Tuesday 28 January 2014

Unsurprisingly TSSA voted for strike action so it is possible that from noon on 4th February until noon on 6th February all station staff will stop booking on, which means that while stations will be open on Tuesday morning they might start shutting down from around 3pm with nothing open on Wednesday and Thursday.  It will simply be a question of how many staff decide to ignore the strike and how many office wallahs LUL can persuade to step into the gaps.

To make things even more difficult the DLR will be on strike over the same days, well done Serco and TfL for allowing that situation to reach crisis point at exactly the same time.  However it does seem that the RMT TOps will not be joining the strike so we’ll all be there, we just might not be able to stop the trains anywhere.  I don’t know what the situation is regarding Control Room or Technical staff but if they are coming out too that could make things very complicated.

LUL have trotted out the usual line that they are prepared to discuss things if RMT and TSSA call off the strike which begs the obvious question of why they didn’t feel it necessary to consult with the unions before announcing their plans .  Sadly the obvious answer is that as far as LUL are concerned there is nothing to discuss, they know full well that any reduction to staff numbers will be rejected by the unions but LUL will proceed with their master plan despite objections, just as they did three years ago.

So passengers will struggle, staff won’t get paid for the days they fail to show up, Boris and the rest will bellow about the unions, management will carry on regardless in the secure knowledge that there is absolutely no threat to their jobs and I am so, so glad I got out of stations when I did.

Addenda 18:18

Okay I’ve re-read the thing on the RMT website and I’ve made a bit of an error.  Station staff will stop working at noon on 4th February and not start again until noon on 6th February while RMT TOps will not book on for duties between those hours.  That's what you get for trying to write a blog post while making lunch and hanging out the washing.

Addenda 18:40

As someone pointed out the strikes will now run from 9pm until 9pm.   I should take this post down and start again but frankly I just can't be arsed.


  1. And if three consecutive 'section 12' stations are closed, you can't carry passengers over that section of the line, right?

  2. I'm assuming that the reason RMT have moved the strike action start from midday to 21:00 is to make it harder/less desirable for the stations to be manned by office workers etc?

  3. That "three stations" rule is a fallacy, it certainly isn't in the current Rule Book or the 1990 Rule Book. It might have been in the Working/Reference Manual that was used in the interregnum between these two but certainly doesn't apply now. If passengers had to evacuate through a closed station on a strike day it would no different to doing this if it was closed for any other reason (e.g. a Sunday).

  4. "I should just take this post down and start again but frankly I just can't be arsed." I really wouldn't worry, I think you get the point across perfectly fine and it captures the sadly predictable, and yet still slightly bamboozling situation nicely :P

  5. cue all the ignorant comments in the streets, Facebook, Twitter etc about greedy overpaid drivers who want more and are holding London to ransom blah blah

  6. I'm not into ignorant comments and for once I realise its not the drivers who are proposing to bring London to a possible standstill.

    I'm desperately trying to see the justification for this strike (from a commuters point of view) and think I've got that the proposal is to shut all ticket officees, OK not brilliant, but even I as a disabled person can see the ticket offices are lightly used.

    What I'm struggling to understand is the unions issue about jobs. Now I might be reading too much into LULs bosses going no compulsory redundancies, etc, but if they are saying there is a job there for everybody who wants one and is prepared to be flexible, I'm struggling to see the issue.

    Or, is LULs idea of flexibility and the inions (sorry Bob Crow's) idea slightly different, and Bob doesn't like his idea not being taken on board.

  7. I too, like Anon (29/01 20:17) fail to see why the strike is happening, Staff will be deployed on the front line instead of behind a wall. They will still be able to help sell tickets at the TVMs as they do currently. Every other system seems to manage without ticket offices so why is London Underground so special? Staff aren't being forced to leave, if everyone stays then everyone would stay, but IIRC the majority of the 800 staff they are losing are going to be retiring and then there will be others moving on to new positions such as T/Ops.

    1. what you may or may not be aware of is that at the present time, existing ticket office staff will be brought out to the gate line to assist with the purchase of tickets and be graded as a CSA1, with protected earnings for 3 years. Along with the proposals is the introduction of a new grade called CSA2. The new grade is a much lower paid position and these new grades will not be safety critically trained. In laymans terms, they will be working on the unpaid side of the gateline and will not be able to assist customers with special needs, assalts on platforms, recovering lost property off the track... etc..... This new grade will simply be there as information and directions.
      The main concern for most safety critical tube workers is that eventually the safety trained staff will fizzle out being replaced with the new grade. Station supervisors on stations that are currently in charge of the maintaining of service and safety will be moved to being mobile and will run 3 or more stations and changed to manager grade which will dramically increase response time as the staff that will be on the stations simply wont be qualified to help those customers with speific needs.
      The new proposals cannot promote the level of safety and security that the existing structure currently does.......


