Tubeworker's blog

“20 additional colleagues”?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 02/10/2019 - 16:11

An LU Employee Bulletin announces that, to combat workplace violence and antisocial behaviour on the east end of the District Line, LU will be providing “20 additional colleagues”.

Good news, you might think. An acknowledgement that lone working and understaffing are the fundamental problems. But alas, the reality is not so encouraging.

Action due in District East safety dispute

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 26/09/2019 - 11:52

As Tubeworker went to press, industrial action short of strikes was due to begin on District East stations on 27 September.

Workers will refuse to attend incidents or detrain alone, and will work from a place of safety. The action came about after a spike in antisocial behaviour and staff assaults prompted the local union to launch a dispute.

The demand is clear: more staff, end lone working.

Go slow to stop track noise!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 26/09/2019 - 11:50

After the excellent ballot result on the Jubilee, Northern, Victoria, and Central Lines, RMT has named action starting on 10 October in its dispute to end excessive track noise.

Drivers will impose temporary speed restrictions in affected areas, lessening the effect of the noise forced into the driver’s cab and the train cars.

That’s the kind of go-slow we like to see. We’re less keen on the slowness of the union’s decision making process. This action should have been announced as soon as the ballot result came back. The delay only benefits the bosses.

Will Labour implement its 32-hour week policy on TfL?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 26/09/2019 - 11:42

The recent Labour Party conference in Brighton ratified policy in favour of a four-day, 32-hour week. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell promised that the average working week would be cut to 32 hours within a decade under a Labour government.

In London, we already have a (local) Labour government: Labour controls the mayoralty, and the Greater London Assembly, which administers TfL and its subsidiaries.

Action Against Assaults

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 23/09/2019 - 10:02

Staff across the job have been shocked to hear about the brutal assault on our workmates at West Ham station last Wednesday. Tubeworker sends our solidarity to those involved and is pleased to hear about the great support they are getting from colleagues. Not so much from management, though, we hear.

In response to this, we need concrete action: not crocodile tears, and not sticking-plaster attempts to use inadequate technological fixes to address the problem.

Concrete demands follow from the key issues in the assault:

A uniform approach

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 19/09/2019 - 14:02

CSAs are having uniform orders rejected when they have been on the job less than two years. What's going on?

Some part-time workers have only one pair of trousers or two tops. Waiting for two years to get the uniform needed we have to wear for the job is a joke.

If this is happening across the network then workers should start speaking up.

Automatic Warning?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 19/09/2019 - 13:40

"It's an automatic 26-week warning" is becoming a mantra from managers, especially on stations. But that's not the case, and it is high time that more of us objected and asserted our rights.

The Attendance and Discipline policies are clear that managers have discretion to give lower warnings - or no warning at all - as well as to give the maximum. If they give the maximum warning, they have to explain why. Any mention of the word "automatic" is a breach of the policy.

French metro workers strike

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 16/09/2019 - 13:57
RATP

This report on the Paris metro workers’ strike appeared in the newspaper of the New Anticapitalist Party (NPA) on 18 September and was translated from the French by Luke Neal.

A strike on RATP (the Paris metro) has got the the ball rolling in the fight against pension reforms in France. After 12 years of lethargy - at least on the surface - the strike has made a smashing comeback in Parisian transport: 100% of strikers on the metro, 60% on buses and in maintenance workshops. The capital was paralysed on Friday 13 September. Well dug, you old mole!

Noise ballot success

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 10/09/2019 - 16:08

RMT Drivers on the Northern, Central, Victoria and Jubilee lines have returned a yes vote for action short of strike due to excessive track noise.

Tubeworker congratulates the workers who voted YES and bizarrely those who voted NO. Without them the ballot would not have made it over the ridiculous 50% threshold that the Trade Union Act imposes on unions.

Tube workers against the coup!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 04/09/2019 - 13:56

As chaos in Parliament mounts, workers must take to the streets to protest against Boris Johnson's undemocratic manoeuvring and plans for a no-deal Brexit.

As transport workers in London, we have bitter experience of having Boris as a boss, experiencing his blatant lies about ticket office closures and the vicious cuts regime TfL and LU bosses pursued under his mayoralty.

RMT suspends strikes on Vic and Central

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 04/09/2019 - 13:48

RMT has suspended a drivers' strike planned for today on the Victoria and Central Lines.

The company has budged in talks at Acas, offering some concessions. On the Victoria Line, where issues related to overbearing managers pushing drivers around, the company has committed to a series of workshops to try to improve relations. As the dispute is still live, the union can go back to Acas, and potentially reinstate action, if things don't improve on the ground.

Driverless Nightmare

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 31/08/2019 - 14:02

Lest we forget, while we continue our day-to-day battles with management, behind the scenes they continue to prepare to introduce driverless trains.

