LT Health & safety

"Workplace Violence" Trojan Horse for Undermining Staff

Published on: Mon, 18/11/2019 - 10:15

Sounding a loud fanfare about how much they care about us being 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.

In fact, there will be more of everything except what we actually need ... station staff.

The company does little enough to protect us from violence at work. The fact that it is willing to use the rising tide of assaults as a pretext to extend the use of lower-paid grades is an indication of how low it will go.

Tubeworker topics

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Wot no Radio?

Published on: 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.

A Surface Transport worker attended a suspected stabbing, but instead of thanking and supporting him, management told him off for not having a radio - that'll be the non-existent radio that they don't issue to these workers! Management were quick to point out that there is a lengthy document with some small print saying that you can have a radio if you ask nicely, but that's not good enough.

We need proper staffing to protect us against violence at work.

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Assaulted? Expect an LDI!

Published on: 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.

To top it all, this is happening while management are trying to convince us how much they care about staff assaults.

This really is adding insult to injury.

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Tube Rebellion?

Published on: 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.

Two of our unions, RMT and Aslef, have made statements condemning the protests. We won’t join in with such straightforward condemnation, nor will we simply bemoan “disruption”. We know what it’s like to be attacked for being “disruptive” or “causing inconvenience.”

We stand in solidarity with X against repressive policing and defend their right to protest, even if it has a “disruptive” impact.

Having said this, we can’t endorse members of the public taking actions that put themselves and other passengers in significant danger. We want to see the service shut down via workers taking industrial action, not by passengers putting themselves in harm’s way. We also feel that public transport is a strange target for climate protests when public transport is so central to the protection of the environment from the pollution produced by private transport.

We’d appeal to all XR members/supporters, and any other climate activists, to discuss with us how we can build a working-class climate movement that strikes at the root cause of the climate crisis: capitalism.

We also stand in solidarity with our colleagues on trains and stations who’ve been responding on the ground, often in very difficult circumstances, having to deal with the public whilst managing difficult safety incidents. It reinforces the need for a properly-staffed Tube!

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Fifth Crossrail worker dies

Published on: 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.

Five deaths in half a year is too many to be a coincidence. From a workforce of five to six hundred, one per cent have died. Working conditions are unpleasant and unhealthy, with dust, poor air quality, no daylight, anti-social hours, and management inaction.

After being told at Monday's briefing of their colleague's death over the weekend, many workers refused to continue working, and spent two days above ground demanding management act to protect their health. Two days later, they were given dust masks and returned to work.

The fact that they work for several different companies may make it easier for their employers to avoid responsibility, but it must not stop us speaking out and demanding safe working conditions. We often say that we are entitled to go to work and come home safely. But we are also entitled to go home from work and wake up safely.

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“20 additional colleagues”?

Published 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.

These “colleagues” aren’t additional LU station staff, but staff drafted in from TfL’s Surface Transport department – workers who deal with taxi enforcement and revenue issues on buses. They are not trained or licensed to work on LU stations. They have no ability to intervene in any safety or security issue that takes place on the station.

LU aren’t even putting a sticking plaster on a gaping wound… they’re rubbing salt in it.

They’re also putting the Surface Transport workers, who are fellow transport workers and trade unionists, in an extremely difficult position by using them in this way. They shouldn’t have to be drafted in to be spare bodies when what’s so clearly needed is additional LU staff.

LU’s woefully inadequate response to issues of antisocial behaviour and workplace violence on District East, at West Ham, and elsewhere, show that the bosses are more committed to their agenda of penny-pinching budgetary savings than to the safety and wellbeing of workers.

It’s time for action. We need strikes to win a safe staffing level.

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Action due in District East safety dispute

Published 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.

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Go slow to stop track noise!

Published 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.

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Action Against Assaults

Published 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:

- This station repeatedly has uncovered duties and people working alone on a gateline where they are vulnerable: so we need a clear commitment from LUL that all uncovered duties are covered, and that lone working ends - not just working alone on a station, but working alone on a vulnerable part of a station.

- This is also rooted in the de-staffing of stations over recent years. We need an immediate increase in staffing levels, through the recruitment of permanent LUL staff, not agencies or securiety guards.

- It was shocking how easily the assailant were able to kick down the door to get to the staff they assaulted. Flimsy doors must be replaced immediately (rather than the rolling programme that management have promised).

- We need a secure and accessible place of safety in every part of every station.

We understand why staff are asking for bodycams, but as CCTV didn't deter these assailants, so it seems unlikely that bodycams would. And we worry that management will use bodycams (or an increase in police numbers) as an excuse to refuse demands like no lone working or covering all duties.

Tubeworker topics


Submitted by Rabia Ali (not verified) on Mon, 23/09/2019 - 18:28

Couldn't agree more.. and it was an upsetting incident.

We were discussing this the other day that body cams will not help if assailants are not scared or bothered about the repercussions...

Its about time law got tougher for these hooligans or any uncalled behaviour as a matter of fact.

Hope the idiots are found and procecuted. Sending hugs to the our colleages at West Ham.

Rabia - Victoria Station

Submitted by Sandra (not verified) on Tue, 24/09/2019 - 17:54

I abhor lone working. However I feel you should also push for more staff on section 12 stations where there are only 2 staff required to meet minimum numbers. Please don’t think we don’t get abused daily and are less at risk. If anything we are more at risk. We can’t lock ourselves in the station office/control room. We have to be on the gateline .

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Take action against lone working!

Published 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!

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