New school vs old school?

Posted in Tubeworker's blog on Fri, 21/09/2018 - 11:21,

London Underground is attempting to change the culture on the job. Fit for the Future introduced management into the day-to-day stations environment for the first time. LU has appeared recently to favour recruiting from industries with little culture of union organisation.

It has run recent supervisor or management promotion campaigns that have promoted people with, say, a year's experience, overlooking people with 20 years on the job. The impression we get is that it wants bright young things who are not "set in their ways". A lot of us feel resentful. It's a kick in the teeth to have devoted the majority of your adult life to the company, working shifts that wreck your health and social/family life, then get towards the end of your career and feel that LU doesn't value your experience one bit.

Underlying all this is London Underground's drive to create a culture where it's more common to love management than join a union.

The good news is that, while LU has changed its recruitment priorities, it has not changed our conditions - at least not for the better. Inhuman shifts, bullying over sickness: the basic need for a union to challenge management's power and improve our lives has not gone away. We need to resist management's attempt to divide "new school" vs. "old school". We are all in the same boat. We might join with no experience of belonging to a union, but we soon learn that we need one!

LU hopes to take advantage of newer staff, that they will be happy to do more work for less money. All the more reason for the 'old' to reach out to the new, making sure all are in a union and no-one is taken advantage of.

Some changes are positive; for example, it's great that LU's workforce is now more diverse, (although we know LU could do more to tackle discrimination at work). But we should make sure that LU does not succeed in diluting union power in the name of progress.

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