Stations, revenue, Central Line west end drivers: see you on the picket lines!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 06/01/2017 - 17:57

With Acas talks in the station staffing dispute ending without any new offer from the company, the joint RMT/TSSA strike on stations is on for 8-9 January.

Striking alongside station and revenue staff will be Central Line drivers at White City and West Ruislip depots, who are taking action aimed at winning the reinstatement of their unfairly sacked colleague Dean Storey.

Withdrawing our labour is the most fundamental and effective weapon we have as workers; let's use it!

See you on the picket lines! Details of pickets are available on the RMT London website.

Hell No, We Won't Go

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 23/12/2016 - 20:53

This week, twelve drivers at Leytonstone and Hainault have received letters displacing them from their depots from January, eight of them to Earls Court. Imagine being at one of these depots, thinking it was your permanent location, then finding that you were expected to travel an extra two hours a day to get to and from work - that's ten hours a week stolen from your life.

By management's figures, even after these displacements, they will be 24 drivers over numbers at Leytonstone, Hainault and Loughton combined - so if they get away with this first wave, there could well be more to follow.
So it's good to see RMT balloting drivers at all three depots for strikes and action short, and we are confident that there will be a strong Yes vote. In the absence of an ASLEF ballot (perhaps the Society is less concerned because the drivers directly affected are the more junior drivers, mostly RMT members), we hope that ASLEF members will respect RMT picket lines.

Management are punishing drivers for a problem of their - and the (previous) Mayor's - making. There are "too many" drivers in some locations because the company began recruiting drivers for Night Tube before reaching agreement with the unions as to how it was to be staffed: it recruited full-time drivers, but was then forced by union action to staff Night Tube with specific, part-time staff so as not to add more night turns to full-time drivers' rosters. When the surplus drivers were placed in depots, they didn't expect to be moved again a few years later!
And there are "too few" drivers at other depots because management will not allow the 35 station staff who have passed interviews and assessments for driver to proceed with the training and take up the posts.

Management claim that they can do this under existing agreements - but just because they can do it does not mean that they have to. And if they can try to displace drivers, then we can fight them! Feelings are strong among drivers on the east end of the Central line, as no-one wants to see their workmates treated like this.

Finally, particularly as the issue of displacements is one of the aspects of the Fit for the Future - Stations dispute, co-ordinating action in the two disputes will make both more effective.

Passenger Information - it's in your interest to support the fightback!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 23/12/2016 - 10:07

As London Underground's short-staffing is exposed dramatically by our overtime ban, stations are closing left, right and centre. We can strengthen our fightback by ensuring that passengers and Londoners know exactly why this is happening.

We can tell them that when TfL tweets blame 'staff absence', they actually mean 'staff shortage'. We can explain that because LUL has got rid of 900 staff, it doesn't have enough people left to run stations. We can warn them of the potential for serious incidents and long-term deterioration of service. We can alert them to the desperate and unsafe measures that the company is taking to keep stations open. And we can ask them to support us and help us win the restoration of axed jobs.

Our union could do more. On Southern, union activists have put a lot of effort into winning public support - dishing out thousands of leaflets, speaking at local meetings, getting into the press, using social media. Their efforts have ensured that the majority of Southern passengers blame the disruption they face not on the workers and their unions, but on the naked greed and incompetence of Southern management, and on their Tory government backers.

Let's see the same from our unions on London Underground.

Station and revenue staff: all out for 8-9 January! Make this the opening salvo!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 22/12/2016 - 16:47

RMT and TSSA have named strikes of stations and revenue members, from 18:00 on 8 January to 17:59 on 9 January.

Naming strikes now, rather than waiting to see how things played out in talks in early January, is absolutely the right thing to do. Reps and activists had been calling for strikes to be named, and it's good that union leaderships have listened.

However, we know from long experience that 24-hour strikes are unlikely to budge the bosses. Further, and probably sustained, strikes will he needed. This strike must be the opening salvo in an ongoing campaign, which should involve creatively planned action such as three-day strikes spread across a week (Monday, Wednesday, and Friday), plus selective strikes of particular shifts.

