LUL Rates of Pay and Conditions of Service Dispute

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This is RMT's Official circular regarding LUL - IR/334/09 dated 10th of November 2009, from General Secretary Bob Crow.

You will be aware that, following consultation with our representatives, RMT previously decided not to accept LUL’s pay offer and to commence a re-ballot of its LUL Membership for industrial action. I can confirm that our stand prompted Management to arrange a meeting yesterday with all the unions at ACAS.

LUL made a concession on the pay and conditions claim that RMT had put forward. RMT was the only union that had asked LUL in its pay claim for them to commit to making a definite job offer for staff facing medical termination. That was in November 2008. In other words, RMT requested that if someone failed LUL medical standards – often after many years of work on the underground – they would be able to have the offer of at least one job rather than face compulsory medical termination.

At yesterday’s meeting LUL made an offer in this area. Unfortunately their offer was aimed at splitting the unions rather than helping members with certain “disabilities”. Instead of responding to what RMT had actually put to them, management said they would make the definite job offer to train drivers only, and even this would be capped up to the first 25 Train Operators who apply in any single financial year. This offer was made to ASLEF before talking to the RMT even though it was an element of our claim.

So, in a bid to split the unions and divide Underground workers, LUL actually proposed an arrangement whereby if “Signaller Dave” and “Train Operator John” both develop weak hearing, or diabetes for example, Dave might be terminated but John would get a chance of a CSA job, unless he was diagnosed later in the year and was unlucky enough to be the 26th train operator needing redeployment that year!

At this stage, ASLEF then left the talks and it now seems likely they will accept the pay offer including this insane proposal for medical redeployment. RMT has insisted that all staff are treated fairly. The children of Dave should not suffer because he is in a different grade to John, and John’s kids shouldn’t lose out just because his place in the queue happens to be 26th. Talk about playing politics with peoples’ lives.

We are confident that staff will see though this and other tricks by LUL aimed at dividing unions and workers. At one stage LUL made a bodged attempt to pay the (miniscule) back pay to TSSA and non-members only. Now they have come up with this nonsense.

It has been the determination of RMT and its members that has achieved all the progress so far. We got the 5 year deal kicked into touch, got it improved slightly and now we have movement on our claim around medical termination. Only RMT and its members have been determined enough to make progress, which is why LUL are trying to find ways of trying to undermine us while rewarding other unions and non-members. Well none of this has worked.

RMT wrote to other unions asking for unity on the pay claims. Although we did not get positive replies, we are always ready to work together in the interests of our members. This is because when we say Unity is Strength we mean it.

There was therefore no way we could leave the ACAS talks with what was on the table the way that ASLEF and the other Unions had. We instead insisted that before we went anywhere, we wanted an assurance that there would be further and proper talks about our claim on the matter of a job offer for those facing medical termination to cover all staff and without an artificial cap of 25. We were successful in getting this insurance in writing and talks will now resume very shortly.

It remains our view that Underground workers deserve a pay rise that will at least keep up with the cost of living and that workers with years of experience shouldn’t be forced to leave the job. I will report further immediately after the next round of talks with management.

NOTE: You can read the text of the redeployment offer here.