Tubeworker's blog

Action ahead on the Central Line? Tubeworker Tue, 10/12/2019 - 16:04

It's becoming an all-too familiar pattern on trains. Managers in depots get out of control, presiding over a culture of petty and arbitrary discipline, interpreting procedures and policies punitively and acting like tinpot authoritarians. RMT drivers ballot for industrial action to stop this culture, strikes are declared, negotiations take place at Acas, trains managers promise to wind their necks in, and strikes are suspended.

A few months later... the old problems have returned and we're back to square one.

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

Bakerloo Line drivers: vote yes for action! Tubeworker Tue, 10/12/2019 - 15:45

"Working" Timetable 44 on the Bakerloo Line is simply not working.

The timetable has led to a long list of problems, including turnaround times so tight that drivers often aren't able to take a toilet break between trips. The timetable has also led to big gaps between trains at certain times, leading to overcrowding on platforms.

LU pay/conditions and stations fightback: get moving with ballots! Tubeworker Sat, 23/11/2019 - 16:31

The longer our unions go without launching ballots over LU pay/conditions, the more momentum we hand to the bosses.

Delaying only benefits the employer. RMT announced an aspiration to have its ballot ready by the end of November; members have a right to expect these aspirations to be followed through.

Fight to abolish the anti-union laws Tubeworker Sat, 23/11/2019 - 16:28

Despite voting by a 98% majority for strikes, ABM cleaners will be prevented from taking legal industrial action by the Tories’ anti-union laws. Of 620 cleaners balloted, 294 voted for strikes. But because this only amounted to 48% of the total, the result fell short of the 50% turnout threshold required by the 2016 Trade Union Act.

Keep up momentum in cleaners' fight Tubeworker Sat, 23/11/2019 - 16:27

To keep up momentum after anti-union laws scuppered the strike ballot, RMT must call further activity in the “Justice for Tube Cleaners” campaign.

Any and all suggestions should be considered. How about demonstrations at City Hall, or key TfL/LU office buildings such as Palestra or 55 Broadway?

The underlying message of the cleaners’ campaign is that cleaners are as much part of the permanent London Underground workforce as drivers, station staff, or engineers, and as such deserve equal treatment.

Support the Vic line drivers Tubeworker Tue, 19/11/2019 - 10:18

RMT drivers will strike on 27 November for 24 hours from 2200. The strike day called off in the summer is back on as management have still refused to deal with the issues over pay, procedures, and treatment of staff. A future date in December will be announced if management refuse to move.

Tubeworker urges the drivers to go for this time and calls on Aslef members to respect the strike. See you on the picket lines!

"Workplace Violence" Trojan Horse for Undermining Staff Tubeworker Mon, 18/11/2019 - 10:15

Sounding a loud fanfare about how much they care about us being battered at work, LUL management are promising what looks like an increase in staffing but on closer examination amounts to undermining us.

Management say they will recruit sixty new revenue staff, but they are calling them revenue control officers, not RCIs, so we are willing a stake a week's wages on this being a cheaper version.

There will also be 150 more CPOS staff (lower-paid TfL workers), fifty more coppers, and an enlarged Workplace Violence Unit.

Defend RCI jobs! Tubeworker Wed, 13/11/2019 - 11:44

Unions have long been pressing LU to fill the vacancies in the revenue department, which have gone unfilled for over a decade. The point has also been made that there may be some connection between the £90 million the company says it loses in lost revenue and the fact that it has deliberately understaffed the revenue department.

Recent spikes in workplace violence have brought the issue to a head, with many workers arguing that an increase in RCI numbers would improve workplace safety.

Wot no Radio?

Submitted by Tubeworker 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.

Assaulted? Expect an LDI!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 07/11/2019 - 09:43

Central line staff have been shocked to be summoned to LDIs for absences that include assaults.

The policy on this is very clear - as is the basic human morality! If you are assaulted at work and need some time off sick, then you deserve support not punishment. It is a breach of the policy to even count this as an item, let alone to call an LDI and issue a warning. It is not good enough for management to say that a warning can be overturned at appeal, as the member of staff should not have to go through this in the first place.

Vote Labour, and demand Labour restores the TfL subsidy!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 01/11/2019 - 19:47

On 12 December, we’ll have the chance to kick the Tories out of government. Tubeworker encourages all readers to vote Labour in every constituency.

