Bakerloo Line

Marylebone workers win on mess room

Published 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.

Fortunately management saw sense and have agreed to allow staff to continue using the facility. There are remaining issues over the location of lockers, but it’s a good win for now!

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Too Hot to Handle

Published 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.

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Battle of Marylebone Mess Room

Published 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.

Why? There’s no operational justification for this change, which will only lead to anger amongst CSAs.

Local RMT reps have been organising around the issue and have ensured it’s been taken up within the collective bargaining machinery. But the strength of feeling is such that, if the matter isn’t resolved, there’s a willingness to go further.

Sometimes, it’s the little things that are felt the most: messing around (no pun intend) with where workers are able to have a cuppa is an unnecessary wielding of managerial authority.

Have you had an experience of bosses messing around with breaks, mess rooms, tea points, or similar, in your station, depot, or workplace? Let Tubeworker know!

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Piccadilly power wins justice for Sophie

Published 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.

It's a good reminder of what some basic trade union principles mean in practise: an injury to one is an injury to all, and unity is strength!

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Agency workers exploited on the Bakerloo?

Published on: Thu, 11/04/2019 - 13:57

Network Rail has provided agency workers to work as suicide-prevention security staff on stations at the north end of the Bakerloo Line for some time.

Previously, workers were hired via an agency called SES, and paid around £10 an hour. But a new agency, Servo, has recently taken over the contract, and appears to be paying workers less - around £8 an hour.

Something is obviously up here. If the contract was transferred from one agency to another, workers should’ve been “TUPEd” over with their pay and conditions protected. Local reps for the LU unions are on the case and are looking into the matter, as well as trying to help the agency staff organise.

There’s a more fundamental issue here too: if Network Rail and LU accept there’s a need for staff presence on the platforms, why shouldn’t this be done by fully-trained LU staff? We say: kick Servo off the contract, train the agency staff up as CSAs, and create more jobs on stations!

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Justice for Sophie!

Published on: Fri, 22/03/2019 - 18:46

Sophie Kyei-Donkoh, a CSA at Piccadilly Circus, was abused by an aggressive passenger, who makes serial vexatious complaints against staff. How did the company support her? With a 52-week disciplinary warning!

RMT members at Sophie’s station are rightly up in arms about this travesty. Prior to the decision, the union wrote to LU to tell them that there’d be a dispute should Sophie be disciplined.

The warning must be rescinded!

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No Toilet in "Tombstone"?

Published on: Mon, 21/01/2019 - 18:32

Station staff on the Wealdstone side at Harrow and Wealdstone, separated from the Harrow side by a long footbridge, still have no access to a toilet or running water. LU insists that the local council, not them, are responsible for the plumbing so fixing it is out of their hands.

Whoever’s fault it is, it’s not acceptable. Having access to toilet facilities at work is a basic requirement of workplace dignity. Local management’s response – that workers can use the facilities on the Harrow side – is hardly adequate, especially when they insist that Wealdstone workers can only go over once someone arrives from the Harrow side to take their place, meaning they basically have to broadcast their request over the radio and then sit there in discomfort while they wait for their… err… “relief” to arrive.

No wonder the place is nicknamed “Horror and Tombstone”!

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More Stations Fight Short-Staffing

Published 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.

Tubeworker knows that this problem is rampant across our stations. So how about we fight back across the job. Together we are stronger.

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Gains made in short-staffing fight

Published 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.

Crucially, management has also agreed to a group-wide review of the staffing levels. We can use this process to fight for more jobs.

RMT members on Bakerloo South should feel proud that the resolve they showed has forced concessions. Pressure must be maintained to keep management to their commitments, and to push for more. And station staff facing similar issues across the combine can look to spread the struggle.

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Wins for station staff at Baker Street and Bakerloo Line South

Published on: Thu, 20/12/2018 - 18:00

Station staff at Baker Street and the Bakerloo Line South Cover Group are finishing 2018 on a high after the threat of strikes forced concessions from management.

At Baker Street, an unjustly sacked probationer was reinstated, and trumped up disciplinary charges against two staff, including the local RMT rep, were dropped after workers returned a big majority for industrial action.

On the Bakerloo South Group, which includes Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus, Charing Cross, Lambeth North, and Elephant and Castle, workers have forced a 180° u-turn from management on the issue of short staffing.

Management had been operating a policy of refusing to cover uncovered duties, citing budgetary concerns. A massive vote for action and the threat of a strike on Boxing Day forced a total climb down, with management committing in writing to cover all duties.

A second strike is planned for 14 January, which remains on as workers see if management keep to their word. It's important reps and activists keep a keen eye on management make sure they're enacting their commitments. And even if they behave themselves over the next two weeks, allowing for a possible suspension of January's strike, any backsliding must be met with action. The ballot mandate lasts until July, remember.

Notwithstanding this need to keep the pressure on to ensure commitments are met, these are both great results for station workers. Let’s spread the struggles!

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