Thursday 22 January 2015

Meanwhile over on the “driverless” DLR RMT members have voted overwhelmingly to strike for 48 hours over terms and conditions.  The DLR used to be run by SERCO, the UK “outsourcing” corporation that also runs the Woolwich Ferry, Boris’s bike hire scheme and is responsible for speed camera systems in the UK but in December the DLR was taken over by a joint venture between Keolis and Amey.

Keolis is mostly owned by French state railway SNCF and has a 35% stake in Thameslink, Southern, Southeastern and London Midland, most of which bump around the bottom end of the passenger satisfaction tables.  Amey was one half of the late, unlamented Tube Lines set up by PPP and is a subsidiary of Spanish conglomerate Ferrovial which also owns Heathrow airport.  All of which illustrates just how much of our supposedly public transport network is now run by private and non-UK operators.

Under SERCO a dispute would arise every other year or so, RMT members would vote for strike action but things would get sorted without too much disruption, whether the change of management at the top will means a less compromising attitude remains to be seen.  The one thing I will say is that whether or not DLR staff go on strike they are not, repeat not “Train Captains”, they are “Passenger Service Agents”.   The title “Train Captains” was adopted from the Far East where it is used in Hong Kong and Singapore but was dropped by DLR as it does sound a bit silly.


  1. Hi, ASLEF shrugged,
    Received the circular today from HQ concerning ballot for strike action on the district line over Parsons green sidings.
    Could you fill me in on said dispute if possible,and why only ASLEF and not RMT?

    1. Hi. In answer to your question. A train operator finished duty in Parson Green sidings. Whilst walking out of the sidings along designated official walkways, the operator was tripped and resulted in a broken ankle. Upon investigation it was found the walkway was inadequate for space, lighting and poorly maintained (hence the "WAS tripped"). Remedial work has been done since investigation but it is still deemed to be unsafe by the membership. Trains can reverse via sidings but trains operators do not finish in the sidings, which would necessitate walking away from the train. This Management hash up is due to be resolved very soon. Cheers. A District Line colleague

  2. As the subtitle says "Observations and opinions of a Central Line Train Driver", I didn't know about any trouble on the District Line until you mentioned it. All I've been able to find so far is this...

  3. Just a late, pedantic, note that Serco lost the Woolwich Ferry contract. Since 2013 it's been run by Briggs Marine, who I think are Scottish. No idea if there are any visible changes on the ground as I moved away from Woolwich shortly afterwards (for entirely unrelated reasons I should add!)

  4. Cheers for your reply. Forgive my ignorance in assuming as you work on the underground you necessarily know everything that's going on.
    That's the like you asking me about a dispute in Wick that I should know about from Lime st.
    A faux pas on my part. But thanks for the links all the same

  5. Looks like the threatened action was a success.