London Underground’s response to the successful ballot for action on the East End of the District Line over workplace violence has been to announce “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 tube staff, but staff drafted in from Transport for London’s (TfL) Surface Transport department – workers who deal with taxi enforcement and revenue issues on buses. They are not trained or licensed to work on tube stations. They have no ability to intervene in any safety or security issue that takes place on the station.
The management 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 station staff.
Management’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.