Crossrail will run across London — from Brentwood to the north east, to Abbey Wood in the south east and Twyford to the west. It will affect rail workers across many companies, geographical areas, grades and unions.
Off the Rails thinks that unions should be joining together to get the best possible working conditions out of Crossrail. A lot of us have concerns that, rather than improving our conditions, Crossrail will make them worse. We have a lot of questions at the moment.
For example, it's less than a year until the the line between Liverpool Street and Brentwood is transferred from Abellio Greater Anglia to Crossrail. Yet those of us who work on that line still don't know what our terms and conditions will be. Will we lose our rail travel into Essex? Will we get TfL free travel? What about our pay and pensions? A few years ago Crossrail committed to extending the traffic day and ticket office opening hours — but will Crossrail stick to that if London Underground succeeds in closing its ticket offices?
Some current First Great Western staff don't know who they'll be working for, whether they'll remain working for their current employer or get transferred over to Crossrail.
On London Underground, reps have been assured that LU staff on LU terms and conditions will be running the major central London stations, e.g. Bond Street and Tottenham Court Road. But the plan is for Crossrail to have its own platforms, staffed by its own staff. Will these staff count towards the minimum numbers LU requires to keep its stations open? Or will this be another way of diluting the number of LU staff that LU employs on Tube stations?
Our reps who are going to meetings about Crossrail need to report back to us about what is going on.
Off the Rails thinks that reps should get together — across regions, grades, and even unions to share what we know about what is planned. In RMT, for example, we know that reps in different regions have been having separate meetings with Crossrail management but reps don't seem to be talking to each other.
By working together we could focus on achieving the best possible terms and conditions out of Crossrail, instead of being divided against each other.