Tubeworker's blog

"Workplace Violence" Trojan Horse for Undermining Staff Tubeworker Mon, 18/11/2019 - 10:15

Sounding a loud fanfare about how much they care about us bring battered at work, LUL management are promising what looks like an increase in staffing but on closer examination amounts to undermining us.

Management say they will recruit sixty new revenue staff, but they are calling them revenue control officers, not RCIs, so we are willing a stake a week's wages on this being a cheaper version.

There will also be 150 more CPOS staff (lower-paid TfL workers), fifty more coppers, and an enlarged Workplace Violence Unit.

Defend RCI jobs! Tubeworker Wed, 13/11/2019 - 11:44

Unions have long been pressing LU to fill the vacancies in the revenue department, which have gone unfilled for over a decade. The point has also been made that there may be some connection between the £90 million the company says it loses in lost revenue and the fact that it has deliberately understaffed the revenue department.

Recent spikes in workplace violence have brought the issue to a head, with many workers arguing that an increase in RCI numbers would improve workplace safety.

Wot no Radio? Tubeworker Thu, 07/11/2019 - 10:05

We already know that management are using rising concerns about assaults as a pretext to undermine our jobs by bringing in staff from other areas of TfL to do station staff's work. Rather than increase station staffing, the company prefers staffing on the cheap, and is using Surface Transport staff for patrol duties.

Not only does this undermine Tube staff, it also puts the Surface Transport staff in danger - as highlighted by a recent incident at Barking.

Assaulted? Expect an LDI! Tubeworker Thu, 07/11/2019 - 09:43

Central line staff have been shocked to be summoned to LDIs for absences that include assaults.

The policy on this is very clear - as is the basic human morality! If you are assaulted at work and need some time off sick, then you deserve support not punishment. It is a breach of the policy to even count this as an item, let alone to call an LDI and issue a warning. It is not good enough for management to say that a warning can be overturned at appeal, as the member of staff should not have to go through this in the first place.

Vote Labour, and demand Labour restores the TfL subsidy! Tubeworker Fri, 01/11/2019 - 19:47

On 12 December, we’ll have the chance to kick the Tories out of government. Tubeworker encourages all readers to vote Labour in every constituency.

Labour is the only alternative party of government. It has its most left-wing policy platform for decades, and a left-wing membership prepared to push the leaders further to the left.

Fightback needed on station staffing Tubeworker Fri, 01/11/2019 - 19:46

The RMT London Transport Regional Council on 31 October voted for a network-wide dispute and strike ballot on the issue of staffing on stations.

Support the protests in Chile Tubeworker Fri, 25/10/2019 - 19:22

Tubeworker supports the protests in Chile which started On 4 October following President Sebastián Piñera announcing a 30p rise in transport tickets in the capital, Santiago.

Initially protests were organised by school students who started a mass fare evasion on the metro, encouraging others not to buy tickets. By 19 October the entire metro system had been closed down due to the protests, which have been heavily repressed with serious police violence.

Tube Rebellion? Tubeworker Wed, 23/10/2019 - 13:37

Some comments on the Extinction Rebellion (XR) protests on the Tube from us.

We support direct action against climate change. We’ve highlighted this many times and have drawn attention to the central role that workers’ action has to play in fighting for a transition to a sustainable economy.

While we have criticisms of XR, particularly in terms of what we feel is their naive attitude to the police and state power generally, they have played an undeniably important role in raising the profile of this issue.

Cleaners: vote yes for strikes! Tubeworker Wed, 23/10/2019 - 12:01

After months of preparation, RMT will ballot ABM cleaners for industrial action. The ballot runs from 28 October to 19 November. Tubeworker encourages all cleaners to vote yes.

LU pay fight: ballot now! Tubeworker Fri, 11/10/2019 - 12:10

LU has now issued its “full and final” offer in the ongoing pay talks. The first thing to note is that “full and final” is meaningless jargon. The offer's only final when we accept it, or we give up the fight to improve it!

Fifth Crossrail worker dies Tubeworker Sat, 05/10/2019 - 15:48

Workers on the Crossrail site at Bond Street have lost five of their workmates in the last six months. They have not been killed at work, but nonetheless have met early deaths in their sleep unexpected in relatively young, healthy people.

“20 additional colleagues”?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 02/10/2019 - 16:11

An LU Employee Bulletin announces that, to combat workplace violence and antisocial behaviour on the east end of the District Line, LU will be providing “20 additional colleagues”.

Good news, you might think. An acknowledgement that lone working and understaffing are the fundamental problems. But alas, the reality is not so encouraging.

Action due in District East safety dispute

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 26/09/2019 - 11:52

As Tubeworker went to press, industrial action short of strikes was due to begin on District East stations on 27 September.

Workers will refuse to attend incidents or detrain alone, and will work from a place of safety. The action came about after a spike in antisocial behaviour and staff assaults prompted the local union to launch a dispute.

The demand is clear: more staff, end lone working.

Go slow to stop track noise!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 26/09/2019 - 11:50

After the excellent ballot result on the Jubilee, Northern, Victoria, and Central Lines, RMT has named action starting on 10 October in its dispute to end excessive track noise.

Drivers will impose temporary speed restrictions in affected areas, lessening the effect of the noise forced into the driver’s cab and the train cars.

That’s the kind of go-slow we like to see. We’re less keen on the slowness of the union’s decision making process. This action should have been announced as soon as the ballot result came back. The delay only benefits the bosses.

