Pay

LU’s latest offer still unacceptable: ballot for action now!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Sun, 18/08/2019 - 22:24

Ongoing pay talks have yielded a new offer from the company. They’re proposing a two-year deal, with a year one pay increase of RPI + 0.2%, with an RPI + 0.2% increase in year two minus the cost of implementing a 30-minute reduction in the working week.

This is entirely unacceptable for a number of reasons. Firstly, the pay increase itself is inadequate, and insulting in the context of pay rises of up to 74% handed to senior managers. Secondly, we can’t accept the idea that we should have to finance a reduced working week from our own wages rather than the company’s profits. Thirdly, a 30-minute reduction in the working week simply isn’t enough to be meaningful. We need hours of our week, not minutes. Finally, the offer doesn’t address our other demands, including equalisation of staff travel facilities, a minimum flat-rate pay increase, or the equalisation of the CSA grade.

For all these reasons, we have to push on with plans to ballot for action to win a better deal.

However, the offer is, in a small but significant way, progress. It represents the first concrete acknowledgment by our bosses that they can’t settle with us without making some concession on working hours.

Their acknowledgment of that gives us an opportunity to push forward. We have to increase the pressure by balloting for strikes.

Tubeworker topics

“Go it alone”?

Submitted by Tubeworker on Thu, 25/07/2019 - 11:16

Tubeworker isn’t linked to any one union on the job, and we argue consistently for unity and common action between all unions on LU.

That aspiration for unity means it’s always disappointing when one union puts out material attacking another in a way that’s divisive or even straightforwardly inaccurate. Robust criticism and debate about strategy and tactics is one thing; misleading workers about another union’s record is quite another.

There’s a new Aslef leaflet doing the rounds on the job that declares its “time to go it alone” on pay and conditions, allegedly because RMT isn’t prepared to fight for drivers! It attacks RMT for raising the demand for the consolidation of the CSA grade, and goes on to claim that RMT “agreed” the introduction of the CSA2 grade.

This is untrue. In fact, the post-Fit for the Future grading system was imposed by the company, despite union opposition. RMT fought against Fit for the Future in its entirety, and while some significant concessions were gained from management, ultimately that battle was lost and the new grades were imposed. It is outrageous for Aslef to claim RMT positively agreed to the creation of the CSA2 grade.

The Aslef leaflet says “we only care about drivers”. What an illuminating insight into the sectional mindset! Not “we only organise drivers”, or “we only represent drivers”, but “we only care about drivers”! In other words, other workers on the railway can get stuffed!

This approach is divisive and only benefits the bosses. We urge rank-and-file Aslef members to challenge their reps over the spreading of these inaccuracies. We’ll be far more powerful if we don’t “go it alone”, but rather fight together to take united action.

Tubeworker topics

Ballot on pay and conditions imminent

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 18/06/2019 - 11:58

RMT is now preparing to ballot members on LU for industrial action over pay and conditions. With all three other unions having also rejected LU’s latest offer, it’s likely they’ll ballot too.

Restrictive anti-union laws mean we need to get a 50% turnout and at least 40% of all those balloted voting yes to take legal action. So make sure your contact details are up to date with your union so your ballot paper gets sent to the right place.

We need to be prepared to take serious action. A token one-day strike is unlikely to be enough to budge the bosses. Guards on South Western Railway are currently striking for five days to defend their jobs; their resolve should inspire us!

Tubeworker topics

Pay and conditions fight update

Submitted by Tubeworker on Tue, 28/05/2019 - 17:15

LU has now made a revised offer on pay and conditions, offering RPI + 0.1% this year, and RPI + 0.2% next year. There has been no movement on any union demand: for a reduced working week, for a flat-rate minimum for lower-paid staff, and more.

This offer needs to be completely rejected, and a dispute declared.

No-one should be in any doubt that strikes will be required to win a decent deal. We need to build for that now, and preparing for the hard work of achieving the required threshold in the ballot.

Tubeworker topics

LU's pay offer is a joke: stand firm for our demands!

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 05/04/2019 - 20:07

London Underground has offered our unions a one-year, 2.5% pay increase... as long as our unions agree to drop the entirety of our demands.

What is there to say about this offer other than... well, to avoid using inappropriate language, let's just say, "no thanks".

The unions' pay claims included varied demands, but all have demanded a 32-hour, four-day week. LU has simply ignored this, and many other demands around work/life balance and working conditions.

We all know that we'll only shift LU into making real concessions by taking industrial action. Our unions need to begin preparations for that now. Tubeworker was calling nearly a year ago for our unions to launch the pay fight well in advance, so we could be in a position to take industrial action as soon as possible. Unfortunately things have moved at a slower pace. We now need to accelerate.

Stand firm to win a reduced working week and a decent pay rise: prepare for action!

Tubeworker topics

Workers Win Sky-High Pay Rise

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 18/03/2019 - 11:41

Workers on the cable car service across the Thames have won pay rises of between 14.35% and 22.35% - by getting unionised.

In this relatively new workforce, a few staff had joined RMT. But the campaign stepped up a gear in October last year with the election of a new RMT rep. The union negotiated a recognition agreement and started talking to the company about pay. As time went on and the benefits of unionisation became clearer, more joined, and so the pressure on management increased.

