LT Health & safety

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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Water at Green Park station this morning

Green Park Under Water

Published on: Wed, 15/01/2020 - 11:43

Green Park station staff have found themselves wading to work this morning after rainy weather and dodgy plumbing combined to leave the mess room and other areas flooded.

There is only one usable toilet, so staff are going in and out of hte ticket office every time they need to spend a penny.

This comes after several days of faulty plumbing causing unpleasant smells and the sink to become unusable.

It is wholly unacceptable for staff to be expected to work in these dangerous and unsanitary conditions. If management won't close the station, then Tubeworker recommends that staff refuse to work there.

Tubeworker topics

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Justice for Station Staff!

Published on: Tue, 14/01/2020 - 22:50

RMT is now planning a new “Justice for Station Staff” campaign, bringing together a small, focused number of key issues affecting station workers into a single fight back. These issues include ending lone working; reversing or resisting two-tier workforce models (within the CSA grade, and the new proposal to create a new grade in the revenue department); demanding parity with drivers for Boxing Day payments; and auditing staffing levels and places of safety across the job to mitigate the risk of workplace violence.

Tubeworker fully supports the idea of a new campaign for station workers’ rights. This can also be tied in with the RMT’s existing “Staff Our Stations” campaigns, which up to now has mainly focused on staffing levels at mainline stations. A vibrant campaign of propaganda around these issues, alongside meetings, rallies, protests, and other actions, should build towards an industrial action ballot if LU doesn’t meet our demands.

We should also put demands around work/life balance, including for a 32-hour week, as part of this campaign if we end up not achieving these demands via a wider fight on LU pay.

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"Workplace Violence" Trojan Horse for Undermining Staff

Published on: 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.

In fact, there will be more of everything except what we actually need ... station staff.

The company does little enough to protect us from violence at work. The fact that it is willing to use the rising tide of assaults as a pretext to extend the use of lower-paid grades is an indication of how low it will go.

Tubeworker topics

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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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Assaulted? Expect an LDI!

Published 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.

To top it all, this is happening while management are trying to convince us how much they care about staff assaults.

This really is adding insult to injury.

Tubeworker topics

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Tube Rebellion?

Published 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.

Two of our unions, RMT and Aslef, have made statements condemning the protests. We won’t join in with such straightforward condemnation, nor will we simply bemoan “disruption”. We know what it’s like to be attacked for being “disruptive” or “causing inconvenience.”

We stand in solidarity with X against repressive policing and defend their right to protest, even if it has a “disruptive” impact.

Having said this, we can’t endorse members of the public taking actions that put themselves and other passengers in significant danger. We want to see the service shut down via workers taking industrial action, not by passengers putting themselves in harm’s way. We also feel that public transport is a strange target for climate protests when public transport is so central to the protection of the environment from the pollution produced by private transport.

We’d appeal to all XR members/supporters, and any other climate activists, to discuss with us how we can build a working-class climate movement that strikes at the root cause of the climate crisis: capitalism.

We also stand in solidarity with our colleagues on trains and stations who’ve been responding on the ground, often in very difficult circumstances, having to deal with the public whilst managing difficult safety incidents. It reinforces the need for a properly-staffed Tube!

Tubeworker topics

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Fifth Crossrail worker dies

Published on: Sat, 05/10/2019 - 15:48

Workers on the Crossrail site at Bond Street have lost five of their workmates in the last six months. They have not been killed at work, but nonetheless have met early deaths in their sleep unexpected in relatively young, healthy people.

Five deaths in half a year is too many to be a coincidence. From a workforce of five to six hundred, one per cent have died. Working conditions are unpleasant and unhealthy, with dust, poor air quality, no daylight, anti-social hours, and management inaction.

After being told at Monday's briefing of their colleague's death over the weekend, many workers refused to continue working, and spent two days above ground demanding management act to protect their health. Two days later, they were given dust masks and returned to work.

The fact that they work for several different companies may make it easier for their employers to avoid responsibility, but it must not stop us speaking out and demanding safe working conditions. We often say that we are entitled to go to work and come home safely. But we are also entitled to go home from work and wake up safely.

Tubeworker topics

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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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