Ballot on pay and conditions imminent

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 18/06/2019 - 11:58

RMT is now preparing to ballot members on LU for industrial action over pay and conditions. With all three other unions having also rejected LU’s latest offer, it’s likely they’ll ballot too.

Restrictive anti-union laws mean we need to get a 50% turnout and at least 40% of all those balloted voting yes to take legal action. So make sure your contact details are up to date with your union so your ballot paper gets sent to the right place.

We need to be prepared to take serious action. A token one-day strike is unlikely to be enough to budge the bosses. Guards on South Western Railway are currently striking for five days to defend their jobs; their resolve should inspire us!

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Pay and conditions fight update

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 28/05/2019 - 17:15

LU has now made a revised offer on pay and conditions, offering RPI + 0.1% this year, and RPI + 0.2% next year. There has been no movement on any union demand: for a reduced working week, for a flat-rate minimum for lower-paid staff, and more.

This offer needs to be completely rejected, and a dispute declared.

No-one should be in any doubt that strikes will be required to win a decent deal. We need to build for that now, and preparing for the hard work of achieving the required threshold in the ballot.

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LU's pay offer is a joke: stand firm for our demands!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 05/04/2019 - 20:07

London Underground has offered our unions a one-year, 2.5% pay increase... as long as our unions agree to drop the entirety of our demands.

What is there to say about this offer other than... well, to avoid using inappropriate language, let's just say, "no thanks".

The unions' pay claims included varied demands, but all have demanded a 32-hour, four-day week. LU has simply ignored this, and many other demands around work/life balance and working conditions.

We all know that we'll only shift LU into making real concessions by taking industrial action. Our unions need to begin preparations for that now. Tubeworker was calling nearly a year ago for our unions to launch the pay fight well in advance, so we could be in a position to take industrial action as soon as possible. Unfortunately things have moved at a slower pace. We now need to accelerate.

Stand firm to win a reduced working week and a decent pay rise: prepare for action!

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Workers Win Sky-High Pay Rise

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 18/03/2019 - 11:41

Workers on the cable car service across the Thames have won pay rises of between 14.35% and 22.35% - by getting unionised.

In this relatively new workforce, a few staff had joined RMT. But the campaign stepped up a gear in October last year with the election of a new RMT rep. The union negotiated a recognition agreement and started talking to the company about pay. As time went on and the benefits of unionisation became clearer, more joined, and so the pressure on management increased.

The result is a hike in wages of 22.35% for Operator 1s, 15.8% for Operator 2s and 14.35% for Technicians. Importantly, the highest percentage rise has gone to the lowest-paid grade and the lowest percentage rise to the highest-paid. Thus, ineuqalities beteen different grades are reduced while at the same time, everyone gets an uplift. This is an example for all of us to follow.

The rise won't all find its way into the workers' pay packets, as 7% is a consolidation of bonuses paid (or not paid!) under the previous pay system. But nonetheless, it is a big rise, and consolidated pay is much better than unreliable bonuses anyway!

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Sticky Stick Rip-off

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 08/03/2019 - 10:43

Apparently, LUL pays £1,300 a go for a Track Retrieval Device.

That might sound quite reasonable if it were actually a 'device' in the popular understanding of the word. But it is a stick with a sticky pad on the end. Hence its usual moniker among station staff - the 'sticky stick'.

Private companies which make stuff like this must think that LUL is run by a bunch of suckers who will put their hands deep into their corporate pockets for any simple gadget they can come up with.

Shame their hands won't go so deep so easily in our pay talks, but at least when they claim to have no money, we can deploy our own Truth Retrieval Device.

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The pay claim and you

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 25/02/2019 - 11:00

A lot of us have come onto the job since the last pay claim in 2015. If you are Night Tube then you probably don’t remember the last time a pay increase was on the cards. All the unions on the tube have now gone to the bosses with what they want.

