Tubeworker's blog

Only industrial action can force major concessions on LU pay/conditions Tubeworker Tue, 21/01/2020 - 16:01

Our current deal on pay and conditions on London Underground expired in April 2019, so we’re the better part of year overdue. All four unions submitted claims based on a range of demands, including a reduction in the working week to 32 hours. Negotiations began formally in February 2019, and have continued for nearly a year.

Ravenscourt roof Tubeworker Tue, 21/01/2020 - 14:52

On Tuesday 14 January, high winds dislodged a large section of corrugated roofing at Ravenscourt Park station and sent it flying into the central area of track used by Piccadilly Line trains that pass through the station at 45mph.

Overground Ticket Offices Hours to be Cut Tubeworker Mon, 20/01/2020 - 12:40

A strong campaign by RMT and local Labour Parties made London Overground drop its plans to close nearly all of its ticket offices. But the company now plans to go ahead with cutting their opening hours, despite objections.

But it's not a done deal yet, so our campaign goes on. Stations left with a ticket office for just two-and-a-half hours a day can not provide the serivde that passengers need and are doubless a step on the road to full closure. And of course, it's not just services that are threatened - it is jobs.

A reply to some critics Tubeworker Fri, 17/01/2020 - 17:53

This image has been brought to our attention; it originates with some Aslef reps.

To clarify, Tubeworker is NOT an RMT publication. We are fiercely pro-union, but we are an independent rank-and-file bulletin, published by a socialist group, and not affiliated with any individual union on the job.

Green Park Under Water
Water at Green Park station this morning
Tubeworker Wed, 15/01/2020 - 11:43

Green Park station staff have found themselves wading to work this morning after rainy weather and dodgy plumbing combined to leave the mess room and other areas flooded.

There is only one usable toilet, so staff are going in and out of hte ticket office every time they need to spend a penny.

This comes after several days of faulty plumbing causing unpleasant smells and the sink to become unusable.

"Unsustainable"? Tubeworker Tue, 14/01/2020 - 23:02

LU likes to pay lip service to its commitment to equalities, but right across the job, local managers are only to keen to pick on disabled workers who they dehumanisingly view as obstacles and drains on resources.

In a variety of locations, especially on stations, we’re hearing reports of disabled workers, who are perfectly able to do their jobs with reasonable adjustments in place, being told the company can no longer “accommodate” or “sustain” them.

Management makes concessions in Bakerloo timetable fight Tubeworker Tue, 14/01/2020 - 23:00

Following Bakerloo drivers’ overwhelming vote for industrial action to win a workable timetable, LU has committed to a “no compulsory overtime” agreement on the line, as well as agreeing to review SPADs and safety incidents that have taken place under the current, and almost universally despised, “Working Timetable 44”.

Managers are meeting with reps to discuss the implementation of a new timetable, which has been brought forward to March.

Boxing Day? Equal pay! Tubeworker Tue, 14/01/2020 - 22:58

Trains reps are discussing improved Boxing Day and NYE working arrangements for drivers with LU bosses.

Tubeworker supports any group of workers negotiating towards, and taking action to win, improvements to their conditions; we also believe all workers across LU should be entitled to the same benefits. It’s not fair that drivers get improved payments for working Boxing Day or NYE, when that’s just a normal working day for station staff and many other workers (including cleaners and other outsourced workers!).

Justice for Station Staff! Tubeworker Tue, 14/01/2020 - 22:50

RMT is now planning a new “Justice for Station Staff” campaign, bringing together a small, focused number of key issues affecting station workers into a single fight back. These issues include ending lone working; reversing or resisting two-tier workforce models (within the CSA grade, and the new proposal to create a new grade in the revenue department); demanding parity with drivers for Boxing Day payments; and auditing staffing levels and places of safety across the job to mitigate the risk of workplace violence.

Great Northern Stops Early - Or Does It? Tubeworker Sun, 12/01/2020 - 21:13

Spare a thought for staff on Great Northern - and on Tube stations such as Moorgate or Finsbury Park which interchange with it.

Great Northern is supposed to be closing mid-evening at weekends to allow for engineering works. But on a seemingly random basis, management cancel this and run the service anyway. Cue confusion and irritated passengers - and the people responsible nowhere to be seen, while we get the grief.

Khan Boasts of Strike Fall
Sadiq Khan's election leaflet for commuters
Tubeworker Thu, 02/01/2020 - 20:35

Sadiq Khan has started the New Year with a leaflet (pictured) asking people to re-elect him because he has kept the cost of commuting down. Fair enough, and here at Tubeworker, we would much rather see Khan reelected than the Tory candidate who plans to nick our Nominee Passes.

Bah Humbug!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 01/01/2020 - 14:36

Robbers helped themselves to some Christmas cash in two break-ins on 25 December. At Waterloo and Seven Sisters, staff booked on for Boxing Day to find that the ticket offices were not as secure as we would like to think.

As the culprits are chased down, beware of management trying to apportion some blame to station staff for not emptying the machines on Christmas Eve. They should remember that if you want the job done properly, then you have to employ and train enough staff to do it.

Hammersmith Hammers Staff

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sun, 22/12/2019 - 11:38

It was a long time coming, so you would think that management could have made the Hammersmith Servic Control Centre a decent place to work. If so, you'd be disappointed.

