Over 1,500 workers face being shuffled around like pieces on a chessboard from 30 April, as LU proposes to transfer the employment of all workers involved in engineering, major projects, change delivery and PMO activity to Transport for London.
The relationship between TfL and its subsidiary companies is something of a movable feast, with the level of integration seeming to magically increase or decrease depending on what happens to suit the bosses at a given moment.
What is not in doubt is that directly-employed TfL staff have worse terms and conditions in many regards than those that have been won by LUL employees. Unions have been fighting a long-running battle within TfL against attacks on pensions and a performance-related-pay scheme. Now, 1,500 LU engineers face a potential levelling down.
LU MD Mark Wild has said he was doing this for grade progression for traffic light grads into Railway Signalling... as if they're the same thing! It'd be a bit like taking your unwell pet to see a haematologist. Wild has also said he doesn't even know how much the transfer will save; without a doubt, though, in the current climate, jobs are at risk. And the whole of test train work is being transferred... except the drivers!
The TUPE proposals are a complete mess. Q Grades staff are excluded, which is a good thing, but the departments they work in are being transferred, so they'll still face the upheaval of doing the same job but having to report to a different manager in a new department. The whole thing may breach TUPE regulations anyway, as the bosses have failed to consult, and the transfer disrupts a previously-agreed multi-year pay deal. The longer-term fear is that LU will break up teams at Acton and Lillie Bridge depots and transfer them over to TfL too. Many feel the transfers may be preludes to larger attacks under the "TfL Transformation" programme.
The RMT has demanded a halt to the transfer. Workers are not disposable commodities to be moved around by our employers depending on what’s best for their accounts!
The solution is for a fully-integrated transport system, an end to needless transfers and contracting out, with all workers employed by a single, public employer, with pay, terms, and conditions levelled up.