Now negotiations will start, but we should not be waiting to find out what pittance they say they can afford. We should be taking the fight to them and aiming to win the demands we’ve already agreed. Whatever happens they are not going to meet demands like a £3000 flat-rate pro rata pay increase or a change to a 32 hour week without a fight. That means getting ready for strike action.

Every time we strike or even threaten to the Evening Standard, LBC and the company will come down hard with lies and misinformation and try and stir up division between us as the so-called “ordinary Londoners.” But let's looks at the facts. Yes, we already earn more money than lots of people doing other jobs, but does that mean we just have to shut up and accept a race to the bottom? Lots of us got this job knowing it paid better than most, but that is because we’ve fought and won that pay by taking the action needed to win: striking.

And while we earn more than a newly qualified teacher or a nurse, why do the bosses always make out our job is so easy? We work on short staffed stations and depots, do extreme shifts in a safety critical workplace, and thats before you get to station staff dealing with the public

Tubeworker calls on all staff whether you are on probation or have been here 30 years to get excited by the chance to fight our corner and get off the fence and on the offensive!

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LU pay: we need a positive, proactive campaign

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 21/01/2019 - 19:08

RMT has now submitted its pay claim to LU; the claim is online on the RMT London Calling website, and can be read here.

It’s good that the union is publicising the full contents of the claim to all members, so we know exactly what it is we’re fighting for. It’s also good that the demands for a minimum flat-rate pay increase, which will be worth more to lower-paid grades, and the demand for a 32-hour week are prominently included.

There’s an ongoing debate about whether the union should’ve specified a figure in the claim. Tubeworker believes it should. Several RMT branch submissions to the consultation around pay called for a figure of £2,000. Having a clear, concrete, pay demand to fight for, rather than the somewhat vague and generic language in the claim, would give our pay fight more clarity and focus. If you agree, why not take a motion to your RMT branch proposing that the union submits an addendum to the claim specifying that our minimum demand is for flat-rate increase of £2,000.

What’s also key now is the kind of pay campaign we run. We’ve been late out of the gates on this one: lots of activists on the job were calling for the pay claim to be collated and submitted a lot earlier, so we might stand a chance of winning a new deal in time for the expiry of the current one in April. We were saying ”Start the pay fight now!” in May 2018!

Now that the claim has gone in, we shouldn’t let the company dictate the pace of negotiations by sitting on it, getting back to us in a few months, telling us they’re offering a 0.5% pay increase instead, whereupon we allow ourselves to be dragged into haggling over the company’s derisory offer.

Let’s have a positive, proactive campaign where we seek to win demands that we’ve decided for ourselves, rather than simply reacting to the bosses. The union should set a deadline for the company to say yes or no to our demands, and if they so no (as they almost inevitably will), we should declare a dispute and begin balloting. To stand the best chance of getting a result in that ballot, we need to start campaigning now: promoting the contents of the claim, producing workplace-specific propaganda explaining how each demand would improve conditions for different grades, and getting our fellow workers ready to fight.

We’ve had several years of fighting defensive battles to try to blunt the sharpest edges of management attacks. We’ve now get a chance to get back on the front foot. Let’s take it.

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Underneath the Sta(i)rs

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 21/12/2018 - 18:43

In what appears to be a personal contract across multiple cover groups, Mariah Carey is the newest member of station staff at Waterloo, Stratford and London Bridge. Although Tubeworker hasn't spotted her on the gateline.

Perhaps the Mayor can ask for some of her reported $520m (Earning only slightly less than a Train Op, h/t the Evening Standard) to plug the central government funding gap. Sister Carey has taken over the safety announcements, reminding people to stand behind the yellow line and to hold on to the handrail...Oh and she gets to plug her new album too.

At this time it's not clear how much she has been paid but no doubt, against all odds an intrepid FOI request from a respectable journalist will get to the bottom of it. Tubeworker just asks that she don't forget about us if she goes back to her potentially less lucrative career.

