Night Tube

Reduced service imposed: fight for workers' control

Published on: Wed, 18/03/2020 - 20:36

LU has announced a number of measures as part of its response to the Covid-19 crisis, including suspending Night Tube and the Waterloo and City line, and "temporarily closing stations" (although it hasn't yet said which).

Emergency measures are necessary; suspending Night Tube was one of the demands in our proposed "Emergency Plan", and was formally submitted to LU by the RMT. LU may now ask NT workers to work outside of their contracted hours to supply staffing shortages through the week; Tubeworker reminds our NT worker readers that such measures will be strictly voluntary. LU cannot make you work outside of your contract.

We also need to demand workers' control over operational decision making. Frontline staff should make the calls about which stations to keep open and which to close - not managers who are probably all working from home by now anyway.

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Keep it a mess(room)

Published on: Fri, 07/02/2020 - 14:34

Reports reached Tubeworker that night tube CSAs going for their meal break at Stockwell on Friday night found contractors setup in the mess room working at a desk going through their paperwork. We understand that people shared a cup of tea and had a good chat but why if they needed somewhere to work were they put up in the messroom?

An already windowless cell is barely fit for its actual purpose, but you can't take a nap or watch cat videos or get some downtime from the job while people are working. Management should keep our space free for us to use.

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Drivers: vote yes for action over noise levels!

Published 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).

LU wants to issue drivers with ear defenders, but RMT is rightly insisting on a long-term engineering fix to sort the problem out properly. As LU won't agree to impose speed restrictions over the affected sections of track, which would alleviate the problem, it is entirely right for drivers to ballot in order to take things into our own hands and impose the speed restrictions ourselves.

The ballot opened today, Tuesday 27 August, and closes on 10 September. Use your vote, vote yes for action!

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Dispute against lone working at Heathrow prepared for take off

Published on: Thu, 20/06/2019 - 23:18

RMT has launched a local dispute on the Heathrow stations cover group, demanding an end to lone working during Night Tube hours.

Due to short staffing, Night Tube staff at the Terminal 5 station often have to work alone, including having to detrain before trains are taken into the sidings. They face antisocial behaviour and a serious risk of assault. During a review of Night Tube staffing levels conducted during 2018, RMT Stations Functional Council reps raised Heathrow as an area that should be considered for an increased Night Tube staffing level, due to the possibility of staff assaults. Management stonewalled the request... and staff were indeed assaulted, including one particularly nasty incident recently.

Workers have decided enough is enough and have raised the issue via their union reps and branch. The local RMT branch is preparing to ballot affected stations members for industrial action, as well as balloting Night Tube drivers. The lack of adequate station staffing levels means drivers don't have sufficient support when detraining.

With Night Tube workers at other locations facing similar issues, let's hope the Heathrow dispute is the first of many fight backs against lone working and short staffing.

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Action brings management to the table but where next?

Published on: Sun, 07/10/2018 - 00:28

The Picc line strike 26-28 September was rock solid at all depots. Management are clearly worried and now asking to return to ACAS for further talks. Aslef members respecting pickets and the involvement of the night tube for the first time show there is appetite from drivers to pile on the pressure.

It would be all to easy to go into the talks, hear some progress, just like in November and once against for them to fail to deliver. RMT should go into these talks with dates for further action named. With the ballot showing strong support for action on The Central. Picc drivers should coordinate their action. RMT branches jointly meeting with all those involved to discuss the next steps like Finsbury Park and Piccadilly & District Line West did are examples to be followed

On 26 September coming out at noon effectively gave an extra day of action, lining up to do the same when the Central Line driver's name their date will show what we are capable of.

A whole line being taken out caused plenty of problems for management, two going out together and a commitment to keep naming dates until real concessions are made would put us on the front foot and serve as an example to other grades on the combine

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Night Tube brings in an extra £1.5bn

Published on: Mon, 20/08/2018 - 15:40

Night Tube is now apparently going to bring an extra £1.5bn to London's night time economy. That wealth will come from the labour and skills of numerous workers, but will mainly end up in the pockets of the wealthy few.

As members of fighting unions (if we push for a fight), we can do our bit to ensure some of that wealth is redistributed; by demanding more Night Tube workers and better pay for them.

It might take strikes, and if it does the Tory press will bemoan how much we are “costing the economy”, but that will highlight our value and importance in the jobs we do.

