Friday 21 December 2012

In case anyone missed it Rich S left a comment on my last post and this bit stood out.

Personally, I'm not sure that management don't care. In a former life, I used to have to deal with trade union representatives and on the whole I found them to be confrontational and ready at the drop of a hat to cause aggravation. The purpose of them I thought was to look after the best interest of their members.

I often wonder how so many people accept the likes of Bob Crow et al as their representative. Most are forced to for fear of intimidation.”

Shall we recap…..

2010.  Management declare that as Boxing Day is on a Sunday it is a normal working day and we will be running a full Sunday service with half the TOps working where previously we only used 1 in 4.  They refuse to talk until November despite repeated requests from ASLEF to discuss the issue.  We go on strike.

2011. Boxing Day is on a weekday so we’re back down to 1 in 4 but management still refuse to negotiate the issue until November and then say there is nothing to discuss.  We go on strike but call off the three additional days when LUL promise “meaningful talks” that never materialise.

2012, Boxing Day is on a weekday, 1 in 4 again, management refuse to talk until November, blah, blah, blah.....

Is that management "caring" and ASLEF being “confrontational”?

When I was on stations I was a health and safety rep and with a few notable exceptions I found management to be ignorant, complacent and uninterested. Most of the issues I raised at meetings had already been brought to management’s attention by my members, their employees, and only came to me when they failed to deal with them.  I tried to look out for my members’ interests when they displayed indifference and quite possibly they viewed me as “confrontational” for doing so.

Bob Crow got to be where he is because the RMT membership voted him in and since becoming Gen Sec the membership has risen from around 50,000 to over 80,000 so whatever he’s doing appeals to transport workers across the UK.  Or did they join RMT through “intimidation”?

The ASLEF members voted for strike action, about 10 to 1 in favour, no one twisted our arms.  Actually I just discovered I didn’t vote at all, I’ve just found the envelope in my pocket, I must have been so zonked out on painkillers I forgot to post it.  Whoops.

Thursday 20 December 2012

I’ve not been well, I have been off work taking medication and I’ve simply not felt like writing recently.  As with the last two years around half of our members voted with 1040 in support and 116 against.  As with last year in addition to a strike on Boxing Day ASLEF have called for extra days, only two in January rather than last year’s three.  No doubt these will also get called off when LUL promises to hold “meaningful talks” which no doubt will fail to materialise and we’ll go through the same sorry process next November.

Management don’t care, their jobs are safe, the press don’t question their press releases so why should they bother to do anything.  If the people running the Tube don’t care, if they have so little regard for their passengers and employees, why should I give a damn?  I think I've had enough of 2012, I might be back in 2013 but right now I'm just too tired for any of this.
Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Thursday 6 December 2012

Very cold out with snow on the ground at the east end of the line but otherwise uneventful apart from the gentleman who had obviously had a good night out, either at a Bill Bailey look-a-like contest or an after production party for extras from “The Hobbit”.   He stumbled off the train at FAI with the immediately recognisable look of someone who had no idea where they were and did a complete 180 degree spin before staggering off towards the exit.  That pirouette would have been impressive on its own but with the addition of his long beard trailing in the air like some hairy streamer it achieved a level of artistic grace.
Sad news that Dave Brubeck has passed on.  He grew up on a cattle ranch in California and originally was going to become a vet before switching to music at college.  After graduating in 1942 he was drafted and while serving under Patton in Europe formed the US Army’s first mixed race jazz band.  On his return to the US continued to oppose racial segregation and in 1958 refused to tour South Africa when asked to do so with an all-white band. 

In 1959 his quartet recorded the Cool Jazz masterpiece “Time Out”, the first jazz album to sell over a million copies and when “Take Five” was released as a single it reached no. 25 on the Billboard chart.  Quite possibly you’ve heard “Take Five” without knowing it was Brubeck but if you’ve never listened to “Time Out” then go forth and educate yourself.

And on the subject of music a quick plug for Nadean and Christopher’s “open deck” night at The Star on Bethnal Green Road; vinyl only, turn up, put your name down, wait your turn and play your five tracks.  Turn up early enough and you might get to hear some 80s/90s indie classics spun by some train drive fellow before he heads off to work……..

Wednesday 5 December 2012

The word around the depots is that we could be getting up to 70 new TOps on the Central Line which will help as for two nights in a row I’ve been finishing off LOU duties and ending up in the sidings at WOO. On both duties the trains stable early enough for the TOps to get an EB train back to LOU to book off but not for us to catch the WB last train to LES and both nights the DTSM at LOU had to be reminded that they needed to book a taxi otherwise we’d be stranded at WOO.

That however is nothing compared to Sunday night when WHC were asking for the night spare to be sent over so they could take a train into the sidings from the platform, a whole 3 minutes driving plus walking time back to the station, and then get a taxi all the way back across town. There are times when I’m glad that I just drive a train and have no involvement in managerial decisions, I think my mind might melt under the strain.

Last night when I reached WOO and was closing up there was a gentleman on the rear car who was very unwilling to leave the train. For a long time all he was prepared to say was  that he was fine and that he’d had a good night, something that was perfectly obvious to anyone. He then switched from this mantra, declaring that he was trying to get to Southgate and demanded that he be taken home. Eventually he announced that he was at fault, got to his feet with a little assistance and staggered off towards the exit. Christmas is going to be fun…

I received my ballot paper for Boxing Day, the result will be announced in a little under two weeks but there doesn’t seem to be much hope of anything getting sorted. Management seem to be sticking to their tactic of appealing directly to the very same TOps who voted overwhelmingly to go on strike the last two years while ASLEF wait for LUL to negotiate. Sadly I get the feeling that I could be writing something very similar on this blog in a year’s time.