RMT Equalities Report - May 2015

In this Newsletter:

  • Fit for the Future = More Inequality
  • Inequality of pay and power
  • Location / Displacements
  • Part - time staff
  • Workforce density
  • Destaffing and lone working
  • Rosters and worklife balance
  • Abolition of seated roles
  • What can we do about it?
  • What about equality issues for passengers?

London Underground’s Fit for the Future policy will widen inequalities between staff. Starting with stations, this juggernaut will roll on to other grades if we do not resist it.This leaflet is a report from RMT representatives on the Company Council Sub-Group, which discusses the policy’s Equality Impact Assessment (EqIA). It shows how Fit for the Future - Stations affects equalities issues.Widening inequality is bad for all of us. Some groups of staff already experience discrimination and now face more. But inequality affects you whether or not you are part of one of those groups.When inequality deepens, it weakens our ability to work together in unity - both in our jobs and in standing up for our rights. And although you may not be disabled, old, or have caring responsibilities now, you may do in the future.

LUL has admitted that
x staff with medical restrictions were less likely to get their desired outcome in the Location Matters process.
x your caring responsibilities were not part of its process for deciding your location. Although LUL asked us to declare our caring responsibilities on the preference form, it disregarded this when deciding our location outcomes.

Fit for the Future - Stations will:
● widen the pay gap on stations, with a new, lower-paid CSA2 grade at the bottom of the pay ladder and higher-paid managers at the top
● turn supervisors into managers, giving disciplinary power to some station staff over others for the first time; bullying and harassment can be worse when one person has power over the other
● require staff to do work that is currently done by higher-paid grades (eg. CSAs selling tickets at POMs, CSSs covering CSM meal breaks)
This will create division and widen inequality at work, to the detriment of staff and of teamworking.

The Location Matters exercise has:
● not included part-time staff (see below)
● not included fixed-term full-time staff, many of whom are young people who can not find affordable housing because of their insecure employment
● not even considered staff’s caring responsibilities, despite asking about this on the form (this will be covered in the review process)
● refused to consider staff caring responsibility for non-disabled dependents
● located many staff far from the dependents they look after, making it impossible to carry out caring responsibilities
● increased travelling time, making life harder especially for disabled staff and carers
● made journeys to work more complex, leaving staff more vulnerable to harassment or assault while travelling

Many of LUL's part-time station staff care for dependents, are disabled, are approaching retirement or are young people studying at college. There is a far more equal proportion of women and men among part-time staff than among full-timers.
The Fit for the Future - Stations process has:
● not yet allowed part-timers to express a preference as to where they work
● initially denied weekday part-time SAMFs/SCRAs the chance to apply for promotion to CSS that was offered to full-timers and weekend part-timers
● now advertised weekday part-time CSS posts (after RMT raised the issue), but with an advertisement implying that they could be a mixture of early and late turns, which is not suitable for the needs of most weekday part-time staff
● not matched the number of part-time posts in new grades to those in current grades; in particular, there appear to be no part-time CSM posts
● produced draft schematics/ rosters which scrap some part-time posts, with their work being taken over by full-time posts.
This has caused part-time staff anxiety and insecurity, gives part-time staff less time to make adjustments to eg. childcare, travel or housing arrangements, and raises fears that they will be used to fill gaps and displaced to unsuitable locations, spending almost as much time travelling to work as actually working!
The plans as they currently stand will force some part-time staff off the job.

London Underground’s workforce does not reflect the diversity of London (see box). These aspects of Fit for the Future - Stations could make these figures even worse:
● forced displacements, more anti-social rosters and new, more ‘active’ job roles could prevent disabled or medically-restricted people carrying out their new roles
● the absence of any measures to assist staff with caring responsibilities to stay in work while juggling other commitments
● the reduction in the overall number of part-time positions
● the likelihood of women being concentrated in the lowest-paid stations grades.
LU needs to provide us with its projection of the diversity of each grade under Fit for the Future – Stations.

● Lone working will increase as a result of staff reductions.
● Moreover, closure of ticket offices and reduced numbers of staff available are likely to lead to customer frustration and more assaults.
● We have asked for a breakdown of ‘hot spots’ for staff assault where lone working takes place, showing how many members of staff have been subject to assault on the basis of gender, disability, ethnicity, sexuality etc.
● Management suggest that ‘training in conflict avoidance’ is a mitigation for staff facing assault on the basis of an equalities characteristic. We do not accept that this is relevant or appropriate. You can not train someone to not be sexually assaulted, to not be racially abused, or to not be the target of homophobic attack.

● Fit for the Future – Stations will result in an overall increase in the proportion of shifts at weekends and other anti-social times, especially for CSSs and CSMs. This will particularly impact on people with caring responsibilities, and on disabled staff.
● Increased weekend working has a particularly detrimental effect on parents who do not live with their children and who rely on weekends to see them. Most of these are men. One survey showed that the group with the highest level of dissatisfaction with work-life balance is young fathers.
● SAMFs are being forcibly displaced to CSS positions. Many SAMFs never applied for SS positions because night working was incompatible with their arrangements.

● It will be difficult for some staff to move to non-seated roles (eg. SAMF to CSS). This may prevent some disabled staff from continuing in their work, and will make it more difficult to accommodate the needs of pregnant women.
● Management have admitted that where a member of staff can not carry out their new role at their current location due to medical restrictions, they have simply moved them elsewhere rather than considering changes to the station to allow them to carry on working there.
● This also impacts on future staff - both new recruits and existing staff who develop disabilities or medical conditions. Thus, ‘looking after’ existing staff is not enough.
● We would like LU to provide us with a breakdown of the number of people with disabilities or medical restrictions who have been placed in positions compatible with their health. Has anyone not been accommodated?

What can we do about it?
Defend every job. RMT has taken industrial action to stop job cuts. Anti-social rosters, displacements, lone working, more work for less pay - all these issues are rooted in LUL’s attempts to run with fewer people.
Fight for medically-restricted staff. RMT’s strike call last September forced LUL to commit to place all medically-restricted staff in a role. Now, RMT is ensuring LUL honours that. We are also demanding that medically-restricted staff are not penalised with less choice over location than others.
Fight for better rosters. RMT has demanded better rosters from LUL eg. a guaranteed weekend off every four weeks. We will only achieve this if we fight for more staff.
Use the law. Some people are thinking of leaving the job as new locations do not suit their circumstances. Do not leave quietly. Talk to your rep. RMT may take legal cases against constructive dismissal or discrimination.
Campaign with the public. Disabled passengers and charity Transport For All have protested against staff cuts. RMT briefed disability campaigners on the impact of staff cuts on access. RMT has worked with the Hands off London Transport campaign and can work with London Assembly members, MPs and the media.

Your RMT representatives on the EqIA Company Council Sub-Group are:
Janine Booth
Becky Crocker
Debbie French
Glen Hart
Paul Penny
You can contact them at equalities@rmtlondoncalling.org.uk

Fit for the Future Equalities Report