LUL have made a big thing over “demands” for a four day week but there has been very little explanation of what they are actually asking for. There seem to be several ideas on “flexible” working, one idea is to condense our 35 hours a week over four days rather than five, another is working a four day 28 hour week at 80% of our current salary but this would only be for those who wanted to work this way and most importantly it would only happen where there are enough volunteers at a depot to make it viable.
Surprisingly for all the fuss they’re making about this LUL say they have no objection to the idea of a four day week, the reason they offer for being unable to guarantee it at this time is that it would take months to ask staff what they wanted and then sort out the details. This is laughable as that is exactly what is being proposed regarding how Night Tube will be run after the “interim period”, if management are going to ask us whether we want part-timers or “fixed links” then why on earth can’t they ask us if we want a four day week at the same time?
The other major sticking point is how Night Tube will be staffed during the interim period, the unions want it to be completely voluntary with extra money dangled as the carrot to attract volunteers while management say that if there aren’t enough volunteers to cover all the duties then some who don’t want to work nights will have to. This is currently the situation with Boxing Day, last year the £300 extra failed to get enough volunteers and those who’d been in the grade the shortest time – including myself with 12 years as a TOp – had to work when we’d rather have stayed at home.
The unions certainly aren’t going to agree to another situation where people who don’t want to work nights are going to find themselves in the cab of a train at 3am on a Saturday morning and if management aren’t confident that £200 per shift is going to be a big enough carrot then obviously they need a bigger carrot but they say they can’t afford any more. And so we are at stalemate with neither side willing to budge and management insisting that until there is an agreement on Night Tube there will be no pay rise.
What management seem to have missed is that for me a 2% pay rise – actually 1% with a £500 lump sum for Night Tube – translates as about £50 after tax per month and I’m sure that like myself the vast majority of my colleagues are prepared do without our pay rise rather than accept a deal detrimental to our working lives. In 2009 it took 14 months to settle the pay deal and inflation was a lot higher then than it is now, we’ve got nothing to gain by accepting the current offer and we can wait until LUL come up with a better plan or abandon the whole idea.
On Friday we had a one under at MIE around 12:30, we resumed running around 14:30 but things were still a mess for the evening peak as some trains had been stabled to reduce congestion. Between 18:00 and 18:30 there were no trains to WER from WHC, everything either went to EAB, NOA or reversed at WHC. This was attributed to “timetable constraints”, I’m sure someone somewhere could explain what these constraints were but I have no idea and I’m reasonably sure that the station staff left to deal with the disgruntled passengers unable to get home from work had no idea either.