RMT produces newsletter on Bakerloo detrainment dispute

Click on the attachment to see an RMT newsletter on the Bakerloo detrainment dispute. Main stories follow:

RMT suspends Bakerloo action

RMT on Thursday 21st of March agreed to suspend the Bakerloo detrainment action. While noting that progress had been made since the initial introduction of ‘flash and dash’, LU’s proposals fully accepted by ASLEF, fell short of the union’s aspirations for a proper detrainment policy that would be acceptable elsewhere on the combine.
Further, the union is concerned that this new ‘flash and peep’ procedure, whereby a member of staff walks down the train looking through the windows of the train, is not as thorough and robust as a normal method of detrainment and passengers may be missed and over carried into the sidings.
The union’s General Grades Committee also raised the following concerns:
• the use of the butterfly cock to open and close doors as a matter of procedure may be inappropriate;
• the term ‘uniformed (where appropriate) and licensed staff’ in LUL’s letter suggests a possible intention to use non-uniformed staff eg. ICSAs;
• being trapped in a train prior to release may be distressing for passengers, and that distress may lead to verbal or physical assault of our members;
• there is no indication that the lost station staff jobs will be restored in order to carry out this procedure.
The RMT therefore does not accept the new procedure as a settlement of this matter, and remains in dispute with LUL. All drivers are reminded that under the terms of the ASLEF / LU arrangement drivers should tip out trains themselves if no staff are available. Moreover that ICSAs are not ‘appropriately licensed’ for this work and therefore should an ICSA rather than a member of uniformed staff be on the platform, the driver is to manually detrain in line with the new procedure.
All members are reminded that our ballot mandate remains live, and we can put the action - or a new form of action on - as and when appropriate.

DETRAINMENT: an issue for station staff too

We used to have station staff to carry out detrainments. When LUL imposed its ‘flash and dash’ procedure, it got rid of station staff jobs.
There is a job that needs doing, and people who are willing to do that job – but management have sacrificed this on the altar of saving money.
Our drivers have been battling for a safe detrainment procedure and made some progress. You can read elsewhere in this newsletter why the new procedure is still not acceptable. One concern is that LUL may send ICSAs to the stations to do the work. But ICSAs are not fully-qualified station staff, and their presence doing station staff work undermines our jobs.
Remember, RMT has ongoing industrial action that Stations Supervisors should only deploy ICSAs (or Travel Ambassadors, or whatever else management might call them ) on the unpaid side of the barrier only. Do not let ICSAs work on the platforms! You are protected in doing this by your union’s industrial action instruction.
The battle for a proper detrainment procedure is a battle for station staff as well as drivers. RMT is holding local meetings for members to discuss how to take this campaign forward. At those meetings, all grades can discuss together what action we are willing and able to take.

It was LU who were on the ropes, so why did ASLEF break ranks?

The joint RMT/ASLEF detrainment dispute has been the most effective action short of strike on the Tube for some time, possibly ever. Drivers’ resolve took LU by surprise and had a major impact on the service. Just by manually tipping out, our joint action caused daily cancellations and a 15%+ service reduction. Every day drivers were getting trips off: the mood and solidarity was infectious as drivers knew the action was solid.
The standing joke was the announcements of a good service or minor delays on the Bakerloo line. Passengers vented their fury at LU’s misinformation, tweeting about their frustrations at the service.
So with action so effective, why did ASLEF agree a procedure that would not be acceptable on any other line?
From the outset this dispute was led by the Trains Functional Council and Executive members from both unions. The Bakerloo ASLEF branch played no role in building it, as shown by the poor result in ASLEF’s ballot. RMT led this campaign with RMT and ASLEF members acting in solidarity on the ground. RMT members produced the publicity, drafted the joint RMT/ASLEF notices, designed and produced the joint RMT/ASLEF leaflets for the public.
The Bakerloo ASLEF branch, normally compliant with management, was put in a position foreign to their normal ways. For them it didn’t compute that they were involved in an effective action alongside RMT. For them, their role is to work through disputes and organise against RMT action, not be part of it. (Remember their request to their General Secretary for a letter instructing drivers to cross picket lines during the Eamonn Lynch dispute.)
The first sign that they were inclined to ‘snatch defeat from the jaws of victory’ was when the ‘security guard’ proposal first raised its head, reportedly cobbled together between Bakerloo
ASLEF and LU ASLEF activists were lined up first thing the next morning to carry out a ‘referendum’ on the proposal, ‘selling’ the option as a way forward and angering many drivers by their willingness to capitulate. ASLEF TFC turned over this proposal the following Monday morning, leaving egg on the face of the Bakerloo people.
So it was no surprise that ASLEF broke ranks and bit off LU’s hands to sign up to this procedure. But their attempt to muddy the waters in the run-up to the ACAS talks on 19 March was shocking. ASLEF activists said their dispute was not about winning jobs for the sacked 33 Trainpeople workers. Of course, RMT has been campaigning for jobs for the sacked agency staff. And both unions made the point in the ‘Over Your Dead Body’ leaflet: ‘We have tried to persuade London Underground to bring back the station staff it got rid of, to carry out the checks without delaying the service. There are 33 laid-off agency workers who want to work for London Underground and can do this work.’
But now there is a new low. ASLEF’s newsletter following their settlement states: ‘For ASLEF this [dispute] was not about the 33 Agency Staff or about bringing back the delays caused by them.’ This is libellous. Even if you think that station staff detraining caused delays (which we don’t), to blame the agency staff specifically, when it was directly-employed LU station staff who did this work, is ignorant, discriminatory and outrageous.
ASLEF’s capitulation was evident at ACAS. Even ACAS officers expressed surprise that the two unions were in separate rooms, and that ASLEF and LU spent the day discussing a document not shown to RMT.
Drivers on the line are right to be angry at ASLEF’s role. While London Underground’s dishonesty during this dispute must not be forgotten, neither must ASLEF’s willingness to capitulate when we were winning.

Stood down for carrying out safety procedures!

LU is persecuting Bakerloo driver Jayesh Patel for acting in the interests of safety.
On 31 January, RMT young member and activist Jayesh asked for assisted dispatch at Oxford Circus and Baker Street northbound platforms. Both platforms were dangerously overcrowded. Management then instructed Jay to tip out at Marylebone and run empty to Queens Park, creating more overcrowding and delays!
Management then instructed him to attend a location away from his home depot for a fact-finding interview. This turned into a Gestapo-style interrogation where Jayesh was denied the right to ask questions, have physical needs breaks, and even to go home after his booking-off time.
Adding insult to injury, LU stood him down, with no end in sight to get Jayesh back to driving duties.
RMT had hoped that this matter would be resolved at a fact finding interview on Thursday 21 March (the first time LU has formally asked to see him since the original incident), but unbelievably denied him a trade union rep at this meeting.
LU has taken Jayesh as a hostage in our detrainment dispute. LU has ‘form’ when it comes to victimising RMT members and that this is the real motivation behind the outrageous treatment of Jayesh.
RMT’s General Grades Committee has already agreed to enter into dispute with LU over its treatment of our member and to prepare for an industrial action ballot of all our driver members on the combine.
RMT Bakerloo branch has a proud record of fighting for members facing disciplinaries for breaching safety procedures. Now it seems that we have to fight for members who apply the correct procedures. Either way, if necessary, fight we will.