Let's get to work building the 8-9 January strike, and pushing our unions to name more.

All out for 8-9 January!

Tube drivers to join Christmas 2016 strike wave

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 19/12/2016 - 15:45

Tube drivers on the Central and Hammersmith & City Lines will join the developing Christmas 2016 strike wave, which also includes mainline rail workers, airport workers, postal workers, cinema workers, and factory workers.

RMT driver members at the White City and West Ruislip depots are striking on 24 December to demand the reinstatement of their unjustly sacked colleague Dean Storey, and drivers at the Hammersmith and Edgware Road depots on the Hammersmith & City, Circle, and District Line are striking on the evening of 24 December in a dispute over rostering and holiday working arrangements. LU wants Hammersmith and Edgware drivers to undertake cross-line working, including picking up trains at South Kensington. RMT has also instructed driver members not to work in areas where they are not trained, until further notice.

In a separate dispute, RMT Central Line drivers will vote on whether to strike over threatened displacements, in a ballot closing on 12 January.

Tubeworker hopes Aslef members at all these depots will respect RMT picket lines.

It's time for our unions to name strikes on stations too. Striking alongside Southern rail workers and others will seriously ratchet up the pressure on LU, who are already on the ropes due to an effective overtime ban.

TSSA stations reps met on Monday 19 December, with RMT stations reps due to meet tomorrow. Tubeworker sends its solidarity to all reps arguing for our unions to step up the fight on stations and name strikes.

Central Line drivers: strike against unjust sacking! LU must reinstate Dean Storey!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 19/12/2016 - 15:33

Dean is a well liked driver on the Central Line, unfairly sacked by a not-well-liked manager. It was clear what would happen. His union balloted and the result was a strong yes for industrial action. Drivers at Central line West depots will strike on 24 December and 9 January to demand his reinstatement.

Dean passed a signal at danger in a depot he hadn’t been in for a long time and applied a procedure not suitable to that location. He made a mistake in an unfamiliar location. Anyone could've had had done it. The answer is to provide more training, not a sacking.

It's great to see these workers defending one another. Strike action will take place at White City and West Ruislip depots on Christmas Eve and again in January. Tubeworker sends solidarity to them.

This unfair sacking is a threat to all drivers; all tube workers even. Why not ballot us all and put the numerous disputes across the Tube together? After all the cause is the same: the action of the bosses.

Tubeworker topics

LU's jobs offer is a joke: it's time for strikes!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 14/12/2016 - 20:44

LU made an offer to our unions at Acas today, aimed at resolving our ongoing dispute on stations.

They offered to restore... wait for it... a grand total of... just over 60 jobs! It's a bad joke, worthy of a Christmas cracker.

An RMT report (online here) says the offer misses "by a mile". And the rest. Remember that we're fighting to reverse nearly 1,000 job cuts. LU has offered a "small number" of control room jobs (CSS positions), plus around 60 CSA2 positions, with 25 more CSA2 jobs in the new year. It's nothing short of an insult.

Station staff have shown immense resolve to uphold the overtime ban, which has the company on the ropes. But we've also had to suffer the insult of seeing barely-qualified office staff bribed to cover our shifts for more money than LU pays us. And all this on top of the usual Christmas rush which hits many stations hard.

LU are struggling, badly. But we need to ratchet up the pressure to really force serious concessions. It's time for strikes.

With driver ballots on the Central, District, and Hammersmith and City Lines due to come back tomorrow (15 December), more strikes planned on Southern on 16, 19, and 20 December, we have the possibility to coordinate a strike on stations with other strikes.

Tubeworker believes our unions should name strikes as soon as possible. Let's see what LU brings to the table when we shut stations across the network for days at a time.

TfL Ambassadors: Don't Undermine Your Colleagues!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 07/12/2016 - 19:59

As our overtime ban keeps forcing station closures, here's LU's latest wheeze: begging "TfL Ambassadors" (aka "the pink hi-vi brigade") who hold limited stations licenses, to work shifts. Scandalously, they're offering them more money than CSAs get paid, including uplifts for night shifts which Night Tube staff don't get.

