Thursday 27 October 2011

As you’ve probably heard RMT are up in arms over changes to procedures so I thought it might be useful if I explained what they are.

The ominously titled “Operational Standards Notice No. 101”, subtitled “Getting ready for the Olympics”, has three changes. Apparently all TOps were meant to be given a briefing away from everything by an IOp or a manager and then allowed to ask questions. Instead there are tales of these simply being handed out when booking on or even being given to TOps while they were in the cab.

The least contentious change actually comes last; the re-categorisation of platforms. All platforms are either Category A or Category B, on Category B you can clearly see the entire length of the platform and the train from the door of the cab while obviously on Category A you cannot. If the CCTV fails on a Category B TOps can close the doors while stood in the cab door, check that no one is stuck in them and move off, on a Category A they have to get assistance from a member of station staff to dispatch the train.

Up until now all platforms on the Central Line (and some others) had been Category A, I have no idea why this was decided but someone has been very busy and now blue stickers with a white A or B have appeared by the headwall of every platform.

While I have no problem with this particular rule change it’s pretty obvious that this is being brought in due to the drastic cuts to station staff numbers. RMT don’t like it because they represent station staff along with TOps (and anyone working in transport) and removing the need for the extra body on the platform means less potential members paying £17.12 a month

In case you were wondering ASLEF is £24.39 for anyone earning £31k or over; you get what you pay for, I prefer a union tailor-made for train drivers rather than a “one size fits all”. You can tell I worked in menswear in the 80s; Ooooo, Sir! Suits you, Sir!

The only concern is when this situation arises at a Category B during the peak and the sheer number of bodies on the platform make it impossible to see the other end of the train. If I ever find myself in that position then I will refuse to move on the grounds of health and safety no matter what the Line Controller says. They can try to sack me if they want but the law and ASLEF will be on my side.

Enough for now, I’ll tackle the other two procedure changes later along with the hoo-ha over driverless trains and the possibility of industrial action over two RMT TOps that LUL are refusing to reinstate. Déjà vu?

Wednesday 12 October 2011

Apologies for not writing but matters outside work have needed my attention. Not much has happened worth reporting and I’m currently re-doing my licence, tucked away from the daily grind at sunny HAI.

Wednesday 5 October 2011

The rumour mill continues to grind, the news that we were to expect 27 new TOps has now been replaced with the story that the training has been cancelled and they’ve all been sent back to stations. I’ve also heard that all the TOps who had been seconded to various depots as trainee managers are to be recalled and put back on the line. Just as well as Wednesday we had 16 duties uncovered and 12 trains cancelled.

Tuesday 4 October 2011

Despite what the papers say I will not be making £50k this year.

The deal is a 5% rise which will bring us up to £44.5k and then which ever is greater of RPI + 0.5% or 2% for the next three years. Sadly I lack the Daily Mail’s crystal ball because I don’t know what RPI is going to be in February or beyond but over the last year various financial institutions have forecast that it will be anywhere between 1.2% and 5.7% with opinion on 2012 and 2013 equally varied.

If we got the 2% for the rest of the pay deal we’d be on £47.3k the next time unions and management start all this palaver again. Admittedly we do get more than some train drivers on the mainline but we are still behind others, Arriva Cross Country are currently on £48.7k, Eurostar on £49.5k, Virgin West Coast £49.6k, and East Coast Mainline £50.8k. And they have guards on their trains while we have to do both jobs.

The deal was done after a meeting at ACAS where both sides accepted their recommendations; how that constitutes the unions “blackmailing London” is beyond me.

Other than that we suffered a small degree of late running but no major incidents on Tuesday though it felt decidedly odd starting work at 9am and then going home around 5pm.

Sunday 2 October 2011

A slight dampener to the news that we will be getting more TOps as I heard on Friday that there are quite a few retirement parties planned for the end of the year at HAI depot; LUL giveth and LUL taketh away again.

Another bit of sorry news is that the planned refurbishment of the 92s for the Olympics is not going smoothly. The cars were to be repainted and then a special anti-graffiti film applied but the film peels off when doors open and close. I was also told a few weeks back that they had run out of the new blue material for the seating. While I admit that all these might just be unfounded rumours they are sadly only too believable where LUL is concerned.