Disputes

Reinstate Picc strikes if bosses don't honour agreements

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 21/07/2018 - 15:56

Drivers’ strikes planned on the Picc for 12-15 July were suspended after bosses offered RMT a settlement.

Among other things, the deal commits management to maintaining existing staffing levels at Picc depots.

The big majority in the ballot for strikes shows the strength of feeling on the line. The strike was only suspended: the dispute remains live. If there’s even the merest sniff of management reneging on their commitments, new strikes should be called.

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More Transplant strikes due on 3 August: the story of the fight so far

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 21/07/2018 - 14:47

Transplant is a department within London Underground, formerly part of TubeLines. Some may know Transplant as the “Ballast Trains”, or maybe the “Engineers Train Unit” (ETU). Due to the nature of work, predominantly carried out under the cover of darkness, some would believe that its just a small setup. The reality is very different. Transplant is a huge scale operation, compromising 270+ vehicles, such as a fleet of battery locomotives; plain line/points and crossing tamping machines; rail cranes; various plant equipment; and a massive fleet of wagons that cater to LUL's engineering requirements.

Transplant workers have been responsible for providing all this equipment across the LUL infrastructure every night to carry out essential maintenance work, and during weekend possessions to support major improvement works across the Tube network. Again, due to the nature of the heavy engineering work and the fact that a lot of the fleet is over 50 years old, the trains themselves require a lot of maintenance. This completed by a small but dedicated team of Train Maintainers whose skills, knowledge, and experience of multiple stocks and lots of different equipment have enabled Transplant to operate for many years.

Workers on Transplant maintenance teams feel they have played, and continue to play, a vital and pivotal role in the success and safe operation of this department and that they should receive recognition for this.

A dispute situation was announced back in 2017 over the issues of pay parity and train preparation payments. RMT began talks with the company before Christmas and felt that good progress had been made and the company had recognised our aspirations of achieving pay parity with the Engineers Train Operators. Because of these assurances the dedicated members of Transplant maintenance felt that this was a reasonable way forward and ensured their support over the Christmas period to the major engineering works. After Christmas a few discussions were held but no agreement reached, action-short-of-strikes was announced and commenced… still no talks. Members of staff felt ignored and like they had been played by management. They had stuck to their side of the bargain: their gesture of goodwill and commitment to support Christmas engineering work based on serious negotiations in the new year.

During the course of this dispute we have found management to actually be some of our best recruiters. Their actions have enraged staff, caused tensions to escalate to boiling point, and have left industrial relations in a state of disrepair.

The new anti-trade union laws passed in 2016 meant we had to re-ballot. A massive majority vote was secured demonstrated a continued determination to fight on. Transplant maintenance workers struck for 24 hours from 12 July. Due to possession works being scaled back, the decision was taken to suspended further strikes planned for 13 and 15 July.

More strikes are now scheduled to take place from 19:00 on Friday 3 August. With planned engineering works slowing from down from September we wonder if management are trying to kick the can down the road. Transplant maintenance workers have been providing an outstanding service, however they having been working at 100% capacity with staff shortages, lack of resources, and lack of investment. The maintenance teams are now required more then ever and with a down turn in engineering work out on the network comes a major up turn in in work for maintenance and workshop staff.

There are recent noticeable changes in the management structure. We hope to resolve this dispute and ensure workplace justice for Transplant maintenance workers for many years to come.

All out at Ruislip!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 02/07/2018 - 13:51

Train maintenance workers at the Ruislip depot will strike over the following times:

07:00 on Thursday 12 July to 07:00 on Friday 13 July
19:00 on Friday 13 July to 07:00 on Saturday 14 July
07:00 on Sunday 15 July to 19:00 on Sunday 15 July

Spreading the strike across several shifts should see maximum impact. This means that the Central Line service could be severely impacted at the same time as the Picc Line drivers’ strike knocks out service on the Picc.

It’s time to give LUL bosses a reminder of who really makes the job run!

Strikes due at Transplant

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 26/06/2018 - 10:55

RMT members at the ex-AP JNP Transplant depot have voted for strikes in two separate disputes, over pay parity and train preparation.

Action to level up pay between different grades of workers is vital, and strikes over train prep could be a prelude to combine-wide disputes over the same issue, as LU still plans to cut prep frequency from 24 to 96 hours.

Stay tuned for the announcement of strike days.

All out on the Picc!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 26/06/2018 - 10:50

RMT has named dates for a forthcoming drivers' strike on the Piccadilly Line.

The strike begins at 21:00 on Wednesday 11 July, and finishes at 01:00 on Saturday 14 July.

This will see four days of impact on the service, with two full strike days, and will also involve Night Tube drivers as it covers their Friday night-Saturday morning turns. The strike also coincides with the visit to the UK of the far-right US President Donald Trump. We don't imagine Trump was planning on using the Picc too much, but if the strike disrupts his visit in any way then that's an added bonus!

See you on the picket lines!

