Strikes due at Transplant

Published on: Tue, 26/06/2018 - 10:55

RMT members at the ex-AP JNP Transplant depot have voted for strikes in two separate disputes, over pay parity and train preparation.

Action to level up pay between different grades of workers is vital, and strikes over train prep could be a prelude to combine-wide disputes over the same issue, as LU still plans to cut prep frequency from 24 to 96 hours.

Stay tuned for the announcement of strike days.

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All out on the Picc!

Published on: Tue, 26/06/2018 - 10:50

RMT has named dates for a forthcoming drivers' strike on the Piccadilly Line.

The strike begins at 21:00 on Wednesday 11 July, and finishes at 01:00 on Saturday 14 July.

This will see four days of impact on the service, with two full strike days, and will also involve Night Tube drivers as it covers their Friday night-Saturday morning turns. The strike also coincides with the visit to the UK of the far-right US President Donald Trump. We don't imagine Trump was planning on using the Picc too much, but if the strike disrupts his visit in any way then that's an added bonus!

See you on the picket lines!

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Picc Line strike ballot closes today

Published on: Thu, 21/06/2018 - 10:24

RMT drivers on the Piccadilly Line are currently balloting for industrial action, with the vote due to close today (Thursday 21 June).

The dispute has been prompted by what the union calls a complete "breakdown in industrial relations", with management adopting an increasingly disciplinarian and authoritarian approach, including obstructing union reps from carrying out basic trade union duties. Piccadilly Line management has also failed to honour agreements made in previous disputes.

Aslef is also balloting its Piccadilly Line membership; its ballot will not close until July. Should RMT's ballot meet the threshold requirements and return a majority for strikes, a discussion will need to be had amongst RMT reps and activists around whether the union should wait for Aslef's ballot to close, in order to coordinate potential action, or launch action of its own using the momentum of its own ballot.

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Jubilee Line dispute shows that solidarity wins

Published on: Sun, 17/06/2018 - 19:46

The planned strike on the Jubilee Line on 14 June was called off; Tubeworker understands that things went right to the wire, with the strike being suspended on Wednesday night at 7pm, less than five hours before the industrial action was due to begin. Staff at the conciliation service Acas had even told the assembled union reps and LU managers that the lights were about to be switched off as the room hire had come to an end!

This dispute was based around a new timetable on the line which has seen as increase in weekend working. This and other concerns were raised by reps, and ignored by management, before new schedules were even completed, and since the implementation of the timetable, further problems have become apparent.

The dispute had been stoked by local management falsely claiming that unions raised no concerns with sheets when in fact they were rejected. Later, a senior manager claiming no gains had been made by unions at Acas, at a time when negotiations were ongoing!

The proposed resolution will see an additional line of "pool cover" added to sheets at Jubilee Line depots, covered by the most senior pool driver, but with a guaranteed Saturday rest day.

This dispute has shown that solidarity between unions, and a militant approach to opposing a deterioration of working conditions, is a winning formula which can see detrimental changes rectified. What we need now is full solidarity between all Tube workers, with one workplace union to combine us all.

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Gains made in Jubilee Line drivers' fight

Published on: Thu, 07/06/2018 - 19:34

The 6 June strike on the Jubilee Line was suspended after bosses buckled and made concessions.

The victory highlights the importance of unions working together. Jubilee Line drivers were unhappy with a new timetable which saw weekend working increased and a deterioration in work life balance, and so decided to do something about.

Initially management ignored the issue, and then following a successful ballot for strike by both RMT and Aslef tried to trivialise it. They claimed that what the unions were concerned about amounted to one extra Saturday rest day in six years. However, on the eve of the strike they capitulated, offering extra weekends off, a thanks to unions for offering a solution, and an undertaking to look at what caused the issues in the first place. Undoubtedly the prospect of a joint union strike, that would've shut down service on the line, focused the bosses' minds.

Of course this dispute, like all others, is about more than the particular issues raised. It is a timely and necessary reminded to our bosses that it is us who does the job, and that we workers cannot be ignored when we stick together and take industrial action. We don’t need to accept a degrading of our conditions. This is a useful lesson as we approach the next LUL pay deal.

Tubeworker understands that both unions negotiated from a joint position, together in the same room. This is how it should be. The next logical step is to have one transport union representing all transport workers.

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On the Jubilee Line drivers' strike

Published on: Sun, 27/05/2018 - 15:20

Jubilee Line drivers are fed up with the attitude of management on the line.

Local managers are pushing harder and harder as the service is ramped up and user numbers increase. Any perceived "staff error" and they are now coming down harder on drivers presumably thinking that ‘more stick and less carrot’ will make us more amenable to their whip cracking.

