Tubeworker's blog

Scorecard stress

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 18/07/2019 - 13:24

London Underground has come up with another scorecard measure to punish station staff for the lack of staff.

The old measure, 'gateline availability', has been replaced with 'gateline integrity'. LU used to calculate an average of the time that all gates were in full service. It now calculates a score for each individual gate.

Safety over speed

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 18/07/2019 - 13:23

At Farringdon, trains driven in ATO leave the station at 15mph. Trains reach 30mph within station limits. A faster line speed means a more frequent service, which is London Underground's priority.

Drivers are asking for trains to pull in and out of crowded stations like Farringdon at a slower speed to minimise accidents arising from overcrowded platforms.

Safety has to take priority over the frequency of the service.

Gone away, won’t pay?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 18/07/2019 - 13:21

Cleaning agency APG no longer exists. APG's agency cleaners have been transferred to the main contractor, ABM.

That sounds good until you hear that APG neglected to pay its workers outstanding holiday pay before it disbanded. Cleaners are owed hundreds of pounds. ABM says, 'It's nothing to do with us. Cleaners need to speak to APG'. But APG has gone!

So where is a cleaner to turn? To the RMT of course! Sub-contracted companies and agencies dodge paying cleaners' wages too easily. Cleaners need to be directly employed by LU.

Action needed over noise levels

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 03/07/2019 - 11:43

RMT is considering a ballot of driver members on five lines - Victoria, Central, Northern, Jubilee, and Piccadilly - over noise levels.

LU has installed “Pandrol Vanguard” technology on the tracks in an attempt to reduce train noise at street level... with the effect that noise is forced into the cab and cars, affecting drivers and passengers.

This fix is not good enough. We want a proper engineering solution, and in the meantime a temporary speed restriction in place over affected areas to reduce noise.

Marylebone workers win on mess room

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 03/07/2019 - 10:51

Local management at Marylebone had been planning to force staff to stop using the ex-ticket office mess room as a mess facility. (We previously reported on this here.)

There’s no real justification for this decision; it seemed to simply be motivated by management wanting to throw its weight around. Local reps mounted a local campaign, escalated the issue through the machinery, and brought a motion to their branch proposing a dispute if management didn’t back down.

Too Hot to Handle

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 03/07/2019 - 10:01

Alarmed that the temperature could rise above twenty degrees, last Friday evening, Network Rail announced that on Saturday there would be a speed restriction of 20mph all the way from Queen's Park to Bushey. After all, the rails might buckle in the oven-like temperatures.

Problem is: management didn't bother amending Bakerloo running times at all. Somehow, they expected trains to run to time without being allowed to run to time.

Drivers knew that this would rapidly turn into a fiasco. And so it came to pass. By Saturday midday, the job was up the wall.

Keep the Learning Zone Open!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 02/07/2019 - 07:35

TfL likes to boast about its Learning Zone, about how it has given staff the opportunity to enhance our skills and to overcome the barriers presented to dylexic and other neurodivergent people. It's so proud of the facility that ... it's planning to close it.

Yes, the company can afford massive salaries for the big cheeses, numerous over-the-top contractor fees, but not a really valuable education service that costs the equivalent of such one-and-a-half staff.

Cash for Access?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 01/07/2019 - 08:57

It's lovely to see the sparkling new improved westbound access ramp at South Woodford station. We are all in favour of improved access for mobility-impared people and people encumbered with luggage or buggies.

Shame that in its wisdom, LUL has installed BANK CARD ONLY ticket machines in the new entrance, forcing any mobility-impared people to have to make an arduous trip via a deep subway over to the eastbound booking hall and back again if they want or need to pay with cash. This assumes of course that the machines on the eastbound are actually in working order.

City Hall security assaults activists to spare Khan’s blushes

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 20/06/2019 - 13:21

RMT took the fight against ”Transformation” cuts and the exploitation of outsourced cleaners to Sadiq Khan’s front door today, with a demonstration outside City Hall, organised to coincide with Mayor’s Questions.

Other unions, including Unite and IWGB, had also organised actions, along with environmental campaigners from Extinction Rebellion.

Waste collection to be outsourced?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 20/06/2019 - 13:08

The Labour Party has a national policy commitment to end outsourcing when it goes into government. Great. But we already have a Labour mayor in City Hall. Not only is Sadiq Khan overseeing the continued outsourcing of cleaning, security, and cleaning, under his mayoralty, TfL and LU bosses are looking to outsource and privatise even more workers!

Battle of Marylebone Mess Room

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 18/06/2019 - 12:01

The officially designated mess room at Marylebone station is on the concourse, at the bottom of the escalators down from the gateline. It’s rarely used; it’s a bit dingy, away from the toilets, and further away from the gateline if you need to come out to help in an emergency.

Instead, most staff prefer to use a tea point in the old ticket office, right next to the gateline.

Despite this practise having been ongoing for some time, with no issues whatsoever, management are insisting people stop using the tea point and only use the downstairs mess room.

Demonstrate at City Hall!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 18/06/2019 - 12:00

RMT has called a demo outside City Hall on Thursday 20 June. It demands “no Tory cuts under a Labour mayor”, pressing Sadiq Khan not to pass on Tory austerity to transport workers and users in London.

The two specific focuses are the “Transformation” scheme, which threatens thousands of jobs in engineering and admin roles, and the struggles of outsourced workers.

The demo assembles from 10:00. Tubeworker will be there, and we hope you will be too.

Ballot on pay and conditions imminent

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 18/06/2019 - 11:58

RMT is now preparing to ballot members on LU for industrial action over pay and conditions. With all three other unions having also rejected LU’s latest offer, it’s likely they’ll ballot too.

