The Threat Of Direct Action Gets The Goods!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 16/05/2018 - 21:57

RMT drivers on the Bakerloo Line have seriously bloodied the bosses' collective nose, after LU was forced into an embarrassing climbdown over a sacked Queen's Park driver. The company has agreed to reinstate the driver, after the RMT Bakerloo Line branch decided to ballot for strikes to demand he got his job back.

The driver was sacked for a non-safety-related staff error that should've dealt with as a performance or coaching issue. Instead, LU made a knee-jerk decision to sack him and, shockingly, upheld the decision at appeal. They were savaged by the Tribunal judge who found them 85% culpable and ruled the sack unfair, recommending reinstatement.

Tribunal courts have no power to compel employers to reinstate sacked workers, so we must conclude that the threat of strikes was the crucial element in forcing LU's hand.

Union sources estimate that LU's costs for the case could run to several hundred thousand pounds, at a time when Tube bosses are imposing austerity and cutting jobs. The RMT Bakerloo branch rightly plans to use momentum from this success to go on the offensive against an increasingly authoritarian management culture.

Tubeworker topics

Jubilee drivers say enough is enough

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 23/04/2018 - 22:03

Jubilee Line drivers are unhappy with new duty schedules forced on them by management. Like much of the Tube, the Jubilee Line gets busier and busier each year, and working patterns deteriorate with the pressure ramped up too.

Drivers on the Jubilee have decided it is time to say enough is enough, with both unions likely headed to dispute.

The key issue is work/life balance, in particular weekend working. When reps negotiated with management on the draft schedules, the line manager was absent. We are now told these sheets are good for us as workers as they give a better service to passengers. Great for them, but that doesn’t help improve our work life balance.

It was agreed at the 2015 Pay Dispute that weekend working would go down. It hasn’t, it’s gone up. And not just on the Jubilee Line.

Tubeworker believes work life balance is a crucial concern for all Tube workers. Something we should all fight together to improve.

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Justice for sacked drivers!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 20/04/2018 - 14:04

Paul Bailey

Paul Bailey, a Leytonstone driver, has been sacked following a drug and alcohol test which he passed.

Testing for cannabis is notoriously difficult. Paul's original test result was hidden from him, but he was stood down because of it. A follow up private test showed 19ng of a cannabinoid substance, but the industry standard for a so called 'failed test' is 50ng. The positive result came because this driver has eaten hemp supplements - allowed by LU - as part of a fitness regime.

LU cannot be allowed to treat Paul like this, or to sack any of us because we pass a drugs test! This affects all LU workers and we should all be ready to take the action necesary to defend Paul and ourselves.

Luis Vigo

Ever needed a bottle of water whilst driving your train? Well, be careful as LU may sack you for it. More so if management don't like you because you are precise in your working method.

Luis went 10 seconds from his cab, with the train in full sght at all times, and a colleague watching his train too, to fill his water bottle. He was sacked because he didn't remove the keys. At an employment tribunal, LU was hauled through the coals and the judge found that Luis had been unlawfully sacked, straight after the evidence was heard.

LU must now do the right thing: apologise to Luis, compensate and re-employ him, and look at disciplining the managers who dealt with this case so badly.

Earl's Court drivers' ballot scuppered by anti-union laws

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 20/04/2018 - 12:36

Aslef drivers at Earl's Court depot on the District Line voted by a 77.8% majority for strikes over abuses of the SPAD policy, intending to join their colleagues at Acton depot who struck over similar issues on Friday 13 April.

However, the union is not able to call a lawful strike, as only 39.2% of those eligible to vote voted yes, rather than the 40% required in "essential services" by the Tories' 2016 Trade Union Act.

These are criteria and thresholds not applied in any other area of democratic life. Many Tory MPs and councillors would not have been able to take office if electoral law required at least 40% of the eligible electorate to vote for an individual candidate in order for them to win!

Aslef has already said it will re-ballot at Earl's Court. But as these laws continue to constrain our right to withdraw our labour, which is a basic principle far more essentially democratic than arbitrary turnout thresholds and restrictions, the trade union movement needs to seriously consider confronting these laws. At some point, a union will need to have the courage to call a strike anyway, even if the threshold has been narrowly missed, and appeal to the financial and political solidarity of the wider labour movement to deal with any potential consequences. Quite simply, unjust laws deserve to be broken.