Tube drivers earning £100k?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 20/12/2018 - 09:38

"London Tube drivers earning £100,000 a year" screamed The Times headline, suggesting that London Underground train drivers now earn a six figure sum. However, in reality full time Train Operators earn £55,000.

The Times and other Tory propoganda rags claimed that drivers are on £100k, yet the reality is that just nine specialist drivers, who operate various stocks on lines across the network earn that amount which includes benefits and pension cintributiins, whilst the majority of drivers, 4000 of us, earn an annual salary which is nearly half that amount.

Why does the media attack us?

Have you ever heard the saying ‘attack is the best form of defense’? When working class people earn a decent wage the bosses see it as a threat to their profit. The Tory press is the mouthpiece of the bosses, and so they seek to undermine and attack us first to protect their own interests.

Just as they see us as a threat to them, their greatest fear is that other working people will look to us and recognise that being in a union means better wages and conditions. This is why the Tory press seek to divide us, to try and prevent us organising and unifying again them.

What about the nurses?

The Tory press often cite nurses wages when claiming that our pay is too high, but have you ever seen then state that nurses should be paid more? They never do because the truth is they don't want nurses paid more money. What the bosses want is all working people on a low wage so they can keep more of the wealth working people create in profit for themselves. Driving down the wage of public sector workers means the bosses get to pay less to have a functioning society even though it is essential for keeping them rich.

The way to increase nurses pay is simple. Pay them more money! We just need to be in a position to make that decision. It all comes down to a choice, do we pay workers a fair wage or can bosses have all the money? At the moment the bosses are in charge and keep the fruits of our classes’ labour for themselves, but if we organise we can change that.

What can we do within our unions?

Our unions should take the opportunity to be a part of this debate and highlight the reality of our uneven economy, which sees tube workers such as cleaners and CSAs on a low wage, and tube bosses earning bonuses of six figures. The Tory press don't want to recognise these issues because they are the mouthpiece of the highly paid bosses who benefit from this inequality. Therefore, we should take the opportunity to raise these issues ourselves using the attention the recent nonsense story about tube driver pay has created.

This is Tubeworker's plan for what our unions could be doing :

Have a clear message and use social media, newsletters, websites, interviews etc to ensure our voices are heard.
Be honest about the train drivers wage and at the same time highlight the wage of lowest paid workers on the tube and the grotesque pay of our bosses.
Get members and the public to recognise why the tory press attacks us.
highlight that as trade unionists we want other low paid workers paid more and that this goal can be achieved by being in a trade union.
use the opportunity to highlight the low pay and mistreatment of many workers on LU such as cleaners and csa2s, and change the debate to the question ‘why isnt the Tory press talking about this inequality?’

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Start the pay fight now!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 01/05/2018 - 11:51

The deal on pay, terms, and conditions on LU expires in April 2019. We need to get into gear to make sure the next deal is a good one.

Let’s make sure our unions submit the deal in good time, meaning that if strikes become necessary to push our demands (and, let’s face it, they almost certainly will), they can be organised well in advance, with the aim of securing a deal in time for when it’s actually supposed to be implemented.

It’s also vital that the content of the unions’ claims is reflective of what members want. Ideas for demands should be canvassed from the shopfloor, via workplace reps and branch meetings. If our claim is generated in this way, it’s far more likely members will feel ownership over it and want to fight to win its demands.

Tubeworker has a few ideas for possible elements: firstly, we think unions should fight for a one-year, rather than multi-year, deal. Annual deals give us the chance to revisit, and improve, our terms and conditions on an all-grades basis every year, rather than handing the employer a period of peace over the fundamental issues. We also believe that any pay demand should be for a flat-rate increase, rather than a percentage, as it’s only right that lower-paid grades, who are struggling more, should feel more benefit.

We are well-paid compared to many other workers, but we still face steep cost-of-living increases, like everyone else. We should not be embarrassed or apologetic for fighting for a pay rise that reflects that, whatever the Evening Standard is likely to shriek about us.

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