First up, there is the inadequate access to the building, with no parking spaces and staff assaulted while walking to work. staff facilities are well short of what we need.

Then, once inside, the control room does not have a full-size kitchen or mess facilites, and doesn't even have enough toilets. Seating, lighting and lockers are all inadequate.

Action ahead on the Central Line?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 10/12/2019 - 16:04

It's becoming an all-too familiar pattern on trains. Managers in depots get out of control, presiding over a culture of petty and arbitrary discipline, interpreting procedures and policies punitively and acting like tinpot authoritarians. RMT drivers ballot for industrial action to stop this culture, strikes are declared, negotiations take place at Acas, trains managers promise to wind their necks in, and strikes are suspended.

A few months later... the old problems have returned and we're back to square one.

Staffing reviews delayed... time to step up the fight

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 10/12/2019 - 15:52

Almost exactly a year ago, station staff on the Bakerloo South group had just voted for industrial action to address issues around uncovered duties and short staffing.

Strikes were called in December and January, and later suspended after LU committed to filling all vacancies; covering all duties; and conducting a staffing review across the group to identify possible needs for additional jobs.

Bakerloo Line drivers: vote yes for action!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 10/12/2019 - 15:45

"Working" Timetable 44 on the Bakerloo Line is simply not working.

The timetable has led to a long list of problems, including turnaround times so tight that drivers often aren't able to take a toilet break between trips. The timetable has also led to big gaps between trains at certain times, leading to overcrowding on platforms.

LU pay/conditions and stations fightback: get moving with ballots!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 23/11/2019 - 16:31

The longer our unions go without launching ballots over LU pay/conditions, the more momentum we hand to the bosses.

Delaying only benefits the employer. RMT announced an aspiration to have its ballot ready by the end of November; members have a right to expect these aspirations to be followed through.

Keep up momentum in cleaners' fight

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 23/11/2019 - 16:27

To keep up momentum after anti-union laws scuppered the strike ballot, RMT must call further activity in the “Justice for Tube Cleaners” campaign.

Any and all suggestions should be considered. How about demonstrations at City Hall, or key TfL/LU office buildings such as Palestra or 55 Broadway?

The underlying message of the cleaners’ campaign is that cleaners are as much part of the permanent London Underground workforce as drivers, station staff, or engineers, and as such deserve equal treatment.

Support the Vic line drivers

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 19/11/2019 - 10:18

RMT drivers will strike on 27 November for 24 hours from 2200. The strike day called off in the summer is back on as management have still refused to deal with the issues over pay, procedures, and treatment of staff. A future date in December will be announced if management refuse to move.

Tubeworker urges the drivers to go for this time and calls on Aslef members to respect the strike. See you on the picket lines!

"Workplace Violence" Trojan Horse for Undermining Staff

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 18/11/2019 - 10:15

Sounding a loud fanfare about how much they care about us being battered at work, LUL management are promising what looks like an increase in staffing but on closer examination amounts to undermining us.

Management say they will recruit sixty new revenue staff, but they are calling them revenue control officers, not RCIs, so we are willing a stake a week's wages on this being a cheaper version.

There will also be 150 more CPOS staff (lower-paid TfL workers), fifty more coppers, and an enlarged Workplace Violence Unit.

Defend RCI jobs!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 13/11/2019 - 11:44

Unions have long been pressing LU to fill the vacancies in the revenue department, which have gone unfilled for over a decade. The point has also been made that there may be some connection between the £90 million the company says it loses in lost revenue and the fact that it has deliberately understaffed the revenue department.

Recent spikes in workplace violence have brought the issue to a head, with many workers arguing that an increase in RCI numbers would improve workplace safety.

Wot no Radio?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 07/11/2019 - 10:05

We already know that management are using rising concerns about assaults as a pretext to undermine our jobs by bringing in staff from other areas of TfL to do station staff's work. Rather than increase station staffing, the company prefers staffing on the cheap, and is using Surface Transport staff for patrol duties.

Not only does this undermine Tube staff, it also puts the Surface Transport staff in danger - as highlighted by a recent incident at Barking.

Assaulted? Expect an LDI!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 07/11/2019 - 09:43

Central line staff have been shocked to be summoned to LDIs for absences that include assaults.

The policy on this is very clear - as is the basic human morality! If you are assaulted at work and need some time off sick, then you deserve support not punishment. It is a breach of the policy to even count this as an item, let alone to call an LDI and issue a warning. It is not good enough for management to say that a warning can be overturned at appeal, as the member of staff should not have to go through this in the first place.

Vote Labour, and demand Labour restores the TfL subsidy!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 01/11/2019 - 19:47

On 12 December, we’ll have the chance to kick the Tories out of government. Tubeworker encourages all readers to vote Labour in every constituency.

Labour is the only alternative party of government. It has its most left-wing policy platform for decades, and a left-wing membership prepared to push the leaders further to the left.

Support the protests in Chile

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 25/10/2019 - 19:22

Tubeworker supports the protests in Chile which started On 4 October following President Sebastián Piñera announcing a 30p rise in transport tickets in the capital, Santiago.

Initially protests were organised by school students who started a mass fare evasion on the metro, encouraging others not to buy tickets. By 19 October the entire metro system had been closed down due to the protests, which have been heavily repressed with serious police violence.

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