Thursday 27 October 2011

As you’ve probably heard RMT are up in arms over changes to procedures so I thought it might be useful if I explained what they are.

The ominously titled “Operational Standards Notice No. 101”, subtitled “Getting ready for the Olympics”, has three changes. Apparently all TOps were meant to be given a briefing away from everything by an IOp or a manager and then allowed to ask questions. Instead there are tales of these simply being handed out when booking on or even being given to TOps while they were in the cab.

The least contentious change actually comes last; the re-categorisation of platforms. All platforms are either Category A or Category B, on Category B you can clearly see the entire length of the platform and the train from the door of the cab while obviously on Category A you cannot. If the CCTV fails on a Category B TOps can close the doors while stood in the cab door, check that no one is stuck in them and move off, on a Category A they have to get assistance from a member of station staff to dispatch the train.

Up until now all platforms on the Central Line (and some others) had been Category A, I have no idea why this was decided but someone has been very busy and now blue stickers with a white A or B have appeared by the headwall of every platform.

While I have no problem with this particular rule change it’s pretty obvious that this is being brought in due to the drastic cuts to station staff numbers. RMT don’t like it because they represent station staff along with TOps (and anyone working in transport) and removing the need for the extra body on the platform means less potential members paying £17.12 a month

In case you were wondering ASLEF is £24.39 for anyone earning £31k or over; you get what you pay for, I prefer a union tailor-made for train drivers rather than a “one size fits all”. You can tell I worked in menswear in the 80s; Ooooo, Sir! Suits you, Sir!

The only concern is when this situation arises at a Category B during the peak and the sheer number of bodies on the platform make it impossible to see the other end of the train. If I ever find myself in that position then I will refuse to move on the grounds of health and safety no matter what the Line Controller says. They can try to sack me if they want but the law and ASLEF will be on my side.

Enough for now, I’ll tackle the other two procedure changes later along with the hoo-ha over driverless trains and the possibility of industrial action over two RMT TOps that LUL are refusing to reinstate. Déjà vu?

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