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Prepare for battle on the Picc

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 09/04/2018 - 00:28

RMT drivers on the Piccadilly Line are heading for a dispute, after the two RMT branches covering the line passed motions noting "that due to continued mismanagement, morale levels on the line are at an historic low level."

Workers cite a raft of issues, including management obstruction of union reps; abuse of procedures; heavy-handed discipline; issues around safety; and more. We all know that solid action by drivers will massively impact the service. Hopefully it'll make the bosses sit up and take notice.

Meanwhile, members of the drivers' union Aslef at the Acton depot on the District Line will strike on 13 April in a dispute over disciplinary procedures following SPAD ("Signal Passed At Danger") incidents (also an issue in the Picc Line battle). The union argues that drivers are being unfairly disciplined rather than being given a chance to amend errors and improve.

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DLR workers to strike again

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 09/04/2018 - 00:26

Workers on London's Docklands Light Railway will strike from 20-24 April, as part of an ongoing dispute over a range of attacks by Keolis Amey Docklands (KAD), the contractor that operates the DLR.

KAD has begun to outsource more work on the DLR, which the RMT union undermines the job security of existing staff. Recent roster changes have also hit work/life balance, with RMT also accusing KAD of failing to uphold company procedures.

The strikes threaten to disrupt the London Marathon, due to take place over that weekend.

RMT has solid organisation on the DLR, with high density, meaning action is likely to shut the job down. Get down to the picket lines at Poplar and Beckton to support our brothers and sisters!

Tubeworker topics

Aslef members at Acton to strike on 11 April

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 22/03/2018 - 23:33

Aslef drivers at Acton depot have announced a strike for 11 April, in protest at the misapplication of policies and procedures (particularly the SPAD policy) and the dipping of a driver to a stations role. Aslef members at Earl's Court are also balloting.

There was some confusion in the announcement of the strike, which was initially called for 28 March, then pushed to 11 April, possibly due to Aslef falling foul of new laws requiring a union to give an employer increased notices of strikes.

With RMT pushing for renewed talks at conciliation service Acas over issues including similar instances of abuse of procedure on the Piccadilly Line, Tubeworker reckons there must be some potential for some joined-up thinking and coordination between the two unions.

Ruislip depot dispute: management all at sea

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sun, 18/02/2018 - 02:00

At Ruislip depot, the train maintenance dispute has got the company well and truly rattled.

On Thursday, management kicked off an offensive against workers taking official (and therefore legally protected) industrial action short of strikes, singling out individuals in a bid to break the action.

They even sent the apprentices back to the training centre, saying that the depot was not a suitable learning environment for them. Here at Tubeworker, we think it sounds like an ideal learning environment - a hands-on, practical study of workers standing up for ourselves and fighting back.

Management appear to be out of their depth, not knowing what to do when faced with solid, concerted action. Perhaps the simplest thing for them to do now is to concede an honourable defeat and pay us properly for the work we do.

After all, their strategy of attempting to demoralise us has backfired, with the industrial action more determined and effective than ever.

Is ISS shipping in strike-breakers?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 01/02/2018 - 14:58

Cleaners and security workers employed by ISS on the DLR contract struck again today. The strike will last until 3 February; workers have also planned a work-to-rule from 5 February.

The strike follows a successful action on New Year's Eve, and is over a raft of issues; ISS has unilaterally slashed some workers' hours, and has refused to meaningfully negotiate with RMT over pay.

Reports from the picket line suggest that ISS may be shipping in workers from other contracts to break the strike. Although it is illegal for employers to bring in agency staff to cover the work of strikers, loopholes in the law and sub-contracting arrangements can allow them to bring in their own employees from other areas. This means that ISS staff who normally work on reception desks in a bank could be brought in to work as security on a major public transport system. It's not safe for them or the passengers! The strike-breaking in this instance seems brazen, with nervous looking workers telling pickets they'd been told they needed to work on the DLR today "because of the strike".

Unions must challenging this outrageous practise. Further action is planned for later in the month.

DLR ISS workers to strike again

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 18/01/2018 - 09:27

Cleaners and security workers employed by ISS on the DLR will strike again from 1-3 February.

Following a solid strike on New Year's Eve, RMT is organising further action in an attempt to force ISS to adhere to its own agreed procedures for negotiating changes to working practises. The union also wants ISS to respond to its pay claim.

As well as the strike, RMT has also called action-short-of-strike from 5-10 February, in the form of a work-to-rule around risk assessments.

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