Tube workers' pensions

Tube Lines pay and pensions win

Published on: Fri, 11/11/2016 - 12:54

Tube Lines staff have won their long fight for pensions and pay parity with other LU workers. A long-running union campaign has secured equal access to the TfL Pension Fund for all existing and future Tube Lines staff, as well as a pay uplift at the same level secured across the rest of LU.

The disparity between Tube Lines workers and other LU workers was a legacy of the disastrous Public Private Partnership (PPP), a failed experiment in outsourcing and privatisation. Union members in Tube Lines never gave up their fight for reintegration and equality, a fight in which they have now won significant victories.

Their example should inspire other outsourced workers to step up their fight for equality.

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Tube Lines strike ballot rains on Night Tube parade?

Published on: Tue, 24/05/2016 - 16:15

Tube Lines engineering and maintenance workers have voted by over 85% for strikes, after LU refused to discuss ongoing pensions issues until after the launch of Night Tube.

Pensions is just one of a series of struggles Tube Lines workers currently face: there are also outstanding issues relating to pay, and Night Tube staffing levels.

The huge majority for strikes, and the even bigger one for action short of strikes, shows the strength of feeling on these issues.

Our unions, rightly in our view, support 24-hour running, but insist that it must not be imposed over workers' heads but introduced safely and on a basis that addresses our concerns. Without us - cleaners, drivers, station staff, maintenance and engineering workers, signallers, service controllers, and others - there is no Night Tube. We won't suspend our struggles so Night Tube can be rushed in.

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ISS Pensions Changes Keep Workers In The Dark

Published on: Wed, 30/03/2016 - 20:56

When the government's law requiring all employers over a certain size to provide a workplace pension scheme came into effect, cleaning contracted ISS launched an "off the shelf" pension with a company called NOW. Workers have been paying into the scheme ever since.

Now ISS wants to scrap the NOW scheme and start an in-house scheme, apparently as a cost-saving exercise. There has been no consultation with staff, or with RMT (a recognised union) about the changes. Some staff have received letters, but many are being kept in the dark. It's not clear what will happen to the pension pots of staff who've been paying into the NOW scheme.

RMT has demanded info and talks with ISS.

An in-house, directly-administered pension scheme is preferable to one managed via a third-party private company, but workers should not have their pensions viewed as a potential site of efficiency savings by cuts-happy managers. All workers are entitled to a decent pension.

The ideal solution would be for LU to take cleaning service in house, employ cleaners directly, and allow them to join the TfL pension scheme!

Tubeworker topics

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Duty of Care?

Published on: Mon, 25/05/2015 - 21:01

Tubeworker HQ recently received a report of a particularly shocking demonstration of the company’s lack of concern for its staff.

A worker who had a heart attack hasn’t heard from his manager once; not even an “are you alright?” email!

Moreover, the worker’s doctor told them they’d seen several similar heart cases down the years. The common feature in all of them? Shift working, and particularly working nights.

This shows why it’s so important that our unions fight for a shorter working week and extra time as part of the Night Tube settlement, to ensure our work-life balance and health is protected.

Cuts to the LUOH counselling department also mean that vital support services we need to get over trauma at work are being diminished.

Tubeworker sometimes wonders whether our bosses care about us at all?!

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TfL Strikes Too!

Published on: Wed, 05/02/2014 - 15:00

Amid all the attention (rightly) going to the London Underground strike, let us not forget that RMT members are on strike on Transport for London too.

Believe it or not, TfL proposes to freeze workers' pensionable pay at their current wage rate, so that all future rises are lump sums and non-pensionable - oh, and "performance-related".

Thinking that TfL staff have less industrial muscle than Underground staff, management like to try out ideas for attacking our rights in TfL before rolling them out across the Tube. So it is in all our interests to see this appalling proposal scrunched up and thrown in the bin.

Unfortunately, it is so far on RMT striking on TfL, and it is a minority union in the company. But news is reaching Tubeworker that at least some of the others may be ready to bite the bullet and ballot. It seems that TSSA and Unite are moving towards action and maybe PCS too. PCS officials have made a lot of noise about "supporting" RMT and TSSA's fight on the Underground, so it would be good to see them put their words into action, even if they have been a little slow off the mark.

Striking RMT members should be assured that their action this week is not going unnoticed, and is showing a lead that the other unions would be well-advised to follow.

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Jobs and Pensions

Published on: Wed, 20/11/2013 - 19:37

We know that the bosses are trying to take away both our jobs and our pensions in the Government's austerity drive.

Our pensions are already under attack with new employees of LU and some of those transferred over from Tube Lines denied the right to join the TfL pension scheme. This will inevitably affect all of us, in or out of the scheme. Those outside will have to pay an exorbitant percentage of their salary to obtain decent benefits. Those inside will see the scheme weakened by the declining number of contributors of working age. If jobs are cut the workers of tomorrow will be denied both a job and a pension. Those of us in a job owe it to the younger generation (as well as the passengers) to preserve staffing levels for years to come!

Just as the young show solidarity with the old through their retirement years, so the old must show solidarity with the young by protecting jobs!

Tubeworker topics

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Defend Our Pensions!

Published on: Thu, 29/08/2013 - 16:22

Our bosses have shown their hand and stated that they intend to close the TfL Pension Fund to new entrants. This will mean that new starters get enrolled into an inferior scheme, and also spells disaster for current members - the Fund will shrink and become less secure, inevitably leading to attacks on the benefits we can expect to receive from it.

The pretext, of course, is saving money. And management hope that we will be short-sighted enough to think that "we're alright" as only future workers will be excluded. Maybe they get this idea because some other unions in other industries have fallen for it.

