Tubeworker's blog

Direct employment for all cleaners!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 08/08/2018 - 21:09

The major concession RMT won when the LU cleaning contracts were consolidated and given to ABM was a commitment to reduce the use of agency labour to 5%. Previously, up to 50% of cleaners in some locations were not employed directly by Interserve, ISS, or Vinci, but were sub-contracted to agencies such as AGS People.

Wot No Coverage?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 08/08/2018 - 21:08

Uncovered duties on stations are now a daily reality across much of the combine. Local managers are saying they can't cover duties on overtime because the budgets are maxed out and money is too tight. Tubeworker says: if you've maxed out your overtime budget to such an extent that you literally can't afford to cover duties, maybe you didn't have enough staff in the first place?

Potential ballot over cab securityTubeworkerThu, 02/08/2018 - 11:20

After a Northern Line driver was attacked by a passenger who managed to break into her cab, Aslef has said it will be looking to ballot its members for strikes to demand better cab security.

This issue has been brewing for a long time, with industrial and safety reps from both unions pressing management. If it takes industrial action to get some concrete action from them, so be it.

We hope both unions ballot their driver memberships and take coordinated action when the time comes.

Met drivers balloted to oppose canteen closure

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 02/08/2018 - 11:08

Drivers on the Metropolitan Line are due to be balloted for strikes to protest the removal of the staff canteen at Harrow depot.

The canteen is being demolished to allow a lift shaft to be installed. It’s absolutely right for LU to invest in making stations more accessible; it also needs to ensure facilities for staff. These things shouldn’t be in competition. We want step-free stations and staff canteens.

The timetable for the ballot has yet to be announced; when it is, vote yes for strikes!

End the victimisation of cleaners!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 28/07/2018 - 20:33

Gbenga Fasoro, a prominent RMT activist working as a cleaner at Northfields depot, was sacked recently after he fell foul of some bullying bosses. Gbenga worked on the ABM contract via the Premier Work Services agency.

Meanwhile, another RMT cleaner, Ayodele Oyedeji, has been suspended from work for weeks on trumped-up charges.

We can't tolerate a culture of petty discipline and authoritarian management. RMT has rightly declared disputes in response to these attacks and should move swiftly to ballot for action if Gbenga and Ayodele aren't back at work soon.

Hands off detrainment staff: vote yes for strikes!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 28/07/2018 - 20:28

RMT drivers at Leytonstone depot are balloting for strikes to oppose the removal of Waterloo and City Line detrainment staff (Waterloo and City Line drivers come from Central Line depots).

Union action has seen off threats to detrainment staff before: we can do it again. The ballot closes on 14 August, vote yes for strikes!

Stations admin “transformation” brings chaos

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 24/07/2018 - 13:13

It’s day one of the newly “transformed” stations admin, and the chaos we all predicted is unfolding nicely.

Workers report being bounced around from place to place, with no clarity on whether things like mutual changeover of duties need to be submitted in hard copy or electronically.

The admins themselves are under immense strain, with some who didn’t make the grade for the new positions being asked by an obviously desperate management to stay on and help them wade through the mess!

Reinstate Picc strikes if bosses don't honour agreementsTubeworkerSat, 21/07/2018 - 15:56

Drivers’ strikes planned on the Picc for 12-15 July were suspended after bosses offered RMT a settlement.

Among other things, the deal commits management to maintaining existing staffing levels at Picc depots.

The big majority in the ballot for strikes shows the strength of feeling on the line. The strike was only suspended: the dispute remains live. If there’s even the merest sniff of management reneging on their commitments, new strikes should be called.

For workers' unity against the far right

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 21/07/2018 - 14:52

Demonstrations on 9 June and 14 July saw the far right out in force, in their greatest numbers since the 1930s. The demonstrations have been organised in support of Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, aka "Tommy Robinson", recently jailed for contempt of court. After the demonstration on 14 July, a group of far-right thugs attacked people in a Westminster pub, including a number of Tube workers and RMT members.

These events should be a wake-up call. A growing far right is a threat to the labour movement.

More Transplant strikes due on 3 August: the story of the fight so farTubeworkerSat, 21/07/2018 - 14:47

Transplant is a department within London Underground, formerly part of TubeLines. Some may know Transplant as the “Ballast Trains”, or maybe the “Engineers Train Unit” (ETU). Due to the nature of work, predominantly carried out under the cover of darkness, some would believe that its just a small setup. The reality is very different.

Calling it a night

Submitted by Tubeworker 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.

8 Days A Week?TubeworkerThu, 19/07/2018 - 18:29

Local management on a couple of station areas have been pushing their luck when it comes to cover weeks.

The Stations Framework makes clear that the maximum days we can work in a row is eight; this clause is accompanied by a note which says we may work eight days "in order to facilitate the provision of a long weekend and to minimise split rest days". There doesn't seem to be much room for interpretation here: it means, if you work eight days, you get a long weekend off. Simple. That's how it's always been.

Night Tube Health Nightmare TubeworkerThu, 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.

Goldfish Bowl saga continues

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 03/07/2018 - 19:16

Drivers' union reps on the Bakerloo Line have been raising the issue of the shocking condition of the "Goldfish Bowl", the step-back room on the platform at Elephant and Castle, since around the time London Underground was still using steam-powered trains.

