Never Sold Out?

Published on: Fri, 31/08/2012 - 00:13

When it comes to LU’s attack on our framework agreements, RMT will be able to say, ‘we never sold our frameworks’.

Bizarrely, an ASLEF leaflet is arguing that ASLEF also defended drivers’ frameworks BY SELLING THEM at a high price.

And it wasn’t even a good deal! Some earned near £4k, while others got far less. Fair?

Better if all unions had stuck together for a flat rate bonus for extra work, not extra hours. More drivers could have been recruited for the extra time. Surely no unionist could be against creating jobs?

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Cough Up!

Published on: Wed, 22/08/2012 - 15:31

It was tough that Olympic dead late shifts finished an hour later than usual, at 2 and 3am. It was even worse that staff taxis were scheduled to be 90 minutes later!!

But did LU pay us extra money for the time we were detained at work beyond the end of our shifts?

On the night of the Opening Ceremony, some staff taxis were no shows and staff slept at their stations overnight. Where staff have put a fight up, LU have reluctantly coughed up for overtime. We should all fight to be paid for extra time spent at work over the Olympics and Paralympics. Our Olympics 'bonus' was supposed to be extra money, not an excuse for LU to avoid coughing up for overtime.

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Clowns in Charge

Published on: Thu, 02/08/2012 - 15:13

LU’s Olympic strategy was ‘years in the making’. Was this it???

LU was correcting Magenta direction signs and staff knowledge books with one week to go. Directions on posters contradicted the magenta signs!

Did we ‘look’ ready, wearing Olympic hi vi’s one week early? No, LU over-ordered extra large size, so station staff looked like fluorescent orange coco the clowns!

Now it’s started, stations are deserted. Ooops! LU’s warnings not to travel have cleared out the capital.

Who put these clowns in charge? And why are workers always denied a say? It’s political. Management deny we have knowledge. They don’t want us getting ideas. They don’t want us to have more of a say in the transport system we run. We might start questioning why unelected, ignorant, overpaid managers have power over us.

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Air Con?

Published on: Thu, 02/08/2012 - 13:22

Air conditioning units have been installed on LU stations. ‘Heaven!’, we thought!

But these units have only been leased for the Olympics. Afterwards, we’ll go back to the big blue fans that blow hot air round the stations.

Air con is good enough for the toffs and the tourists. But staff and ordinary passengers can just sweat it out.

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Orange and Pink

Published on: Sun, 22/07/2012 - 20:57

Thanks Howard Collins for making us wear bright orange high visibility vests one week before the Olympics starts: 'Let's all of us get in to the spirit of the Games and wear our new hi-vis from this Saturday'.

Why would we want to create the effect that the event we have all dreaded is going on for even LONGER than it is?

The stations are already emblazoned with gaudy pink direction signs to the Olympic events. Bad news is that loads of them have been put in the wrong places. With just a week to go, a team has been running around this weekend with hundreds of corrections to make.

All this hype and multicoloured spectacle isn't going to make the Games go any more smoothly or fill us with Olympic spirit.

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Party Time?

Published on: Thu, 19/07/2012 - 16:17

With the Queen's Jubilee only just behind us, we thought we were due a rest from forced festivities.

But no. LU has festooned our messrooms with pink Olympic bunting.

Forgive us for not entering into the party spirit about a stressful event that management are hoping will erode our terms and conditions long-term.

Tubeworker can't help but suspect that LU plans more than a party. It's sending a message: don't spoil this great event. Don't make errors, cause delays.....and think very, very carefully before taking action short of strike to defend your terms and conditions.

Well, with RMT's 78% 'yes' vote for action short of strike announced today, LU will need more than a bit of bunting.

In most messrooms, staff are refusing to put this bunting up anyway. Staff have more important things to think about: how to organise to make sure we stick within our agreed hours and conditions during the Games.

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Good 4 Something?

Published on: Thu, 12/07/2012 - 22:43

G4S have hit the headlines for their ineptitude with the Olympics security contract. This is hardly a surprise to those of us who are used to them missing their ticket office collections, or who remember them when they were notorious for losing prisoners when they were still called Group 4.