But current workers are very much affected - in a very detrimental way. It stands to reason that as people retire and make a claim on their pension, then we need new people coming in to replenish the stock of money.

Moreover, these 'future workers' are our kids and the youngsters in our communities. And they will stand alongside us on the gateline and sit alongside us in the canteen. Just ask Tube Lines workers what happened after their employer closed the Fund to new members - many existing members thought it would not affect them, but as a two-tier workforce opened up, they lived to bitterly regret that view.

We need unity and solidarity - including inter-generational solidarity - to defend our pensions. We also need to go on the offensive, and demand that not only is this attacked dropped, but that all London transport workers should be allowed to join the TfL fund - including those working for private contractors who are not currently allowed to join.

Tubeworker topics

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Tube Lines Reintegration is a Trojan Horse

Published on: Sat, 16/03/2013 - 16:32

Tube Lines to be reintegrated into London Underground! The headline on management's bulletin wanted us to believe that this was all good news, in the manner of Cilla Black reuniting long-lost siblings.

But read past the headline and you will see two big devils in the detail: firstly, that only support and projects staff are coming back in (to TfL and LU APD, respectively), not maintenance workers; and that the transferring staff will not be allowed to join the TfL Pension scheme.

This is a very dangerous new development. We might have rows with management about contractors, private employees etc being allowed to join the fund, but it has always been the case that directly-employed LUL and TfL staff have been allowed to join it. This is a departure from that, with potentially-catastrophic consequences, not just for these workers but for all of us.

The Pension Fund's income is the contributions from its members and their employers. With hundreds of former Tube Lines workers excluded, a major income stream is cut off and the Fund becomes weaker and less reliable for all of us. This is the money that sustains us in retirement.

Defending ourselves against this attack is a fight for every single one of us.

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Tube Lines: Crank Up The Pressure

Published on: Fri, 18/01/2013 - 09:44

Tube Lines' new management - aka. London Underground Ltd! - need a little time to think about whether they can afford to meet our demand for equal pensions and passes, apparently.

They reckon they might be able to afford it if we make some sacrifices: or jobs, pay and conditions, perhaps? They seem to be forgetting that equality is our RIGHT, not something that we should have to pay for. The company can look elsewhere for the cost, perhaps into their own overstuffed pockets, or to the wasteful system of contracts and consultants that litters their outfit.

While the employers ponder, we should concentrate their minds with some renewed industrial action. This could be boosted if ASLEF were to join RMT in this battle, and if the union maintains its improved communication of the issues to rank-and-file members.

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Tube Lines: All Out for Equal Pensions and Passes!

Published on: Wed, 31/10/2012 - 09:15

From Thursday and over the weekend, let’s hit management hard to press our demand for pensions and passes equality. We want maximum support in every Tube Lines workplace to maximise our chances of winning.
Every RMT member should be out on Thursday, and members of other unions should remember the golden rule: you never cross a picket line. With ASLEF moving into dispute with Tube Lines as well, members can show their willingness to fight by respecting the picket lines today.
Then, when we hold the line of doing no overtime over the weekend, Tube Lines will really feel the impact.

Early on in the dispute, we won Staff and Nominee Passes. It’s amazing how something that was ‘impossible’ for years became possible when we put action on. But this was just one part of our demand, and a pretty negligible part if you live, and do most of your travelling, outside London. We need *full* travel equality.
Probably even more important is pensions. There is no excuse whatsoever for more recent workers having an inferior pension to those of us who date back to pre-PPP days. We should all be able to look forward to a comfortable retirement after years slogging our guts out on this job.
Even for those still in the TfL Pension Scheme, the pensions issue is important to every one of us – and to every member, and potential member, of the TfL Scheme. It is one of the best around, and to remain secure, need to maintain its membership, with new employees joining up and their contributions replacing those of members who retire. Getting everyone back in the scheme protects all our pensions.
Underpinning both issues is the basic principle of equality: we and our workmates on London Underground and beyond should have equal rights. No ifs, no buts, no two-tier workforce.

Tube Lines management have put out propaganda that there is no point in us taking action because they can’t talk to us about our demands while the future ownership of the company remains uncertain.
Well, they would say that, wouldn’t they? A long catalogue of experience tells us that “can’t”s become “can”s under the pressure of solid action.
In any case, we have an opinion about that future ownership, and if a stroppy workforce puts off potential private owners, then that’s a bonus.
PricewaterhouseCoopers are compiling an options report on the subject – just like they did in the run-up to the notorious PPP. Will they recommend giving us back to Amey, selling us to someone new, keep maintenance in-house and contracting-out projects and upgrades? the only acceptable solution to us is to be fully reintegrated into a publicly-owned London Underground, and the only options report we need is how to squeeze money from the rich and the capitalists to fund the job properly, and how we can democratise the job and wrest control from the managers who mess it up.

And after this weekend?
The good news is that our fight has now picked up again. It was allowed to lose a lot of momentum after April’s strike, and we shouldn’t let the union put too much faith in a hopeless Joint Working Party again. These talking shops only get results when they take place alongside industrial action, not in place of it.
We should be smart - keep hitting possessions and blockades, work out what trouble management the most, whilst being sustainable for us. This requires pooling of information, and continuous discussion of tactics. Central to this is the role of the strike committee, bringing together reps and members from across the job. Every Tube Lines workplace must ensure that it sends a representative to the strike committee meetings.
We may soon have the chance to co-ordinate our action with others, too. RMT is balloting Central and Bakerloo line drivers to refuse to take trains into depots or sidings without physical detrainment, and the union plans to call strike action across several cleaning companies later this month. With Tube Lines’ cleaning contract up for renewal, we should kick ISS out and bring cleaning back in-house.

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