Will Labour implement its 32-hour week policy on TfL?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 26/09/2019 - 11:42

The recent Labour Party conference in Brighton ratified policy in favour of a four-day, 32-hour week. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell promised that the average working week would be cut to 32 hours within a decade under a Labour government.

In London, we already have a (local) Labour government: Labour controls the mayoralty, and the Greater London Assembly, which administers TfL and its subsidiaries.

Action Against Assaults

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 23/09/2019 - 10:02

Staff across the job have been shocked to hear about the brutal assault on our workmates at West Ham station last Wednesday. Tubeworker sends our solidarity to those involved and is pleased to hear about the great support they are getting from colleagues. Not so much from management, though, we hear.

In response to this, we need concrete action: not crocodile tears, and not sticking-plaster attempts to use inadequate technological fixes to address the problem.

Concrete demands follow from the key issues in the assault:

A uniform approach

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 19/09/2019 - 14:02

CSAs are having uniform orders rejected when they have been on the job less than two years. What's going on?

Some part-time workers have only one pair of trousers or two tops. Waiting for two years to get the uniform needed we have to wear for the job is a joke.

If this is happening across the network then workers should start speaking up.

Automatic Warning?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 19/09/2019 - 13:40

"It's an automatic 26-week warning" is becoming a mantra from managers, especially on stations. But that's not the case, and it is high time that more of us objected and asserted our rights.

The Attendance and Discipline policies are clear that managers have discretion to give lower warnings - or no warning at all - as well as to give the maximum. If they give the maximum warning, they have to explain why. Any mention of the word "automatic" is a breach of the policy.

French metro workers strike

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 16/09/2019 - 13:57
RATP

This report on the Paris metro workers’ strike appeared in the newspaper of the New Anticapitalist Party (NPA) on 18 September and was translated from the French by Luke Neal.

A strike on RATP (the Paris metro) has got the the ball rolling in the fight against pension reforms in France. After 12 years of lethargy - at least on the surface - the strike has made a smashing comeback in Parisian transport: 100% of strikers on the metro, 60% on buses and in maintenance workshops. The capital was paralysed on Friday 13 September. Well dug, you old mole!

Noise ballot success

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 10/09/2019 - 16:08

RMT Drivers on the Northern, Central, Victoria and Jubilee lines have returned a yes vote for action short of strike due to excessive track noise.

Tubeworker congratulates the workers who voted YES and bizarrely those who voted NO. Without them the ballot would not have made it over the ridiculous 50% threshold that the Trade Union Act imposes on unions.

Tube workers against the coup!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 04/09/2019 - 13:56

As chaos in Parliament mounts, workers must take to the streets to protest against Boris Johnson's undemocratic manoeuvring and plans for a no-deal Brexit.

As transport workers in London, we have bitter experience of having Boris as a boss, experiencing his blatant lies about ticket office closures and the vicious cuts regime TfL and LU bosses pursued under his mayoralty.

RMT suspends strikes on Vic and Central

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 04/09/2019 - 13:48

RMT has suspended a drivers' strike planned for today on the Victoria and Central Lines.

The company has budged in talks at Acas, offering some concessions. On the Victoria Line, where issues related to overbearing managers pushing drivers around, the company has committed to a series of workshops to try to improve relations. As the dispute is still live, the union can go back to Acas, and potentially reinstate action, if things don't improve on the ground.

Driverless Nightmare

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 31/08/2019 - 14:02

Lest we forget, while we continue our day-to-day battles with management, behind the scenes they continue to prepare to introduce driverless trains.

And in case anyone believes the hype that they are 'safe', read this report of a toddler being separated from his mum on a driverless Metro train in Sydney last week.

Greening the Tube?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 29/08/2019 - 22:41

According to LU's own figures, the company produces 585,000 tones of CO2 emissions per year. To offset that, you'd need to plant 26,000,000 trees.

Our bosses' solution to this? Encourage staff to recycle and turn out the lights.

Fine, we should all try our best not to be wasteful, but let's be honest here: those individual behavioural changes simply don't address the scale of the problem.

Take action against lone working!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 27/08/2019 - 17:56

After lone working at the east end of the District Line led to a spike in staff assaults, local reps began renewed campaigning against lone working. RMT is now preparing to ballot station staff on the District East group for action to demand increased staffing levels.

Workers will vote on whether to take action-short-of-strikes, in the form of working from a place of safety when lone working, and refusing to detrain or attend incidents alone.

The ballot runs from 29 August to 12 September. If you work on District East, vote yes for action!

Drivers: vote yes for action over noise levels!

Submitted by Tubeworker 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).

Turdgate!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 27/08/2019 - 17:37

You come to expect the unexpected working on the Tube; we see all sorts and we raise one eyebrow and carry on. But one Friday morning incident in August has pushed our levels of incredulity to the extreme.

Strike dates adjusted on Victoria and Central lines

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 22/08/2019 - 14:54

The dates for the Central and Victoria Line strikes have been adjusted to 3-4 September (20:00 to 20:00), after reps and activists argued that the initial dates (29-30 August) would be less impactful.

Although altering dates after initially announcing them can be a bit of a messy business, it seems like the new dates will be more effective.

It’s a good lesson in why meetings of rank-and-file reps and activists should be the forum for making these decisions in the first place.

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