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Picc Line strike ballot closes today

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 21/06/2018 - 10:24

RMT drivers on the Piccadilly Line are currently balloting for industrial action, with the vote due to close today (Thursday 21 June).

The dispute has been prompted by what the union calls a complete "breakdown in industrial relations", with management adopting an increasingly disciplinarian and authoritarian approach, including obstructing union reps from carrying out basic trade union duties. Piccadilly Line management has also failed to honour agreements made in previous disputes.

Aslef is also balloting its Piccadilly Line membership; its ballot will not close until July. Should RMT's ballot meet the threshold requirements and return a majority for strikes, a discussion will need to be had amongst RMT reps and activists around whether the union should wait for Aslef's ballot to close, in order to coordinate potential action, or launch action of its own using the momentum of its own ballot.

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Jubilee Line dispute shows that solidarity wins

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sun, 17/06/2018 - 19:46

The planned strike on the Jubilee Line on 14 June was called off; Tubeworker understands that things went right to the wire, with the strike being suspended on Wednesday night at 7pm, less than five hours before the industrial action was due to begin. Staff at the conciliation service Acas had even told the assembled union reps and LU managers that the lights were about to be switched off as the room hire had come to an end!

This dispute was based around a new timetable on the line which has seen as increase in weekend working. This and other concerns were raised by reps, and ignored by management, before new schedules were even completed, and since the implementation of the timetable, further problems have become apparent.

The dispute had been stoked by local management falsely claiming that unions raised no concerns with sheets when in fact they were rejected. Later, a senior manager claiming no gains had been made by unions at Acas, at a time when negotiations were ongoing!

The proposed resolution will see an additional line of "pool cover" added to sheets at Jubilee Line depots, covered by the most senior pool driver, but with a guaranteed Saturday rest day.

This dispute has shown that solidarity between unions, and a militant approach to opposing a deterioration of working conditions, is a winning formula which can see detrimental changes rectified. What we need now is full solidarity between all Tube workers, with one workplace union to combine us all.

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Gains made in Jubilee Line drivers' fight

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 07/06/2018 - 19:34

The 6 June strike on the Jubilee Line was suspended after bosses buckled and made concessions.

The victory highlights the importance of unions working together. Jubilee Line drivers were unhappy with a new timetable which saw weekend working increased and a deterioration in work life balance, and so decided to do something about.

Initially management ignored the issue, and then following a successful ballot for strike by both RMT and Aslef tried to trivialise it. They claimed that what the unions were concerned about amounted to one extra Saturday rest day in six years. However, on the eve of the strike they capitulated, offering extra weekends off, a thanks to unions for offering a solution, and an undertaking to look at what caused the issues in the first place. Undoubtedly the prospect of a joint union strike, that would've shut down service on the line, focused the bosses' minds.

Of course this dispute, like all others, is about more than the particular issues raised. It is a timely and necessary reminded to our bosses that it is us who does the job, and that we workers cannot be ignored when we stick together and take industrial action. We don’t need to accept a degrading of our conditions. This is a useful lesson as we approach the next LUL pay deal.

Tubeworker understands that both unions negotiated from a joint position, together in the same room. This is how it should be. The next logical step is to have one transport union representing all transport workers.

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On the Jubilee Line drivers' strike

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sun, 27/05/2018 - 15:20

Jubilee Line drivers are fed up with the attitude of management on the line.

Local managers are pushing harder and harder as the service is ramped up and user numbers increase. Any perceived "staff error" and they are now coming down harder on drivers presumably thinking that ‘more stick and less carrot’ will make us more amenable to their whip cracking.

However, the breaking point has been the new timetable forced on drivers which increases the number of weekends worked, ups the pressure on us and sees work-life balance issues ignored.

This timetable was 18 months in the planning, yet when it came to negotiations with reps we understand that the line manager was on holiday; clearly not concerned to hear from her worker’s representatives what drivers felt of the new plans.

The timetable was rejected with clear reasons given, yet management forcibly implemented it anyway. A ballot was put on, won, and two strike dates subsequently called. Thereafter, even small requests, previously agreed by management have been left out of the new timetable and schedules. Whether this was a petty response to drivers concerns about work-life balance, incompetence or general lack of compassion is unclear; but regardless of the cause it has made anger on the line stronger.

Now drivers need to come out in force on 6 and 14 June. We have two choices, shut the line down and show bosses we care about our work-life balance, or come in to work and give bosses free range to worsen our conditions at will.

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Jubilee and Acton District drivers: all out on 6 and 14 June!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 22/05/2018 - 14:57

Despite previous commitments to improve work/life balance and reduce weekend working, a new timetable management is attempting to impose on the Jubilee Line in fact increases weekend working. Quite rightly, drivers aren't having it. Both Aslef and RMT members will strike on 6 and 14 June to resist the imposition of the new timetable.

Elsewhere, Aslef members at the Acton depot on the District Line are due to strike again on the same dates, after a previous strike in April, over disciplinary procedures. Tubeworker encourages all Acton drivers, whatever union you're in, to join the strike.

See you on the picket lines!

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