A sorry-looking sign stuck to the booking-on point at Queen's Park, the depot at the other end of the line, says refurbishment works are expected to be completed in a few weeks. The notice is date 8 May.

Safety first: close the station!TubeworkerTue, 03/07/2018 - 19:05

Staff and punters at Oxford Circus were horrified yesterday (2 July) when a pipe burst and what appeared to be raw sewage and effluence began gushing from the ceiling by the Argyll Gateline. This followed a similar incident earlier in the day by Exit 4.

An ABM cleaner was drafted in to clear up the mess, some absorbent bags put down, and the area cordoned off... but the station remained open.

Tubeworker asks: what would it take for some managers to close a station? Surely it's not safe to keep a station in operation with raw sewage gushing from the ceiling?!

All out at Ruislip! TubeworkerMon, 02/07/2018 - 13:51

Train maintenance workers at the Ruislip depot will strike over the following times:

07:00 on Thursday 12 July to 07:00 on Friday 13 July
19:00 on Friday 13 July to 07:00 on Saturday 14 July
07:00 on Sunday 15 July to 19:00 on Sunday 15 July

Spreading the strike across several shifts should see maximum impact. This means that the Central Line service could be severely impacted at the same time as the Picc Line drivers’ strike knocks out service on the Picc.

It’s time to give LUL bosses a reminder of who really makes the job run!

Strikes due at TransplantTubeworkerTue, 26/06/2018 - 10:55

RMT members at the ex-AP JNP Transplant depot have voted for strikes in two separate disputes, over pay parity and train preparation.

Action to level up pay between different grades of workers is vital, and strikes over train prep could be a prelude to combine-wide disputes over the same issue, as LU still plans to cut prep frequency from 24 to 96 hours.

Stay tuned for the announcement of strike days.

All out on the Picc!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 26/06/2018 - 10:50

RMT has named dates for a forthcoming drivers' strike on the Piccadilly Line.

The strike begins at 21:00 on Wednesday 11 July, and finishes at 01:00 on Saturday 14 July.

This will see four days of impact on the service, with two full strike days, and will also involve Night Tube drivers as it covers their Friday night-Saturday morning turns. The strike also coincides with the visit to the UK of the far-right US President Donald Trump. We don't imagine Trump was planning on using the Picc too much, but if the strike disrupts his visit in any way then that's an added bonus!

Shorter Hours, Better Life

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 21/06/2018 - 11:09

It’s a tough job, physically and mentally. Workload, anti-social and irregular hours, stress and trauma … all of this and more leaves many of us feeling exhausted even when we are not at work. We need more quality time away from the job.
There is plenty of research showing that shift work causes health problems, including increased risk of heart disease and certain cancers. It also affects our relationships and our mental well-being.
Full-time London Underground Ltd employees are now on a 35-hour week. We want this reduced to a 32-hour, four-day week!

Picc Line strike ballot closes today

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 21/06/2018 - 10:24

RMT drivers on the Piccadilly Line are currently balloting for industrial action, with the vote due to close today (Thursday 21 June).

The dispute has been prompted by what the union calls a complete "breakdown in industrial relations", with management adopting an increasingly disciplinarian and authoritarian approach, including obstructing union reps from carrying out basic trade union duties. Piccadilly Line management has also failed to honour agreements made in previous disputes.

Jubilee Line dispute shows that solidarity wins

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sun, 17/06/2018 - 19:46

The planned strike on the Jubilee Line on 14 June was called off; Tubeworker understands that things went right to the wire, with the strike being suspended on Wednesday night at 7pm, less than five hours before the industrial action was due to begin. Staff at the conciliation service Acas had even told the assembled union reps and LU managers that the lights were about to be switched off as the room hire had come to an end!

Gains made in Jubilee Line drivers' fight

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 07/06/2018 - 19:34

The 6 June strike on the Jubilee Line was suspended after bosses buckled and made concessions.

The victory highlights the importance of unions working together. Jubilee Line drivers were unhappy with a new timetable which saw weekend working increased and a deterioration in work life balance, and so decided to do something about.

On the Jubilee Line drivers' strike

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sun, 27/05/2018 - 15:20

Jubilee Line drivers are fed up with the attitude of management on the line.

Local managers are pushing harder and harder as the service is ramped up and user numbers increase. Any perceived "staff error" and they are now coming down harder on drivers presumably thinking that ‘more stick and less carrot’ will make us more amenable to their whip cracking.

However, the breaking point has been the new timetable forced on drivers which increases the number of weekends worked, ups the pressure on us and sees work-life balance issues ignored.

"Assisting" intoxicated customers

Submitted by Tubeworker 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.

Jubilee and Acton District drivers: all out on 6 and 14 June!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 22/05/2018 - 14:57

Despite previous commitments to improve work/life balance and reduce weekend working, a new timetable management is attempting to impose on the Jubilee Line in fact increases weekend working. Quite rightly, drivers aren't having it. Both Aslef and RMT members will strike on 6 and 14 June to resist the imposition of the new timetable.

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