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Calling it a night

Published on: Sat, 21/07/2018 - 01:15

CSAs working shifts till 0020 are left asking what they are still doing on Friday or Saturday when night tube staff have already booked on.

We don't want to see staff cut but once all the night turns have started in a lot of cases by 2300 why do other staff still need to hang around? CSS/CSMs can definitely make themselves popular by letting these staff get away. If night tube is a distinct service with its own contracts then other staff shouldn't have to work their shifts.

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Night Tube Health Nightmare

Published on: Thu, 19/07/2018 - 16:24

Night work can cause health problems, so the law demands that employers assess the health of night workers. Not too onerous a task really - they only have to issue a questionnaire and act on any responses that show concern.

But apparently, even this is too much for LUL when it comes to its Night Tube staff. The company only got round to issuing the questionnaire this year, despite Night Tube having been running for nearly two years. And it seems that many staff have not even received it.

Those who did get to fill in the questionnaire have found that LUL's response has been somewhat sluggish. We have yet to hear from anyone who has received a response! Meanwhile, many staff are developing health problems or have genuine concerns that they might do, whether that be through stress, fatigue or other issues.

It's almost as though the company doesn't really give much of a toss about Night Tube staff's health. If the company is going to treat an issue as a tick-box exercise, it could at least tick the boxes.

Remember this: The law states that if your doctor says that you have a medical problem that is bring made worse by night work, your employer has to give you alternative work if possible.

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"Assisting" intoxicated customers

Published on: Thu, 24/05/2018 - 11:43

Management want to trial station staff at Piccadilly and Oxford Circus challenging passengers drinking alcohol during the bank holiday weekend.

The alcohol ban may well have been in place since 2008, butparticularly on night tube we know it's not worth trying to enforce it. Most passengers are alright but challenging drunk people holding glass bottles isn't what we signed up for! Only last weekend a CSA had alcohol thrown in their face for asking someone to stop drinking.

The Pic Circus AM says that in reality nothing different will be required from staff, so what is this trial for? An increased BTP presence will be in both stations so are they going to challenge people? Usually even they can see it isn't worth it.

More worryingly staff are given the opportunity to wear a body camera during the trial. Do we really want to give management more excuses to check up on us?

Station staff should not be put at risk, already we need more staff to deal with night time hit spots. No staff should be put at risk of assault. Our unions should be ready to stop this trial becoming policy.

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Night Tube fight back

Published on: Tue, 01/05/2018 - 11:54

A campaign is brewing involving Night Tube station staff; RMT’s Finsbury Park branch passed a charter of issues affecting Night Tube workers, which has been submitted to LU to form the basis of a comprehensive review of Night Tube.

Although both RMT and Aslef have organised disputes involving Night Tube drivers, there are issues on both trains and stations around the integration of Night Tube workers into the wider workforce. Contact, or lack of it, with union reps can be an issue, and unions need to do more to organise amongst Night Tube staff.

The charter, which is posted below, flags up a whole raft of issues Night Tube workers have raised, including safety issues, staffing levels, and working hours. Although it’s unusual for a union to demand working hours be extended, in this case moving Night Tube staff from 15-hour contracts to 16-hour ones would have a huge impact, as 16 hours is the baseline for many benefits and tax credits.

Activists will be working hard to ensure the review is used to press for Night Tube workers’ demands. If LU doesn’t look like budging on them, let’s consider a dispute!

Night Tube policy passed by RMT Finsbury Park branch:

We note the following issues raised by our Night Tube members:

1. assaults on duty

2. harassment on duty, including sexual harassment

3. inadequate staffing levels

4. difficulty dealing with administrative matters such as leave, uniform, staff passes, etc., as these are only dealt with during 'office hours'

5. training courses, occupational health appointments, etc., not being available during their working hours

6. Night Tube station staff working 15 hours per week, and missing out on the benefits of working 16 hours as Night Tube drivers do

7. the announcement that London Overground will soon run an overnight service, with no information or apparent consideration as to the impact of this on Night Tube

8. degraded running on the Piccadilly Line Night Tube, due to management's incompetence in failing to employ enough drivers

9. Night Tube drivers not having the opportunity to apply for the 3- and 4-day drivers' posts that have just been made available

10. unreasonable barriers to Night Tube staff obtaining either promotion to higher grades or transfer to full-time posts

11. lack of facilities for food during the night

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