However, the breaking point has been the new timetable forced on drivers which increases the number of weekends worked, ups the pressure on us and sees work-life balance issues ignored.

This timetable was 18 months in the planning, yet when it came to negotiations with reps we understand that the line manager was on holiday; clearly not concerned to hear from her worker’s representatives what drivers felt of the new plans.

The timetable was rejected with clear reasons given, yet management forcibly implemented it anyway. A ballot was put on, won, and two strike dates subsequently called. Thereafter, even small requests, previously agreed by management have been left out of the new timetable and schedules. Whether this was a petty response to drivers concerns about work-life balance, incompetence or general lack of compassion is unclear; but regardless of the cause it has made anger on the line stronger.

Now drivers need to come out in force on 6 and 14 June. We have two choices, shut the line down and show bosses we care about our work-life balance, or come in to work and give bosses free range to worsen our conditions at will.

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Jubilee and Acton District drivers: all out on 6 and 14 June!

Published on: Tue, 22/05/2018 - 14:57

Despite previous commitments to improve work/life balance and reduce weekend working, a new timetable management is attempting to impose on the Jubilee Line in fact increases weekend working. Quite rightly, drivers aren't having it. Both Aslef and RMT members will strike on 6 and 14 June to resist the imposition of the new timetable.

Elsewhere, Aslef members at the Acton depot on the District Line are due to strike again on the same dates, after a previous strike in April, over disciplinary procedures. Tubeworker encourages all Acton drivers, whatever union you're in, to join the strike.

See you on the picket lines!

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The Threat Of Direct Action Gets The Goods!

Published on: Wed, 16/05/2018 - 21:57

RMT drivers on the Bakerloo Line have seriously bloodied the bosses' collective nose, after LU was forced into an embarrassing climbdown over a sacked Queen's Park driver. The company has agreed to reinstate the driver, after the RMT Bakerloo Line branch decided to ballot for strikes to demand he got his job back.

The driver was sacked for a non-safety-related staff error that should've dealt with as a performance or coaching issue. Instead, LU made a knee-jerk decision to sack him and, shockingly, upheld the decision at appeal. They were savaged by the Tribunal judge who found them 85% culpable and ruled the sack unfair, recommending reinstatement.

Tribunal courts have no power to compel employers to reinstate sacked workers, so we must conclude that the threat of strikes was the crucial element in forcing LU's hand.

Union sources estimate that LU's costs for the case could run to several hundred thousand pounds, at a time when Tube bosses are imposing austerity and cutting jobs. The RMT Bakerloo branch rightly plans to use momentum from this success to go on the offensive against an increasingly authoritarian management culture.

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Jubilee drivers say enough is enough

Published on: Mon, 23/04/2018 - 22:03

Jubilee Line drivers are unhappy with new duty schedules forced on them by management. Like much of the Tube, the Jubilee Line gets busier and busier each year, and working patterns deteriorate with the pressure ramped up too.

Drivers on the Jubilee have decided it is time to say enough is enough, with both unions likely headed to dispute.

The key issue is work/life balance, in particular weekend working. When reps negotiated with management on the draft schedules, the line manager was absent. We are now told these sheets are good for us as workers as they give a better service to passengers. Great for them, but that doesn’t help improve our work life balance.

It was agreed at the 2015 Pay Dispute that weekend working would go down. It hasn’t, it’s gone up. And not just on the Jubilee Line.

Tubeworker believes work life balance is a crucial concern for all Tube workers. Something we should all fight together to improve.

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Justice for sacked drivers!

Published on: Fri, 20/04/2018 - 14:04

Paul Bailey

Paul Bailey, a Leytonstone driver, has been sacked following a drug and alcohol test which he passed.

Testing for cannabis is notoriously difficult. Paul's original test result was hidden from him, but he was stood down because of it. A follow up private test showed 19ng of a cannabinoid substance, but the industry standard for a so called 'failed test' is 50ng. The positive result came because this driver has eaten hemp supplements - allowed by LU - as part of a fitness regime.

LU cannot be allowed to treat Paul like this, or to sack any of us because we pass a drugs test! This affects all LU workers and we should all be ready to take the action necesary to defend Paul and ourselves.

Luis Vigo

Ever needed a bottle of water whilst driving your train? Well, be careful as LU may sack you for it. More so if management don't like you because you are precise in your working method.

Luis went 10 seconds from his cab, with the train in full sght at all times, and a colleague watching his train too, to fill his water bottle. He was sacked because he didn't remove the keys. At an employment tribunal, LU was hauled through the coals and the judge found that Luis had been unlawfully sacked, straight after the evidence was heard.

LU must now do the right thing: apologise to Luis, compensate and re-employ him, and look at disciplining the managers who dealt with this case so badly.

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