Tubeworker's blog

Workers Win Sky-High Pay Rise

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 18/03/2019 - 11:41

Workers on the cable car service across the Thames have won pay rises of between 14.35% and 22.35% - by getting unionised.

In this relatively new workforce, a few staff had joined RMT. But the campaign stepped up a gear in October last year with the election of a new RMT rep. The union negotiated a recognition agreement and started talking to the company about pay. As time went on and the benefits of unionisation became clearer, more joined, and so the pressure on management increased.

Disposing of our heritage

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 16/03/2019 - 14:51
St James Park station at 55 Broadway

55 Broadway is to be 'disposed of' according to an article on the TfL intranet. That is crass language for the privatisation of such an iconic LU building; funded by taxes or passenger fares.

This happening as a result of a political choice to end tube subsidies, made by the Tory party as they don't wish to tax their own wealthy class a fair amount. TfL argues it is having to make cuts, usually spun as savings, though it is doing so without much of a fight from senior management or from our Labour Mayor Sadiq Khan.

Sticky Stick Rip-off

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 08/03/2019 - 10:43

Apparently, LUL pays £1,300 a go for a Track Retrieval Device.

That might sound quite reasonable if it were actually a 'device' in the popular understanding of the word. But it is a stick with a sticky pad on the end. Hence its usual moniker among station staff - the 'sticky stick'.

Private companies which make stuff like this must think that LUL is run by a bunch of suckers who will put their hands deep into their corporate pockets for any simple gadget they can come up with.

Train prep ballot: Vote Yes!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 06/03/2019 - 13:10

Management's plan to cut the frequency of train preparation from every 24 hours to every 96 hours will be disastrous for jobs, for safety, and for reliability.

Driven solely by penny-pinching, the cut - if it goes ahead - will see trains going into passenger service which have not been check for up to three days. Given the mileage that a train will have covered during that time, and the range of hazards and stresses it faces over that time, the likelihood of a fault is significant. That's why we check them every day, and why it is vital that we keep checking them every day.

LUL's Shameful Treatment of Assault Victim

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 21/02/2019 - 13:57

The Employment Tribunal had some choice words for London Underground Ltd as it found the company to have unfairly dismissed Sharma Jagrup after he was assaulted at work. The Tribunal has ordered LUL to reinstate Sharma to his CSS2 post on the Central Line, with all his back pay and pension contributions restored.

Fight for more jobs on trains!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 20/02/2019 - 20:59

The RMT trade union recently called for more train operators. The union's National Executive Committee made a decision on the matter that stated the issues caused by a lack of drivers are 'increasingly detrimental effect on members in terms of their ability to take leave, family friendly & flexible arrangements, medically necessary reasonable adjustments, training, secondments, career development and representation at management meetings including disciplinaries.'

Wot No Walthamstow Lift?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sun, 17/02/2019 - 21:20

Spare a thought for the passengers at Walthamstow Central station, who have had to manage without the lift from the ticket hall to the bus station for around three weeks now. They are left with no access other than by the pretty hefty staircase.

It seems that a part failed and that rather than holding a stock of spare parts, the contractor has to order a new one to be made, which is done in Italy and can take up to a month.

Tea break?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sun, 10/02/2019 - 20:26

A post by the senior stations boss on the Bakerloo Line on Yammer, LU's "social network" (/management megaphone) suggests that free communal tea and coffee supplies, which were a standard in the dim and distant past, may be returning to stations.

Good news. A little token of appreciation goes along way. But anyone inclined to tug their forelocks and effusively thank the bosses for their generosity should remember the following:

Bring the Jobs Fights Together!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 08/02/2019 - 14:40

Many grades in many locations are suffering under the destaffing over recent years, or are facing imminent cuts to jobs.

The unions - primarily RMT - are fighting back on several fronts. RMT has scored some successes, including on Bakerloo South stations groups and the cleaning contractor, ABM.

Bosses treat us like equipment - we say: fight for socialism!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 26/01/2019 - 14:31

It can sometimes be difficult to see beyond the small battles we fight all the time at work; these can lead to two attitudes.
One is to say, “Why are we banging on about socialism, we’re a trade union, what's that got to do with us?”. The opposite is, “what's the use? Even if we win this small battle and they'll just come back at us with something else.”

However, there is a very simple reason why these small battles are not only important, but expose the very nature of the system we live in.

Acton drivers plan to ballot to stop imposition of new roster

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 26/01/2019 - 14:26

Management wanting to impose new rosters on Picc Line drivers at Bollo House depot in Acton?

Wouldn’t have thought so. RMT members are preparing a ballot to resist the imposition. Let’s see how the bosses' roster looks with all the drivers on strike.

Fit for Nothing

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 24/01/2019 - 13:07

It has come to Tubeworker's attention that on some station groups, management have come up with a novel idea for dealing with the problem of not having CSMs available to carry out Return to Work interviews. They want staff to sign a statement that they are fit for duty and then have them crack on with work while the RTWI takes place days or even weeks later.

