It seems that Central Line senior managers are still away on their hols as so far there’s been no further attempt to avert another strike, hopefully between unpacking their bags and shaking the sand out of their shoes they'll make time to talk to ASLEF over the next three weeks. In the meantime there's trouble a-brewing over on the Northern Line where a TOp with 29 years on the job has been sacked for failing a breathalyser test. Now that in itself wouldn’t be a big issue, we’ve lost a few TOps on the Central for breaches of LUL’s drugs & alcohol policy and while their departure was sad we all accepted that their dismissal was inevitable but in Alex McGuigan’s case there’s a twist.
Like a growing number of people in the UK he suffers from type 2 diabetes which the Tube’s own Occupational Health department admit can lead to a false reading on a breathalyser, making it appear that someone had alcohol in their system when they’d not been drinking. LUL could have tested his urine sample which is used to look for substances other than alcohol but instead they’ve sacked him on the basis of the flawed breathalyser evidence.
Obviously RMT are fighting his corner but if management follow their usual policy of pig-headed inflexibility then we could see a strike on the Northern Line sometime before the end of the year. We could see one over on the Piccadilly Line a lot sooner; RMT are holding a strike ballot over “cross line working” although I have no idea exactly what that means or whether ASLEF are also in dispute. It certainly seems that at this moment a lot of TOps on a lot of lines are not happy bunnies.