Tubeworker's blog

Central shutdown

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 07/11/2018 - 15:44

Strikes by RMT and Aslef drivers on the Central Line (the Leytonstone depot of which also provides drivers for the Waterloo and City Line) have completely shut the line today, in an impressive display of workers' strength.

The strikes are part of overlapping and parallel disputes. RMT has two disputes, one demanding the reinstatement of Paul Bailey, and another against authoritarian management culture. Aslef's disputes relate to the latter issue, and the unfair sacking of one of their members after a procedural error.

Stop London Overground Ticket Office Closures!
campaigners at Hackney Downs station
TubeworkerWed, 24/10/2018 - 11:32

Following in London Underground's footsteps, London Overground now plans to close nearly all its ticket offices.

Defend Anthony Codd!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 19/10/2018 - 17:01

Track Access Control members of the RMT have successfully balloted to defend Anthony Codd for doing his job during an LDI!
Management have decided his failure to give the highest sanction available and refer the matter to a CDI has called his conduct into question.

Anthony was then stood down and three months later given notice of a CDI followed by an out of the blue home visit from senior management! Anthony was subsequently sacked, with none of his fellow workers being told why!

BTP and bodycams? How can we make our stations safer?TubeworkerFri, 19/10/2018 - 11:08

Relations between the British Transport Police and LU station staff have been somewhat strained of late. There’s a widespread feeling on the job that the BTP don’t take staff assaults seriously. This feeling was exacerbated by the news, reported in Tubeworker last month, that BTP officers conducted a covert operation at Piccadilly Circus, where they effectively spied on staff and undertook acts of antisocial behaviour in order to “gauge staff reaction”.

Signal Operators Bite BackTubeworkerThu, 18/10/2018 - 14:45

When fleas infested Rickmansworth signal cabin, operators refused to work in there.

Suffice to say, faced with this defiance, management soon got the problem cleaned up.

A fine example to us all. We don't have to suffer discomfort and possible ill-health just because management can't manage to keep our workplaces free of creepy crawlies. Remember your right to refuse!

Cleaners' CullTubeworkerThu, 18/10/2018 - 14:38

ABM, always on the lookout to feather its financial nest, reckons it can carry out the cleaning contract with significantly fewer cleaners than it currently has.

Central Line and Picc Line drivers: all out on 7 November!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 17/10/2018 - 13:10

RMT and Aslef drivers on the Central Line, and RMT drivers on the Piccadilly Line, will strike on 7 November. Here’s the lowdown on the Central Line strike...


RMT drivers have three ongoing disputes on the Central Line - we’re resisting the removal of detrainment staff on the Waterloo and City Line, where drivers operate out of Leytonstone depot; we’re demanding reinstatement for Paul Bailey, a driver we believe was unjustly sacked; and we’re fighting against an out-of-control management culture.

Action brings management to the table but where next?

Submitted by Tubeworker 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.

Silence is GoldenTubeworkerThu, 04/10/2018 - 13:56

Tubeworker is pleased to hear that London Underground Ltd has apparently seen sense over its disastrous plan to allow adverts to be broadcast at its stations.

Michelle Rodgers for RMT National President!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sun, 23/09/2018 - 13:13

Michelle Rodgers works for Arriva Rail North, where she is a local RMT rep. She sat on the union’s National Executive Committee from 2014-2017, and is the secretary of RMT Manchester South branch. She is standing to be the union’s next national president; Tubeworker is supporting her campaign. We spoke to Michelle about her approach to trade unionism and why London Underground workers should vote for her. Ballot papers will be delivered to RMT members’ home addresses from 1 October. Speak to your local rep to ensure your details are up-to-date.

Staff the stations, cover the duties!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sun, 23/09/2018 - 12:44

LU's practise of not covering "non-critical" duties continues, meaning many stations are often short staffed. On some outlying areas, such as the north end of the Bakerloo Line, many stations are left entirely unstaffed.

The situation makes a mockery of LU's own documents and protocols. The company produces a "Business Needs Schematic" (BNS) for every station, stipulating the level at which the company itself says the station must be staffed. Apparently the BNS can now be disregarded.

Resist ticket office closure on London Overground!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 21/09/2018 - 16:46

London Overground, operated by Arriva Rail London on a contract from TfL, is planning a mass programme of ticket office closures that closely resembles the "Fit for the Future" scheme we went to war against on London Underground in 2014.

RMT has launched a campaign against the closures, with a day of action planned on 3 October. Read more about it here.

Stand firm to knock back "flash and dash"

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 21/09/2018 - 16:41

The stage is set for a solid dispute to defend detrainment staff on the Waterloo & City Line.

With RMT’s action mandate now live, Aslef naming a strike on the Central Line (Waterloo & City drivers are supplied by Leytonstone depot) on 5 October, and RMT planning to ballot station staff at Waterloo as part of the same dispute, the pressure is mounting on management to back off from their plans to force drivers to take their trains into sidings without them having been physically checked.