Cleaners Halt Jobs Massacre

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 24/01/2019 - 13:03

Cleaners have scored a big win, with contractor ABM backing down from its proposal to cut the workforce by a third.
They would probably like us to believe that they have seen the error of their ways and revisited their sums, but we prefer to think that RMT's noisy preparations for battle pushed them back.
ABM still plans to employ 150 fewer cleaners than it promised in its contract bid, and it still denies those cleaners civilised conditions and pay rates, so let's used the momentum from this victory to push for more.

LU pay: we need a positive, proactive campaign

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 21/01/2019 - 19:08

RMT has now submitted its pay claim to LU; the claim is online on the RMT London Calling website, and can be read here.

It’s good that the union is publicising the full contents of the claim to all members, so we know exactly what it is we’re fighting for. It’s also good that the demands for a minimum flat-rate pay increase, which will be worth more to lower-paid grades, and the demand for a 32-hour week are prominently included.

Prepare for battle to defeat cuts to train prep

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 21/01/2019 - 18:57

RMT has declared an official dispute with the company as LU presses ahead with its plans to extend train prep.

Trains currently have basic safety checks performer on a 24-hourly basis by trained fleet workers, ensuring they’re safe to run. LU is now proposing to extend that massively, up to 96 hours on some lines and on others, essentially doing away with many regular checks entirely and introducing a system where trains are only checked every few months.

Tabard trouble

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 21/01/2019 - 18:47

10 February, we learn, will be the “go live” date for the imposition of LU’s ridiculous red tabards.

If you’ve missed the news about these nonsensical items, see our previous report on the issue. They’re uncomfortable, impractical, and fundamentally a hypocritical and inadequate response to a public backlash against LU’s own decision to cut jobs on stations.

Defend Zahra Tirmazi!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 21/01/2019 - 18:37

Zahra Tirmazi, a station worker at Walthamstow Central, was violently assaulted (including being put in a headlock), and racially abused, by a fare-evading passenger. In typically supportive fashion, LU is disciplining her for her role in an incident in which she is obviously the victim.

So much for all those posters on our stations about how LU won’t tolerate abuse of its staff. Turns out, not only will they tolerate it, they’ll blame us for it, throw the book at us, and threaten us with the sack.

In The Air Tonight

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 15/01/2019 - 11:40

Scientific reports confirming the shockingly bad quality of air on London Underground are becoming an annual tradition.

The latest report, from the Committee on the Medical Effects of Air Pollutants, reported last week that the air on the platforms at Hampstead was around 31 times more polluted than the average in London, taken from a roadside monitoring point.

Cleaners Frozen Out Again

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 12/01/2019 - 11:36

The Mayor's much-vaunted 'fares freeze' only applies to some fares, so passengers using Travelcards have once again been hit with a new year increase (or 'change', as TfL's website euphemistically calls it) of an average 3.1%.

That's bad news for our passengers, but it is also bad news for some of our workmates. Cleaners are not only paid less than LUL staff but also do not get a staff pass. So they have started the new year with more money going out and the same amount coming in.

More Stations Fight Short-Staffing

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 10/01/2019 - 10:23

Station staff on the Northern and District lines are set to follow in the footsteps of Bakerloo South and ballot for strikes for better staff coverage.

In the stations around Earl's Court and Hendon Central, duties are regularly left uncovered and staff left to run stations alone. Lone working is dangerous and stressful, and staff have had enough. On both these groups, union members are asking RMT to call industrial action to force management to fill vacancies and cover duties.

Gains made in short-staffing fight

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 09/01/2019 - 22:38

Under pressure from an RMT dispute and the threat of strikes, management on Bakerloo South stations have committed to a more proactive approach in ensuring duties are covered, and have given firm guarantees that vacancies on the group will be filled.

The vacancies, and management's previous policy of only attempting to arrange cover if so-called "critical" duties were uncovered, meant that stations were chronically short staffed and workers were bearing the brunt.

A resounding vote for strikes and the announcement of two strikes soon brought management to its senses.

Labour rank-and-file challenge Tory cuts and Sadiq Khan's failures

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sun, 06/01/2019 - 21:00

London Labour Party members are set to debate a resolution condemning both the Tory government's cut to TfL funding and Sadiq Khan's decision to implement rather than fight the cuts. The resolution, which has already been passed by one branch, is copied here.

TRANSPORT FOR LONDON

This conference condemns the savage cuts in funding to Transport for London by the Conservative government, which expects London Underground to be the only major metro system in the world to run without public subsidy.

Prepare for action in train prep fight

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 28/12/2018 - 09:47

RMT has now declared an official dispute with LU over its plans to cut train prep frequency from 24 hours.

The plan, which could see trains run for up to three days without having basic checks performed, threatens staff safety, passenger safety, and jobs, and must be resisted.

If LU doesn’t back down from the planned cut, we must fight back industrially, and across all grades.

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