      "What I'm struggling to understand is the unions issue about jobs. Now I might be reading too much into LULs bosses going no compulsory redundancies, etc, but if they are saying there is a job there for everybody who wants one and is prepared to be flexible, I'm struggling to see the issue"

      As from the point of view as a staff member, those who have families and mortgages a 10k pay cut for those that are not "Selected" for the new manager grade is an issue.

    2. In order to achieve this plan, LU have to give notice of redundancy to every member of staff on specific pay grades. A LOT of pay grades. A LOT of letters. I've had it happen to me twice when I was working somewhere else. You have to apply for a post in the new structure. Do you understand how utterly, utterly demoralising and terrifying it is to be basically told that you're out of work as of this date and then you are invited to pick posts to reapply to in the new structure? 9 times out of 10 the new jobs are significantly different and lower paid.
      I was being paid £28k and applied for 1 of 1 posts at £60k along with 12 others, 1 of 3 posts at £28k along with 20 others and I refused to apply for 1 of 20 posts at £17k along with 37 others. I left that employer. It was the most unstable, frightening period of my career. Two children and a wife to support, and two years before I'd been through a similar thing at the same place where I was lucky to get a post going up from £24k to £26k, but in return I had six times the number of staff underneath me and now had to work across multiple sites without the ability to claim travel expenses for day-to-day operations. In order to get the job, I had to devise new teaching plans, present the proposals four times to two different selection committees... It was hard work.
      And now they are doing this to literally thousands of people. The reason the numbers joining the union are shooting up isn't down to Bob Crow, it's down to TfL and LU management. They are the best recruiters for RMT and TSSA. And all these highest paid grades are getting bonuses and gold plated pensions etc etc. They're putting into play a plan which hasn't even been dry-tested, let alone had a field trial anywhere on the network. They did try running a few CSAs as roughly what a CSA2 will be doing a couple of years ago, but that was WITH ticket offices still open. From what I heard they were OK about how it worked, but the job was boring and repetitive, presented no challenge or variety and the only upside was that they were working a Mon-Fri 9-5 instead of doing shifts ranging from a 5am start to a 2am finish.

    3. If everyone decided to stay the system couldn't absorb nearly 1000 jobs as there aren't the positions available elsewhere in LU. The NO COMPULSORY REDUNDANCIES (Boris Johnson's capitals, today's Telegraph blog) is a nonsense because if you don't get a job in the reshuffle you are moved to the TFL Redundancy Pool and after 12 weeks they get rid of you anyway. I should add I believe that there is no holistic approach in this Pool, you basically have access to the TFL intranet, vacancy list, pen & paper etc, and are then made to get on with it. When I looked last week there was only one 'Operating' job listed, the majority of others being graduate training/development schemes, engineering disciplines, IT, civil service-type work. There was nothing I could have applied for after 36 years in the Railway Operating Department!

  8. For me the question remains, with all these changes (change of job titles and job responsibilities, employees having to reapplying for their own jobs, interviews etc ) and when you factor in the cost of the recently announced night tube (and costs it entails) how much will they be really ‘shaving; off of their budget???
    And how much value will paying customers receive for their buck? Will they see frozen ticket prices {unlikely} or reduction in travel costs? Probably not.
    But yet the top brass will continue to receive their HUGE bonuses (see http://www.mayorwatch.co.uk/tfl-bosses-pocket-2-5m-bonus-windfall/201325929 )
    Now granted some ticket offices are very dead and closing them may make some financial sense but having only six super ticket offices open is crazy, if you’ve ever been to Baker Street or any other large station the ticket office ques are always long. Lots of tourists needing help and I’ve seen having someone at the ticket counter is sometimes alot faster than the customer ticket machines.

    LU need to manage all their wasteful spending *cough* contracters *cough* Bombardier etc

  9. Remember that T/Ops were promised driving jobs in the cab "for life" by MB as long as they were prepared to be "flexible". We now see what such "flexibility" actually means in practice. Though following the SSL re-signalling fiasco I suspect he (and DB) are on borrowed time in any case - exit Stage Right pursued by a large golden handshake..