Labour is the only alternative party of government. It has its most left-wing policy platform for decades, and a left-wing membership prepared to push the leaders further to the left.

Support the protests in Chile

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 25/10/2019 - 19:22

Tubeworker supports the protests in Chile which started On 4 October following President Sebastián Piñera announcing a 30p rise in transport tickets in the capital, Santiago.

Initially protests were organised by school students who started a mass fare evasion on the metro, encouraging others not to buy tickets. By 19 October the entire metro system had been closed down due to the protests, which have been heavily repressed with serious police violence.

Tube Rebellion?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Wed, 23/10/2019 - 13:37

Some comments on the Extinction Rebellion (XR) protests on the Tube from us.

We support direct action against climate change. We’ve highlighted this many times and have drawn attention to the central role that workers’ action has to play in fighting for a transition to a sustainable economy.

While we have criticisms of XR, particularly in terms of what we feel is their naive attitude to the police and state power generally, they have played an undeniably important role in raising the profile of this issue.

“20 additional colleagues”?

Submitted by Tubeworker 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.

Action due in District East safety dispute

Submitted by Tubeworker 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.

Go slow to stop track noise!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 26/09/2019 - 11:50

After the excellent ballot result on the Jubilee, Northern, Victoria, and Central Lines, RMT has named action starting on 10 October in its dispute to end excessive track noise.

Drivers will impose temporary speed restrictions in affected areas, lessening the effect of the noise forced into the driver’s cab and the train cars.

That’s the kind of go-slow we like to see. We’re less keen on the slowness of the union’s decision making process. This action should have been announced as soon as the ballot result came back. The delay only benefits the bosses.

Will Labour implement its 32-hour week policy on TfL?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 26/09/2019 - 11:42

The recent Labour Party conference in Brighton ratified policy in favour of a four-day, 32-hour week. Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell promised that the average working week would be cut to 32 hours within a decade under a Labour government.

In London, we already have a (local) Labour government: Labour controls the mayoralty, and the Greater London Assembly, which administers TfL and its subsidiaries.

Action Against Assaults

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 23/09/2019 - 10:02

Staff across the job have been shocked to hear about the brutal assault on our workmates at West Ham station last Wednesday. Tubeworker sends our solidarity to those involved and is pleased to hear about the great support they are getting from colleagues. Not so much from management, though, we hear.

In response to this, we need concrete action: not crocodile tears, and not sticking-plaster attempts to use inadequate technological fixes to address the problem.

Concrete demands follow from the key issues in the assault:

A uniform approach

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 19/09/2019 - 14:02

CSAs are having uniform orders rejected when they have been on the job less than two years. What's going on?

Some part-time workers have only one pair of trousers or two tops. Waiting for two years to get the uniform needed we have to wear for the job is a joke.

If this is happening across the network then workers should start speaking up.

Automatic Warning?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 19/09/2019 - 13:40

"It's an automatic 26-week warning" is becoming a mantra from managers, especially on stations. But that's not the case, and it is high time that more of us objected and asserted our rights.

The Attendance and Discipline policies are clear that managers have discretion to give lower warnings - or no warning at all - as well as to give the maximum. If they give the maximum warning, they have to explain why. Any mention of the word "automatic" is a breach of the policy.

French metro workers strike

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 16/09/2019 - 13:57
RATP

This report on the Paris metro workers’ strike appeared in the newspaper of the New Anticapitalist Party (NPA) on 18 September and was translated from the French by Luke Neal.

A strike on RATP (the Paris metro) has got the the ball rolling in the fight against pension reforms in France. After 12 years of lethargy - at least on the surface - the strike has made a smashing comeback in Parisian transport: 100% of strikers on the metro, 60% on buses and in maintenance workshops. The capital was paralysed on Friday 13 September. Well dug, you old mole!

Noise ballot success

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 10/09/2019 - 16:08

RMT Drivers on the Northern, Central, Victoria and Jubilee lines have returned a yes vote for action short of strike due to excessive track noise.

Tubeworker congratulates the workers who voted YES and bizarrely those who voted NO. Without them the ballot would not have made it over the ridiculous 50% threshold that the Trade Union Act imposes on unions.

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