BTP spies on station staff

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 21/09/2018 - 16:40

There’s been outcry across the job since it emerged yesterday that plain-clothes British Transport Police officers had been conducting a covert spying operation on station staff at Piccadilly Circus.

The operation consisted of the officers posing as fare dodgers and committing acts of antisocial behaviour in order, apparently to “gauge staff reaction”.

Although the local Area Manager claims not to have known about the operation in advance, he was briefed by the BTP afterwards. He did not notify staff however, and only admitted his involvement when challenged by union reps.

Brexit threatens migrants' rights

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 21/09/2018 - 16:29

As the Tory government's shambolic Brexit negotiations continue, there's ongoing uncertainty for migrant workers, both EU and non-EU, about how Britain's immigration laws might be reformed.

We already know that cleaning contractors use immigration controls to undermine workers' organisation; they have targeted union reps in ISS and shopped them to border police in the past.

Sack the agencies, direct employment now!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 21/09/2018 - 16:19

It's time to kick agencies like AGS People and Premier Work Services off the job, and ensure direct employment for all cleaners.

As we've previously reported, ABM are carrying out their commitment to reduce the amount of agency labour on their contract in the least fair and transparent way imaginable. Rather than transferring agency cleaners onto direct contracts on the basis of how long they've been on the job, lists are going round that seem to be based on who managers and supervisors want to give the jobs to.

Aslef drivers vote for strikes on cab security

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 21/09/2018 - 10:38

Aslef drivers have returned a big majority for strikes in their vote for action on cab security. 89% of drivers voted for strikes, on a 56% turnout.

There's clearly a significant strength of feeling around this issue, which has been brewing for some time.

Union safety reps are still in talks with the company about possible solutions to the issue; and nothing focuses the bosses' minds like the prospect of strikes. When strikes are called, Tubeworker is confident RMT drivers will respect Aslef picket lines.

Ambassador, you are spoiling us...

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 19/09/2018 - 21:25

A post on Yammer has announced the rates-of-pay for “Ambassadors” working on stations.

We’ve all seen this merry bunch, sporting their pink hi-vis, taking a day off from their office-based, usually managerial, jobs to put in a shift on a station.

Undoubtedly most of them are motivated by a sense of public spiritedness, but it’s not hard to see why station staff often resent their presence.

Real Cab Security Needs Station Staff

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 17/09/2018 - 19:40

ASLEF drivers are balloting for industrial action on cab security, and Tubeworker hopes that RMT will soon follow. Their demand is for a secure locking system on the cab door.

But is a technical fix enough? Is it even possible for a lock to be so secure that it is impenetrable in every imaginable situation? And what about if a driver is attacked via another route, for example through the window when checking the PTI?

Vote for strikes to reinstate Paul Bailey!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 12/09/2018 - 20:15

RMT has announced it will ballot Central Line drivers for strikes to demand the reinstatement of Paul Bailey.

Paul was sacked after a "failed" D&A test, despite the test showing that he was within the accepted limit for cannabinoid substances. As the RMT has said, the case calls into question the integrity of the entire D&A testing regime.

This could happen to any of us, so we have to stick together. When the ballot arrives, vote yes for strikes!

Picc Strikes Back On!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 12/09/2018 - 20:04

RMT has named new strikes for driver members on the Picc, as follows:

12:00 on Wednesday 26 September until 12:00 on Friday 28 September, and from 20:30 on Friday 28 September until 01:30 on Saturday 29 September 2018

These strikes have been called in response to LU reneging on the agreements it made in July, which led to RMT calling off strikes planned for 11-14 July. Since then, Piccadilly Line bosses have failed to maintain staffing at the levels set by those agreements.

RIP RCT

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 30/08/2018 - 11:06

LU has announced that the planned “Rostering and Coverage Tool”, a semi-automated system for covering duties on stations, swapping duties and annual leave, etc., will be scrapped.

It was already years (literally) behind schedule. Anyone who came into contact with test versions could see it wasn’t fit for purpose. It should’ve been abandoned long before now.

Mental health at work: bosses’ approaches and ours

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 20/08/2018 - 15:50

No capitalist solution to workplace mental health issues

The charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness have set up a campaign called “Time to Change” which, although not instantly recognisable, is aimed at increasing dialogue around mental health issues in the workplace.

The campaign suggests several pledges, most of them around management encouraging and initiating dialogue, but nothing about what the boss can do to actually reduce workplace stress and workplace related mental Ill health.

Night Tube brings in an extra £1.5bn

Submitted by Tubeworker 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.

Making it different to “Make A Difference”

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 20/08/2018 - 15:34

Tube bosses have decided to make a different award to the “Make a Difference” award, called the “You Matter” award, which will still be awarded for the subject matter of making a difference, but presumably a different deference to that awarded for making a difference currently.

The only award worth much in a capatalist society is payment for a day's work, especially if you work on a station group where the Area Manager is refusing to give out awards to save money.

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