District line

Ravenscourt roof

Published on: Tue, 21/01/2020 - 14:52

On Tuesday 14 January, high winds dislodged a large section of corrugated roofing at Ravenscourt Park station and sent it flying into the central area of track used by Piccadilly Line trains that pass through the station at 45mph.

Thankfully no one was injured but it is beyond evident that this was a highly serious incident that could have potentially ended very differently. The at-height location of the station means that if the section of roof had been blown the other way, it would have landed in a pedestrianised residential area, and had their been a train on the tracks, the section of roof was large and heavy enough to have potentially caused a derailment. The markings on the metal show that it made direct contact with the rail, and the wooden struts used to secure the roof panel to the canopy are visibly in poor condition.

This points to a serious failure of asset maintenance over a significant period of time that has left the roofing in such a poor condition that high winds were able to dislodge it. Simply put, had the roof been maintained properly, this could have been avoided yet LUL have continued to push through cuts in all areas of the business including asset maintenance.

A section of poorly maintained, rotting wood that contributed to the incident.

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Staffing reviews delayed... time to step up the fight

Published on: Tue, 10/12/2019 - 15:52

Almost exactly a year ago, station staff on the Bakerloo South group had just voted for industrial action to address issues around uncovered duties and short staffing.

Strikes were called in December and January, and later suspended after LU committed to filling all vacancies; covering all duties; and conducting a staffing review across the group to identify possible needs for additional jobs.

This agreement was later extended to a number of other station groups, including District Centre, where RMT members also balloted for action.

A year on, and the staffing reviews on these areas still have not produced definitive outcomes. There is a suggestion that one or two additional jobs may be created on Bakerloo South, possibly sometime in January, but no concrete timeframe for this, and with the suggestion that increases may be offset by getting rid of a part-time CSS position at Piccadilly Circus. On District Centre, there hasn't been vague indications so much as radio silence.

It's hard not to conclude that management simply haven't taken these processes seriously. The procrastination over these local staffing reviews are part of the reason why Tubeworker believes a network-wide dispute over stations issues, and most centrally issues around short and understaffing, is now necessary, and why we're pleased to see the RMT move in that direction. It appears reviews arising from local disputes will simply be kicked into the long grass, so we need to up the ante.

Let's ballot network-wide in 2020 and fight for increased staffing levels on stations, an end to lone working, and more.

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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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“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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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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Hey buddy

Published on: Mon, 25/03/2019 - 21:29

London Underground has announced a new 'buddy system' if we're lone working on stations.

Every two hours, you're supposed to phone your mate at the next station to check they're alright.

But what use is a phone call two hours after you've been assaulted?

The buddy system has previously only been used on nights when there are no passengers - it can't keep us safe during the day.

On the east end of the District Line, RMT wants to ballot for industrial action about lone working. It is also tackling the root cause of lone working by fighting for more staff.

Tubeworker topics

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District and H&C workers resist lone working

Published on: Fri, 22/03/2019 - 18:44

Station staff on the District East group, and drivers at Upminster and Barking depots on the District and Hammersmith and City Lines, are planning ballots for industrial action to protest lone working.

A recent spate of antisocial behaviour and violence, including stabbings, in the area sparked workers’ concern. A statement from their union branch, RMT East Ham, said: “In the space of three days, there has been a shooting and two stabbings on trains within our Branch area, and a further knife attack outside one of our stations. In all of these incidents, our members acted with bravery and professionalism, but this should not be a normal part of our jobs. Unfortunately, these types of crimes are becoming more common, putting our members at unacceptable risk.”

The ballot will be for industrial action short of a strike, specifically to refuse to lone work at stations alone or to detrain trains alone.

Lone working is a direct consequence of LU’s cuts to staffing levels over successive years; District Line workers are right to resist it.

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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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4LM Delayed

Published on: Wed, 05/12/2018 - 01:00

The "Four Lines Modernisation" (4LM) upgrade on the District, Met, Circle, and H and C missed the 17/18 November "go live" date for the first phase of automatic train operation.

There have been numerous problems with Thales' new signalling system, including more than one train entering a signalling section at once during a simulated test. It has now been put back to next year. By 2018, Bombardier was supposed to complete the entire upgrade - before it pulled out of its contract, costing TfL £85 million. Thales doesn't seem to be seem to be delivering on its promises either.

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