Our message to TfL or LU office staff considering working these shifts is: don't do it. You're being bribed to undermine other transport workers' industrial action. And why would you want to do your employer a favour at a time when it's making cuts in admin, training, and other office-based grades? If station staff win their dispute to reverse job cuts, it puts pressure on the company to reverse cuts elsewhere. Your interests lie in supporting the station staff dispute, not helping LU beat it.

And our message to the bosses is: nice try. All your desperate attempt to bribe people into scabbing on us will achieve is further highlighting how damaging your cuts are, and how reliant you've become on overtime.

Station staff, stay solid. Back the ban!

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Picc/H&C Strikes Suspended. Christmas Working and Dean Storey Ballots Still On: Vote Yes!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 07/12/2016 - 19:54

RMT suspended strikes planned on the Piccadilly and Hammersmith and City Lines, after management made significant concessions in Acas talks.

The union says it has achieved "all objectives" in the Picc Line dispute. According to an RMT circular, management have confirmed that there are "no plans to extend the use of Cockfosters Depot facilities, and that all drivers will continue to receive full familiarisations. A SPAD policy briefing with management will take place in conjunction with Trains Functional Council reps to seek to resolve any negative perceptions, and to ensure the process is undertaken fairly and consistently. Assurances have been received on other issues, and Brother Gary Fitzpatrick's [a victimised union rep] safety has been protected by removing the other party from the workplace while the matter is resolved through the proper procedures."

Undoubtedly the added pressure of the fleet issues on the Picc made management keen to avoid a strike, but what has won this dispute is the organisation and resolve of RMT drivers in Picc Line depots. It's proof that it's not clever negotiations, but workplace organisation, that gets the goods.

RMT says it is satisfied with assurances received from management on the Hammersmith and City Line about adherence to procedures, and has suspended the strike there too. Driver members will need to remain vigilant to make sure the bosses keep their promises.

A ballot of drivers on the H&C and District Lines, over Christmas and NYE working, continues. The ballot for drivers in depots at the west end of the Central Line, to win reinstatement for unfairly sacked Dean Storey, is also ongoing. The ballots close on 15 and 13 December respectively. Tubeworker encourages drivers to vote yes.


Submitted by Tubeworker on Sun, 04/12/2016 - 00:47

The overtime ban is biting. Major stations including Temple, St. James's Park, Earl's Court, and Bond Street have all closed. Dozens of other stations have had partial closures or been left unstaffed.

LU's online updates continue to use the ridiculous formulation "absence of staff" to explain closures, as if we simply haven't turned up or have got lost on the way to work! Most CSMs and CSSs have been translating this nonsensical management-speak when they make their stations PAs, and using the more accurate "lack of staff" or "staff shortage" to explain the closures.

RMT members, and the TSSA members who've supported them so far (TSSA's own ban kicks in from 8 December, and excepting a few ignoble instances, many TSSA members have respected RMT's ban up to now), have taken a stand by refusing to help the company paper of the cracks in an understaffed system. The increasing closures expose the reality: stations are reliant on overtime to remain open. In other words, the company needs us to sell them more of our labour power than we agreed to when we signed our contracts. When we refuse, stations close.

The company is on the ropes. They've already made concessions in Acas negotiations, accepting that jobs need to be put back on stations and agreeing to participate in a seven-day review alongside our unions to determine where to allocate them.

We've been here before, with similar "reviews" resulting in paltry numbers of jobs coming back. The number of job cuts management reverse will be directly proportional to how much pressure they feel under. So let's turn it up: let's name strikes!

It's too late for us to coordinate with the Hammersmith and City and Picc Line drivers' strikes on 6 December, but we could strike in parallel with Southern guards and drivers' actions on 13-14, 16, or 19-20 December. Naming strikes on one or several of those dates would focus the bosses' minds wonderfully, and let them know that if the review doesn't result in widespread reversals of job cuts, with hundreds of jobs coming back onto stations, we will walk out.

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