Restrictive anti-union laws mean we need to get a 50% turnout and at least 40% of all those balloted voting yes to take legal action. So make sure your contact details are up to date with your union so your ballot paper gets sent to the right place.

Why Tube cleaners plan to strike

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 04/06/2019 - 23:21

Tube cleaners in the RMT are preparing to ballot for strikes. Here, a cleaner tells Tubeworker why.


“Tube cleaners have been campaigning for many years against injustice. We're fighting for dignity, and equal conditions in our workplaces. Currently we have no company sick pay, which means cleaners who get sick are forced to come to work or face financial hardship. And we also have no free travel passes, unlike directly-employed staff working on the railway.

Wot No Passes?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 28/05/2019 - 17:25

Some ABM cleaners on the former JNP contract had their pictures taken, apparently in order to be issued with travel passes that would allow them to open gates while at work.

Some time has now passed, and there’s no sign of the passes.

The way to resolve the situation is simple: LU needs to issue all cleaners with the same travel passes directly-employed staff receive.

Fire Brigade warns London Bridge

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 28/05/2019 - 17:24

It has emerged that the London Fire Brigade issued London Bridge station with a notice on 10 April for breaching fire safety regulations.

Ultimately it is management’s job to oversee that our workplaces comply with these vital regulations. How many other corners are they cutting, and where?

Workers need to feel empowered to blow the whistle. If your local management is cutting corners with safety, let a union health and safety rep know immediately.

Wi-Fi tracked?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 28/05/2019 - 17:22

The press has recently reported TfL’s plan to track all wi-fi enabled devices through the Tube system, to measure passenger flows.

This technology could lead to important data gathering, which improves safety and staff deployment. But there’s also a risk it could be used nefariously, either for advertising purposes or even to track individuals’ movements.

If the technology is implemented, it needs to be within strict limits that ensures it can’t be used in a way that compromises privacy.

Victoria Line drivers head for action

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 28/05/2019 - 17:21

RMT drivers on the Victoria Line look as though they may soon join their Central Line comrades in balloting for industrial action.

The issues are similar, focusing on management throwing their weight around in the depot. RMT has been arranging meetings of the relevant reps, but it’s crucial that these are quickly translated into action.

As the fleet dispute shows, industrial action is often the only language LU understands.

Central Line fight needs strikes

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 28/05/2019 - 17:18

Central Line drivers in RMT recently returned a thumping majority for new strikes in a long-running dispute against bullying bosses. Click here for our report from the time.

So far, no action has been called. It's been over a month. Many drivers are starting to ask why. The dispute hasn’t been resolved, and the exceptional turnout and high majority for strikes in the ballot shows there is a mood to fight. So why hasn’t the union named dates?

Pay and conditions fight update

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 28/05/2019 - 17:15

LU has now made a revised offer on pay and conditions, offering RPI + 0.1% this year, and RPI + 0.2% next year. There has been no movement on any union demand: for a reduced working week, for a flat-rate minimum for lower-paid staff, and more.

This offer needs to be completely rejected, and a dispute declared.

No-one should be in any doubt that strikes will be required to win a decent deal. We need to build for that now, and preparing for the hard work of achieving the required threshold in the ballot.

ABM slashes jobs

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 16/05/2019 - 18:03

It appears that ABM is mounting a serious assault on jobs, with reports flooding in from across LU of positions being slashed.

Numerous stations with three or more cleaners on a shift are losing at least one position, with any agency cleaners first in the firing line. Many are being told they have to accept redeployment to a new station, often nowhere near their current one.

Fleet workers win train prep fight

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 15/05/2019 - 09:13


You can almost hear the grinding of gritted teeth...


Industrial action by LU Fleet workers, and the threat of a three-day strike from 17-20 May, has forced LU bosses into an embarrassing climb-down over their plans to extend train prep schedules. An Employee Bulletin announced the bosses' defeat on 14 May, with the company saying it had "decided not to change the frequencies" of train checks.

Piccadilly power wins justice for Sophie

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 13/05/2019 - 22:18

We reported a couple of months back on LU's scandalous decision to hand Sophie Kyei-Donkoh, a Piccadilly Circus CSA, a 52-week warning for the "crime" of being abused by a member of the public (who was, in fact, a serial vexatious complainer).

Sophie's colleagues, through their local reps and RMT branch, organised to take a stand, and committed to balloting for industrial action if the warning remained.

Fortunately, management saw sense and the warning was rescinded on appeal.

Wot no Night Cleaners?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 13/05/2019 - 21:47

Station staff in sefveral locations have been shocked to find out that the number of night cleaners on their station has been cut, without any notice or discussion.

And the cleaners involved have been told - often verbally, at just one day's notice - that there is no more work for them.

Strike to defend train safety!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 08/05/2019 - 17:18

Fleet workers have begun their industrial action to defeat extended train prep, by refusing to deliver or participate in training for work outside substantive roles. This action is vital to stop LU training up a scab workforce to cover train prep work while fleet staff are on strike.

Strikes have been called from 07:00 on 17 May to 07:00 on 20 May. It’s good the union has called three days of action, rather than a token one-day strike. This will hit the company hard.

Ticket Offices Saved!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sat, 20/04/2019 - 14:28
Hackney Labour and RMT campaigners

Great news this week as Transport for London has backed down on plans to close London Overground ticket offices.

This follows an active campaign by RMT, and by local Labour Party branches in the areas affected. Reps and activists handed out thousands of leaflets, travelled round the various stations affected and made themselves seen and heard. They made the case that ticket offices are essential for people to safely access the network and for protecting jobs.

Calling you at home?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 18/04/2019 - 14:40

Tubeworker thinks that outside of a genuine emergency no one needs their manager contacting them outside of work. The survey being conducted by Aslef as to whether managers can call us to offer duties we didn't request has a very easy answer. NO!

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