Friday 8 April 2011

Spare again, more staff in than Tuesday but even so all the other spares were out and about when I booked on. After a couple of hours I was given a job; WER, HAI and back on the cushions. Nothing of note other than we were stepping up at WER again, for some reason a train had been taken out of service and was blocking one of the two platforms as there were no spare available to put it in the yard. There were a couple of “next platform and hold” calls while I was going back EB but the first was on the WB and the second a long way behind me, both were passenger-initiated so it looks as if London is still in a party mood and bugger Austerity!

I did a bit of checking and was surprised to discover that there are only 400 or so TOps on the Central Line, I had a vague idea there were about 600 when I moved over from stations and everyone I’ve talked to seems to agree with that estimate. I can also confirm that currently no one is training, all the IOps apart from the few running ATOR are driving trains alone. So how are we going to manage to run the extra services demanded for the Olympics?

Currently the Unions are in negotiation about this and other things but one of my colleagues had the pleasure of having our Line Manager in his cab earlier this week and he asked him how the talks were going. Now this is just a rumour at the moment and sadly LUL is a breeding ground for gossip but the Big Boss said that one plan under consideration was allowing us to work our Rest Days, paying us overtime rates and anyone who worked all 14 days would get an additional bonus.

As I said this is not official yet but I worked Rest Days when I was on stations and it’s common practise on the mainline rail. Up there it used to be that every Sunday was a Rest Day, all Sunday working was voluntary and at double pay. A couple of years ago one of the mainline TOCs decided to reduce the rate and then found themselves without a service as none of the drivers were prepared to work their Rest Day.

The obvious flaw with Rest Day working is that it will be voluntary so LUL are going to have to dangle a large enough carrot to ensure that they have enough TOps to fill all the trains. However it would mean that LUL wouldn’t have to train up extra TOps and then have them go into the pool and wait for natural wastage to thin our ranks again. I’ll keep you posted as and when I hear more.

My only other news is that I’ve finally got around to getting Clive some company, he now shares his tank with two more Carassius auratus auratus, a great deal smaller than him with names as yet to be decided. I just hope he doesn’t try to eat them.

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