And in case anyone believes the hype that they are 'safe', read this report of a toddler being separated from his mum on a driverless Metro train in Sydney last week.

Greening the Tube?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 29/08/2019 - 22:41

According to LU's own figures, the company produces 585,000 tones of CO2 emissions per year. To offset that, you'd need to plant 26,000,000 trees.

Our bosses' solution to this? Encourage staff to recycle and turn out the lights.

Fine, we should all try our best not to be wasteful, but let's be honest here: those individual behavioural changes simply don't address the scale of the problem.

Take action against lone working!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 27/08/2019 - 17:56

After lone working at the east end of the District Line led to a spike in staff assaults, local reps began renewed campaigning against lone working. RMT is now preparing to ballot station staff on the District East group for action to demand increased staffing levels.

Workers will vote on whether to take action-short-of-strikes, in the form of working from a place of safety when lone working, and refusing to detrain or attend incidents alone.

The ballot runs from 29 August to 12 September. If you work on District East, vote yes for action!

Drivers: vote yes for action over noise levels!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 27/08/2019 - 17:45

RMT is balloting all driver members, including Night Tube drivers, on the Jubilee, Central, Northern and Victoria lines, for industrial action against excessive noise levels, which have become intolerable.

The problem is caused by the "Pandrol Vanguard" system LU installed to reduce track noise for people living above and next to the tracks; fair enough, except the system has the effect of forcing the noise into the train itself, leading to thunderous levels of noise in the driver's cab (and, indeed, in the carriages).

Turdgate!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 27/08/2019 - 17:37

You come to expect the unexpected working on the Tube; we see all sorts and we raise one eyebrow and carry on. But one Friday morning incident in August has pushed our levels of incredulity to the extreme.

Strike dates adjusted on Victoria and Central lines

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 22/08/2019 - 14:54

The dates for the Central and Victoria Line strikes have been adjusted to 3-4 September (20:00 to 20:00), after reps and activists argued that the initial dates (29-30 August) would be less impactful.

Although altering dates after initially announcing them can be a bit of a messy business, it seems like the new dates will be more effective.

It’s a good lesson in why meetings of rank-and-file reps and activists should be the forum for making these decisions in the first place.

All out on the Vic and Central!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sun, 18/08/2019 - 22:22

Drivers on the Victoria and Central Lines are ready for action, with a strike due from 20:00 on Thursday 29 August to 20:00 on Friday 30 August. This will affect services all day on Friday.

These disputes follow a pattern we’ve seen elsewhere on the combine recently, including on the Piccadilly Line, where drivers struck last year. Depot bosses are throwing their weight around, misapplying and breaching company procedure, and generally treating drivers in an authoritarian and heavy-handed way.

Ask For More Cleaners!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 03/08/2019 - 09:43

ABM claims that its latest job-cutting scheme is actually just flexibility in allocating resources. This has seen even some large and busy stations left with just one cleaner on duty. The company says that station staff can ask for more cleaners on your station, but we are not sure that this is sufficiently widely known.

So, if you need an extra cleaner on your station, ask for one (or more!). If there is an event coming up, or the weather forecast is worrying you, or the place could really do with a tidy-up, ask.

Vic Line drivers vote for strikes

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 30/07/2019 - 14:28

Congratulations to RMT drivers on the Victoria Line, who’ve returned a 100% vote for strikes on a 62% turnout.

Like drivers on many lines, Vic Line drivers face a management that frequently throws its weight around, riding roughshod over agreements and abusing procedure.

Now RMT must name impactful action to make sure management get the message.

New brass

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 29/07/2019 - 18:45

LU will have a new Managing Director from November 2019, as Andy Lord joins the company.

His previous role was as Executive Vice President of Menzies Aviation, a logistics firm serving the aviation sector. Prior to that, he worked at British Airways for 25, and he’s also a Non-Executive Director for Defence Equipment and Support, which is a trading entity set up by the Ministry of Defence to handle the procurement and transpiration of military vehicles such as fighter jets, battleships, and submarines.

Plenty of experience working on public railways, then.

Ditch the tabards!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 25/07/2019 - 11:49

As London faces temperatures of up to 40°, some of our fears about the extreme discomfort caused by having to wear a thick red tabard are being realised.

This entirely unnecessary and uncomfortable addition to the station staff uniform serves no purpose. As we said at the time of its imposition, the issue isn’t staff “visibility”, but staff numbers. Dressing us in red vests can’t mask the fact that LU has cut staff numbers.

“Go it alone”?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 25/07/2019 - 11:16

Tubeworker isn’t linked to any one union on the job, and we argue consistently for unity and common action between all unions on LU.

That aspiration for unity means it’s always disappointing when one union puts out material attacking another in a way that’s divisive or even straightforwardly inaccurate. Robust criticism and debate about strategy and tactics is one thing; misleading workers about another union’s record is quite another.

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