Following my last post there have been some comments about what TOps could expect from “Fit for future; trains” and there seemed to be the opinion that we’d be facing something similar to station staff, with downgrading, wage cuts and working anywhere on the network. I’m not so pessimistic as I think what people have missed is the fundamental difference between how stations and trains operate.
On stations you had three grades of Supervisor along with SAMFs, SACRs and CSAs, all carrying out separate functions but on trains you only have TOps or IOps and when IOps aren’t training, which is most of the time, they do exactly the same job as TOps.
Salaries aren’t being cut on stations, CSMs will be paid the same as SSs and any SAMF/SACR who is fortunate enough to get a CSS position will actually get a pay rise. The big difference is that there are fewer jobs at a higher salary, staff are being downgraded, not asked to do the same job for less. Unless the plan is for TOps on ATO lines get less than those on manual lines then there isn’t much fiddling around you can do but even that would run into difficulties.
What would happen when the ATO lines had to work manual, would TOps get paid at the higher level? When they finally get around to converting the Sub Surface lines to ATO will TOps be paid less when they cross into the sections that have been converted? Shunting in and out of sidings, when we’re asked to go Coded because there’s trouble on the platform ahead? Working on the Waterloo and City? In bad weather would Wood Lane have to decide if they could afford to instruct trains in open section go Coded?
Station staff can work anywhere provided they’ve been familiarised at the station, TOps can only drive the stock they’ve been trained to operate and the line they’re licenced for. If they wanted to send me to Golders Green or Acton Town I’d need to be trained on the stock and then spend time learning the “road”, it would be at least 6-8 weeks before I could start working on my own.
I don’t know what LUL will propose next year but the restrictions TOps work under make it very hard to mess with our jobs. Yes, they could impose a wage cut across the board but they’d be facing another joint strike except this time they wouldn’t be able to use office staff “ambassadors” to fill in driving trains. "Flexibility" on stations will be very different from "Flexibility" on trains.