District line

Hey buddy

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 25/03/2019 - 21:29

London Underground has announced a new 'buddy system' if we're lone working on stations.

Every two hours, you're supposed to phone your mate at the next station to check they're alright.

But what use is a phone call two hours after you've been assaulted?

The buddy system has previously only been used on nights when there are no passengers - it can't keep us safe during the day.

On the east end of the District Line, RMT wants to ballot for industrial action about lone working. It is also tackling the root cause of lone working by fighting for more staff.

Tubeworker topics

District and H&C workers resist lone working

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 22/03/2019 - 18:44

Station staff on the District East group, and drivers at Upminster and Barking depots on the District and Hammersmith and City Lines, are planning ballots for industrial action to protest lone working.

A recent spate of antisocial behaviour and violence, including stabbings, in the area sparked workers’ concern. A statement from their union branch, RMT East Ham, said: “In the space of three days, there has been a shooting and two stabbings on trains within our Branch area, and a further knife attack outside one of our stations. In all of these incidents, our members acted with bravery and professionalism, but this should not be a normal part of our jobs. Unfortunately, these types of crimes are becoming more common, putting our members at unacceptable risk.”

The ballot will be for industrial action short of a strike, specifically to refuse to lone work at stations alone or to detrain trains alone.

Lone working is a direct consequence of LU’s cuts to staffing levels over successive years; District Line workers are right to resist it.

More Stations Fight Short-Staffing

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 10/01/2019 - 10:23

Station staff on the Northern and District lines are set to follow in the footsteps of Bakerloo South and ballot for strikes for better staff coverage.

In the stations around Earl's Court and Hendon Central, duties are regularly left uncovered and staff left to run stations alone. Lone working is dangerous and stressful, and staff have had enough. On both these groups, union members are asking RMT to call industrial action to force management to fill vacancies and cover duties.

Tubeworker knows that this problem is rampant across our stations. So how about we fight back across the job. Together we are stronger.

4LM Delayed

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 05/12/2018 - 01:00

The "Four Lines Modernisation" (4LM) upgrade on the District, Met, Circle, and H and C missed the 17/18 November "go live" date for the first phase of automatic train operation.

There have been numerous problems with Thales' new signalling system, including more than one train entering a signalling section at once during a simulated test. It has now been put back to next year. By 2018, Bombardier was supposed to complete the entire upgrade - before it pulled out of its contract, costing TfL £85 million. Thales doesn't seem to be seem to be delivering on its promises either.

Wot No Coverage?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 08/08/2018 - 21:08

Uncovered duties on stations are now a daily reality across much of the combine. Local managers are saying they can't cover duties on overtime because the budgets are maxed out and money is too tight. Tubeworker says: if you've maxed out your overtime budget to such an extent that you literally can't afford to cover duties, maybe you didn't have enough staff in the first place?

One particular station on the District Line closed multiple times last week for short periods as staff refused to do the bosses favours by staying on at the end of their duties or coming in on rest days for less than whole shifts (because of course, management couldn't afford to give them OT for a whole shift, so just tried to get people to come in for long enough to plug the gaps). That's the spirit we need everywhere: if the company won't hire the staff to run the service, why should we help them paper over the cracks?

Tubeworker topics

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!

Tubeworker topics

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.

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.

Overground Night Service

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 15/12/2017 - 22:09

Spare a thought for those staff affected by London Overground's night service, which kicks off tonight.

The Overground stations will be staffed by security guards, if they are staffed at all. And the affected London Underground stations? Who knows? There has been practically zero consultation with our unions about how the stations will deal with the extra demand.

While the Overground night service isn't stopping at any Underground services - for now - LUL stations may well take a hit from punters who have heard that there is a night service on the Overground and expect it to be running from their station.

Management are fast running out of time to get arrangements sorted for when London Overground's night coverage expands in the Spring.

We may have to make them wake up and smell the coffee.

Wot No Control Staff

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 23/02/2017 - 08:50

A new manager comes in, wants to make a name for himself, clamps down on overtime, interferes with established ways of ensuring coverage, and guess what happens?

Yup. Not enough control staff to run the subsurface and Piccadilly lines last night. No problems for our intrepid new guvnor: the control room equipment can run itself! No, it can't. Still no problem: the staff can work through their meal reliefs. Er, no they can't.

Result: job up wall.

Management managed to attribute this to 'industrial action' and then 'absence of control staff'. Might we suggest that 'shortage of staff' and 'shortcomings of management' might be more accurate?

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