Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Okay I’ve been looking at the proposals for stations, I think I understand but if I’ve got anything wrong in all this then I apologise and will happily correct my error.

At the moment stations are divided into 38 Groups with a Group Station Manager at the top and a bunch of Duty Station Managers under them, just as each Depot has a TOM with DTSMs and TOSMs.  Each station has Supervisors with CSAs on the barriers and platforms, ticket offices are occupied either by Station Assistant Multi-Functionals or the Super while the larger stations have Station Assistant Control Rooms monitoring the CCTV and making PAs.

Under the new system stations will be divided into categories; there will be 6 “Gateway”, 29 “Destination”, 102 “Metro”, 64 “Local A” and 61 “Local B”.  The Gateway stations will be Euston, Heathrow 123, King’s Cross/St. Pancras, Liverpool Street, Paddington and Victoria; these will be only ones to retain ticket offices although we won’t call them that, they’ll be “Travel Centres” or some such nonsense.  There’s already been a few mutterings about Waterloo and London Bridge being left off the list but no doubt they’ll sort that out.

“Destinations” are pretty much the same as “Gateways” without the Travel Centre and all but eight are in Zone 1.  The rest of the Zone 1 stations are “Metro” along with all the Section 12 and more complex stations in other Zones.  The rest are divided up into Locals with the Bs being the simpler stations where all you have is two platforms and a ticket hall with stairs or a ramp in between.

The groups will be replaced by 97 Areas, ranging between 1 to 8 stations, with an Area Manager-Stations replacing the GSMs.  Supervisors will be replaced with two grades of Customer Service Managers and Customer Service Supervisors, SAMFs and SACRs will be scrapped, CSAs will become CSA1s and there will be a new grade, CSA2, which will be a customer service only with no actual railway qualification.  Gateways and Destinations will be run by a CSM1 with CSS in the ticket hall and control room plus as many CSA1s and CSA2s as necessary.  Metros will have a CSM2 supported by CS1s, Local As will have a CSS and Local Bs will be staffed with CSA1s only with a mobile CSM2 supervising a number of stations.

Currently there are 38 GSMs, 190 DSMs, 1771 SSs, 1450 SAMFs/SACRs and 2224 CSAs, a total of 5673 station staff although that isn’t actual employees, that’s how many positions there are, no doubt a fair number of those have become vacant and haven’t been filled, something LUL allowed to happen before the last reorganisation.  In the future there will be 97 AM-Ss, 336 CSM1s, 635 CSM2s, 666 CSSs, 2500 CSA1s and 486 CSA2s, a total 4720 with 953 jobs disappearing. 

What is obvious from these figures is that what has been touted as a closure of ticket offices is actually a cull across the board above the level of CSA.  While the GSMs transfer smoothly into AM-S jobs it leaves the DSMs chasing the remaining 59 positions or competing for the CSMs positions with SSs. Similarly the SSs who don't get CSMs places are tussling with the SACRs/SAMFs for CSSs with the possibility that some of the latter could be downgraded to CSA1.   While I've been told that wages will be protected for three years the fear among station staff I've spoken to is that anyone downgraded could face a rather large wage cut in 2018.

Unsurprisingly all this change is not being received well down at the gritty end, the “uniforms” are confused, worried about the future, morale is rock bottom and there is talk of strikes while the “suits” inhabiting the lofty pinnacles of 55 Broadway seem to be totally unaware of the unrest and carry on serenely as if everything is wonderful.  For the train side there doesn’t seem to be much difference but should I have a problem at THB or PER in the future instead of a Super with many years of experience under their belt coming to my assistance it could be a CSA1 with only a few months on the job.

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