

Our pay claim is clear: a 32-hour week for all grades, a pay settlement in line with increases in living costs, and the extension of staff privileges, such as travel passes, to contractors and outsourced workers. Let's remind our bosses that, on pay, terms, and conditions, they speak to us together, or not at all.

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DLR Shut Down as Solid Strike Bites Back

Published on: Tue, 03/11/2015 - 08:25

Nothing is moving on the DLR this morning as workers hit back against their new employers' clampdown.

Pickets at Beckton and Poplar have kept the strike solid and cranked up the pressure on management to back off from their attacks on the workforce. Since taking over the contract, Keolis Amey Docklands (KAD) has stepped up disciplinary action against staff, casualised working conditions by using agencies, and risked safety by licensing managers to work in the control room.

But after a thumping ballot result and a determination not to settle for small movements by management in negotiations, RMT members are out on strike. The action is all the more effective because nearly all DLR staff are union members, and are in one union - RMT - rather than being divided into several.

Oh, and you know the right-wing's plan to defeat Tube strikes by bringing in driverless trains? That's looking rather silly this morning as the driverless DLR trains sit idle in their depots.

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