Metropolitan line

Wins for station staff at Baker Street and Bakerloo Line South

Published on: Thu, 20/12/2018 - 18:00

Station staff at Baker Street and the Bakerloo Line South Cover Group are finishing 2018 on a high after the threat of strikes forced concessions from management.

At Baker Street, an unjustly sacked probationer was reinstated, and trumped up disciplinary charges against two staff, including the local RMT rep, were dropped after workers returned a big majority for industrial action.

On the Bakerloo South Group, which includes Oxford Circus, Piccadilly Circus, Charing Cross, Lambeth North, and Elephant and Castle, workers have forced a 180° u-turn from management on the issue of short staffing.

Management had been operating a policy of refusing to cover uncovered duties, citing budgetary concerns. A massive vote for action and the threat of a strike on Boxing Day forced a total climb down, with management committing in writing to cover all duties.

A second strike is planned for 14 January, which remains on as workers see if management keep to their word. It's important reps and activists keep a keen eye on management make sure they're enacting their commitments. And even if they behave themselves over the next two weeks, allowing for a possible suspension of January's strike, any backsliding must be met with action. The ballot mandate lasts until July, remember.

Notwithstanding this need to keep the pressure on to ensure commitments are met, these are both great results for station workers. Let’s spread the struggles!

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Union declares victory in “battle of Baker Street”

Published on: Sun, 09/12/2018 - 22:33

RMT has declared victory in “the battle of Baker Street”, after London Underground reinstated an unjustly sacked CSA, and trumped-up disciplinary charges against a CSS were dropped.

LU were forced to back down after 41 out of 61 workers balloted at the station voted for strikes (on a turnout of 45). This showed a clear strength of feeling at the station and made certain that any strikes would have a serious impact.

Local reps and activists say this is the first battle in an ongoing fight against a culture of management bullying.

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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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Signal Operators Bite Back

Published on: Thu, 18/10/2018 - 14:45

When fleas infested Rickmansworth signal cabin, operators refused to work in there.

Suffice to say, faced with this defiance, management soon got the problem cleaned up.

A fine example to us all. We don't have to suffer discomfort and possible ill-health just because management can't manage to keep our workplaces free of creepy crawlies. Remember your right to refuse!

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Met drivers balloted to oppose canteen closure

Published on: Thu, 02/08/2018 - 11:08

Drivers on the Metropolitan Line are due to be balloted for strikes to protest the removal of the staff canteen at Harrow depot.

The canteen is being demolished to allow a lift shaft to be installed. It’s absolutely right for LU to invest in making stations more accessible; it also needs to ensure facilities for staff. These things shouldn’t be in competition. We want step-free stations and staff canteens.

The timetable for the ballot has yet to be announced; when it is, vote yes for strikes!

Tubeworker topics

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Save Our Canteen!

Published on: Fri, 19/01/2018 - 00:06

London Underground wants to close Harrow on the Hill canteen to make way for new lifts at the station.

We're all for improving access to the Tube, but don't do it at the expense of staff facilities. The closure would leave the Met with no canteen on the line.

If LU gets away with this on one line, it will no doubt look to save money by doing it on others. Hundreds of staff have already signed a petition about this. If you want to add your name, contact your rep. Local reps on both trains and station side are working to oppose the closure.

Tubeworker topics

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Pain in the art?

Published on: Mon, 16/10/2017 - 23:43

Here at Tubeworker, we're big advocates of public art and the liberating potential of artistic expression. But art installations in our workplaces need to take the safety and welfare of staff into account.

This consideration went missing with a recent "Art on the Underground" installation at King's Cross, by the Met/H&C gateline, which featured a looped 12-minute film, with a soundtrack featuring high-pitched singing throughout. A site space allocation was sent to safety reps, but no risk assessment was carried out.

Staff found the noise intolerable. Additionally, disabled member activists within the union flagged up the problem of sensory over-stimulation that could make the workplace a more distressing environment for workers with certain mental health conditions.

After union reps encouraged a campaign of email bombardment to the Area Manager, an agreement was reached whereby the film would only be played between 08:00-10:00 and 17:00-19:00 daily. If something similar happens in your workplace, speak to your safety reps immediately.

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Wot No Control Staff

Published on: Thu, 23/02/2017 - 08:50

A new manager comes in, wants to make a name for himself, clamps down on overtime, interferes with established ways of ensuring coverage, and guess what happens?

Yup. Not enough control staff to run the subsurface and Piccadilly lines last night. No problems for our intrepid new guvnor: the control room equipment can run itself! No, it can't. Still no problem: the staff can work through their meal reliefs. Er, no they can't.

Result: job up wall.

Management managed to attribute this to 'industrial action' and then 'absence of control staff'. Might we suggest that 'shortage of staff' and 'shortcomings of management' might be more accurate?

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S Stock Seating Slip-up

Published on: Thu, 09/06/2016 - 13:09

Whatever the S in S Stock stands for it's certainly not Simple Seats.

The driver's cab has a lovely new seat but it has a complex mechanism - in fact, several complex mechanisms! - for adjusting its height, footrest and distance from the handle.

This would not be a problem if only management had bothered to provide training for drivers in how to operate it to ensure that it is ergonomically correctly positioned.

No such luck. So when drivers complained of discomfort (numb bum syndrome), the train manufacturer replied that the drivers were not positioning it correctly. Worse health problems eg. frozen shoulder could follow if this is not sorted out.

Once again, management's unwillingness to spend any money has proved to be a right pain in the backside for staff.

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Bombardier Balls-Up

Published on: Fri, 18/03/2016 - 14:29

A GLA report has revealed the rip-off which saw TfL £886m out of pocket after awarding contract to Bombardier which it could not fulfil.

Not only that, but the terms of the contract meant that when Bombardier jumped ship, TfL had to pay it for the money it had spent rather than the work it had done. And all this leaves the sub-surface upgrades delayed by years.

The money lost about 20 times the annual saving that Fit for the Future - Stations is due to achieve. Massive job cuts, ticket office closures, ... and all the money saved gets chucked down the drain.

What a farce. The report calls the situation "nothing short of a disaster" for London Underground and accuses Bombardier of having "duped" TfL. Because after the PPP fiasco, no-one could possibly anti irate that a private company would try to get loads of money without delivering the work, right? Wrong.

Boris Johnson declared that Bombardier had "totally stuffed up" - a convenient passing of the buck, evading responsibility for TfL, which he chairs, also stuffing up big style on his watch. The contract was signed in 2011, three years into BoJo's tenure as Mayor.

That's the nature of private contacting - political leaders see it is contracting-out blame as well as work.

So the answer to this message is not just to manage contracts better, but to put an end to private contracting and do the work ourselves - with directly-employed staff in a department which carries out projects and major works.

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