The result is a hike in wages of 22.35% for Operator 1s, 15.8% for Operator 2s and 14.35% for Technicians. Importantly, the highest percentage rise has gone to the lowest-paid grade and the lowest percentage rise to the highest-paid. Thus, ineuqalities beteen different grades are reduced while at the same time, everyone gets an uplift. This is an example for all of us to follow.

The rise won't all find its way into the workers' pay packets, as 7% is a consolidation of bonuses paid (or not paid!) under the previous pay system. But nonetheless, it is a big rise, and consolidated pay is much better than unreliable bonuses anyway!

Tubeworker topics

Sticky Stick Rip-off

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 08/03/2019 - 10:43

Apparently, LUL pays £1,300 a go for a Track Retrieval Device.

That might sound quite reasonable if it were actually a 'device' in the popular understanding of the word. But it is a stick with a sticky pad on the end. Hence its usual moniker among station staff - the 'sticky stick'.

Private companies which make stuff like this must think that LUL is run by a bunch of suckers who will put their hands deep into their corporate pockets for any simple gadget they can come up with.

Shame their hands won't go so deep so easily in our pay talks, but at least when they claim to have no money, we can deploy our own Truth Retrieval Device.

Tubeworker topics

The pay claim and you

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 25/02/2019 - 11:00

A lot of us have come onto the job since the last pay claim in 2015. If you are Night Tube then you probably don’t remember the last time a pay increase was on the cards. All the unions on the tube have now gone to the bosses with what they want.

Now negotiations will start, but we should not be waiting to find out what pittance they say they can afford. We should be taking the fight to them and aiming to win the demands we’ve already agreed. Whatever happens they are not going to meet demands like a £3000 flat-rate pro rata pay increase or a change to a 32 hour week without a fight. That means getting ready for strike action.

Every time we strike or even threaten to the Evening Standard, LBC and the company will come down hard with lies and misinformation and try and stir up division between us as the so-called “ordinary Londoners.” But let's looks at the facts. Yes, we already earn more money than lots of people doing other jobs, but does that mean we just have to shut up and accept a race to the bottom? Lots of us got this job knowing it paid better than most, but that is because we’ve fought and won that pay by taking the action needed to win: striking.

And while we earn more than a newly qualified teacher or a nurse, why do the bosses always make out our job is so easy? We work on short staffed stations and depots, do extreme shifts in a safety critical workplace, and thats before you get to station staff dealing with the public

Tubeworker calls on all staff whether you are on probation or have been here 30 years to get excited by the chance to fight our corner and get off the fence and on the offensive!

Tubeworker topics

LU pay: we need a positive, proactive campaign

Submitted by Tubeworker on Mon, 21/01/2019 - 19:08

RMT has now submitted its pay claim to LU; the claim is online on the RMT London Calling website, and can be read here.

It’s good that the union is publicising the full contents of the claim to all members, so we know exactly what it is we’re fighting for. It’s also good that the demands for a minimum flat-rate pay increase, which will be worth more to lower-paid grades, and the demand for a 32-hour week are prominently included.

There’s an ongoing debate about whether the union should’ve specified a figure in the claim. Tubeworker believes it should. Several RMT branch submissions to the consultation around pay called for a figure of £2,000. Having a clear, concrete, pay demand to fight for, rather than the somewhat vague and generic language in the claim, would give our pay fight more clarity and focus. If you agree, why not take a motion to your RMT branch proposing that the union submits an addendum to the claim specifying that our minimum demand is for flat-rate increase of £2,000.

What’s also key now is the kind of pay campaign we run. We’ve been late out of the gates on this one: lots of activists on the job were calling for the pay claim to be collated and submitted a lot earlier, so we might stand a chance of winning a new deal in time for the expiry of the current one in April. We were saying ”Start the pay fight now!” in May 2018!

Now that the claim has gone in, we shouldn’t let the company dictate the pace of negotiations by sitting on it, getting back to us in a few months, telling us they’re offering a 0.5% pay increase instead, whereupon we allow ourselves to be dragged into haggling over the company’s derisory offer.

Let’s have a positive, proactive campaign where we seek to win demands that we’ve decided for ourselves, rather than simply reacting to the bosses. The union should set a deadline for the company to say yes or no to our demands, and if they so no (as they almost inevitably will), we should declare a dispute and begin balloting. To stand the best chance of getting a result in that ballot, we need to start campaigning now: promoting the contents of the claim, producing workplace-specific propaganda explaining how each demand would improve conditions for different grades, and getting our fellow workers ready to fight.

We’ve had several years of fighting defensive battles to try to blunt the sharpest edges of management attacks. We’ve now get a chance to get back on the front foot. Let’s take it.

Tubeworker topics

Underneath the Sta(i)rs

Submitted by Tubeworker on Fri, 21/12/2018 - 18:43

In what appears to be a personal contract across multiple cover groups, Mariah Carey is the newest member of station staff at Waterloo, Stratford and London Bridge. Although Tubeworker hasn't spotted her on the gateline.

Perhaps the Mayor can ask for some of her reported $520m (Earning only slightly less than a Train Op, h/t the Evening Standard) to plug the central government funding gap. Sister Carey has taken over the safety announcements, reminding people to stand behind the yellow line and to hold on to the handrail...Oh and she gets to plug her new album too.

At this time it's not clear how much she has been paid but no doubt, against all odds an intrepid FOI request from a respectable journalist will get to the bottom of it. Tubeworker just asks that she don't forget about us if she goes back to her potentially less lucrative career.

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