Friday 25 November 2011

We are getting very short of TOps. Yesterday I was spare but as soon as I’d walked in the DTSM was calling my name over the PA. Not only was I covering an unfilled duty but someone was running late with a flat tire and there were no other spares available. I ended up handing over one train on the WB while my next train was coming in on the EB.

I have a new leader, Mick Whelan of Willesden edged out Simon Weller from Brighton in the election to replace the lovely Keith Norman. TSSA also have a new Gen Sec, Manuel Cortes, who was the only candidate to be nominated. Over at RMT Uncle Bob will continue his rule for another 5 years as no one stood to oppose him. Manuel and Bob seem to get on rather well by all accounts so I wouldn’t be surprised if the next time there’s a dispute on stations you could see joint action by both unions.

Oddly it is exactly a year since TSSA and RMT called off their strikes over the ticket office closures. Since then there have been two one-day strikes by RMT TOps on the Northern and Bakerloo Lines in December and January but apart from those while there has been a fair amount of shouting and sabre rattling not a single day has been lost to industrial action by the RMT.

Remember how ASLEF went on strike last Boxing Day and I said that we were expecting to have talks on the subject? After 11 months of avoiding the issue LUL finally agreed to discuss our grievance at a meeting last Thursday. Unsurprisingly they still don’t see Boxing Day as anything special so once more we are balloting for strike action.

I will abstain, not out of apathy but because I won’t be working that week and somehow I don’t feel it’s right for me to vote for a strike when I won’t be losing a day’s pay for it.

Wednesday 23 November 2011

Sorry for the lack of posts over the last three weeks but I’ve been rather caught up with events outside LUL. Oh yes, we have a life beyond work, we don’t spend all our time wearing these daft uniforms.

Hopefully normal service will be resumed soon.

Tuesday 1 November 2011

“Setting back a train up to one car” basically means that if you go past a signal or platform by less than one car you can reverse the train. In the past we had to walk through the train and drive it in the wrong direction; if you stayed up front and stuck it into reverse you were sacked.

I’ll say that again, YOU WERE SACKED.

LUL have decided that something that TOps used to lose their job for doing is fine and dandy. It doesn’t matter if we can’t see what’s behind us, just back her up and carry on. This procedure has been in use on the Jubilee Line Extension since it opened but they have Platform Edge Doors so there’s no chance of anyone falling on the track behind you.

OSN no.101 says that if the train is setting back into a platform then the move will carried out by either using the in-cab CCTV or with a member of station staff on the platform at the rear of the train to “make announcements to customers” and “to pass messages from the controller to the train operator”. How you pass messages to someone who’s at the other end of a train isn’t explained.

As we have CCTV on the Central I could be asked to drive a train backwards into a platform with just my trusty, somewhat grainy, often flickery and fuzzy in-cab monitor to guide me . Somehow I can’t see myself doing that with a platform full of passengers.