This is one of those companies that lines its owners' pockets by picking up public sector contracts, doing them badly and trousering the fees. This latest fiasco should see them kicked off all their public sector contracts - including on the Tube - and their workers brought in-house.

Don't hold your breath though.

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Olympic Ready?

Published on: Thu, 24/05/2012 - 13:44

It's approaching fast. But evidence indicates LU is in no way ready for the Games.

LU's Employee Relations tells us that BTP are being trained up and deployed as medics for the Games. This is not the police's job, and highlights serious staffing concerns in both LUL and comrades in the National Health.

There are rumours that the Office of Rail Regulation has been asking questions of LU about whether they are genuinely prepared.

The Jubilee line went down big time on one of the hottest days of the year the other day. LU will not be able to stop this kind of incident happening over the Olympics. They seem to be relying on the power of prayer and last-minute botches to get them through this enormous event.

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Inspiring a Generation

Published on: Wed, 18/04/2012 - 09:03

Today, the Olympics revealed its official slogan - 'Inspiring a Generation'. And there was us thinking it was 'Our Framework Agreements Are Not For Sale'.

Still, a firm stance and strong organisation on this principle could inspire a generation of Tube workers to defend our working conditions and not sell them for thirty pieces of Olympic silver.

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Framework Agreements Not For Sale

Published on: Fri, 06/04/2012 - 13:16

Why are agreements so important? Because they give us protection in the workplace. It is our agreements - in the first place, our framework agreements - that ensure that our rosters are halfway civilised, that we can't work for hours on end without a break, that we can't be brought back to work without enough time to relax and sleep between shifts. Our framework agreements are what stand between us and management's wet dream of making us the 'Martini workforce' - any time, any place, anywhere.

Agreements are like trenches in a war. They mark the line we have reached in our battle with the other side. We do not retreat from them unless we have to, and we do not let holes appear in them.

If management were to maintain staffing levels, they would not need to weaken our agreements. Better still, if they reversed cuts and increased staffing, we could campaign and negotiate to improve those agreements and give ourselves more rights and protections.

But LU management's plan is the opposite: get the Olympics out of the way and cut jobs. And to cut jobs, they need to weaken the framework agreements. Why? So they can move us around like plastic soldiers on a battlefield map to cover the gaps left by their cuts.

Management see the Olympics as an opportunity to test-drive their plans to weaken the agreements. However much they say that any framework changes are "temporary", we can be sure that the company will come back for more. And if the unions go along with this, we can be equally sure that management will sniff blood and come after us with a vengeance.

That's why ASLEF's deal with management to break the drivers' agreements and have 9-hour turns at weekends is so irresponsible. The cash looks tempting, but it will be gone soon, leaving us to repent at leisure about the weapon handed to management. Similarly, if any of the other unions go along with framework changes, they will be inviting attacks. We are hearing rumours of Unite and TSSA indicating that they might do this, which we hope are not true. RMT's recent reps' meeting was very clear that it did not want framework changes, and its national executive has underlined this.

Moreover, we can not accept any notion that individuals can opt in or out of collective agreements. RMT members do not need to opt out of the ASLEF deal because the 'deal' is not an agreement with their union. We need to remember that agreements are collective - they do not apply just to individuals, but to workplaces, workforces and ways of working. For example, a roster needs to meet all the requirements of the framework agreement (sufficient rest between duties, not exceeding maximum duty lengths or number of days worked in a row etc). You can not have bits of it that break the framework so long as only 'volunteers' work those bits.

On a day-to-day basis in our workplaces, our union reps police our agreements. They work to ensure that no-one breaks them by, for example, exceeding overtime limits or not taking enough rest between duties. We don't say that it's OK for someone to do this so long as they were volunteers and were not forced. Why? Because the framework agreements protect not just the individual who has to abide by them, but everyone else as well.

Hold the line - our framework agreements are not for sale.

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Submitted by mildlyinteresting on Fri, 06/04/2012 - 15:06

It's just a shame that it is the union looking for holes in their 'contract' of 'no enforced breeches.' This is a management tact - agreeing something but wording it weekly so they can get around it: union members shouldn't be having to double check what there own reps and officials say in case they use it to do something different.

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