• Get the latest stations news on your Ipad here
Staffing Concerns And Trade Union Involvement - An Open Letter To LUL Managing Director Mike Brown



Tuesday 27th February 2012

Mike Brown
Managing Director
London Underground Ltd

Dear Mike,

Hope this letter finds you well.


I would first like to remind you of the comments you made at the Fit for London event I attended on Feb 8th; I have copied and pasted these from the minutes on the intranet. These comments were made in relation to several questions regarding staffing levels, the current review on stations, the fact that LU had presented the OSP plans as a fait accompli and other problems related to the OSP.

“You will see there being much more interactive dialogue between us. You will see much more discussion at a local level and at every level across the organisation to ensure you get your input and your views put on board and also that will include the leadership of the trade unions. So, of course I'm determined to engage with everyone on these changes going forward. This is not... You know, as I said, you've got to start a change some where and I want to start it now."

Also in your introduction you said:

“I maybe a bit old fashioned but I believe in something called collective bargaining with the trade unions. Instead of presenting plans to the trade unions, we shall speak to the trade unions before any plan is even written” (Not verbatim)

After Fit for London, I spoke to you and made it clear that whilst RMT welcomed your comments, my experience as a representative in my day to day dealings with your managers was the complete opposite. You assured me that the way LU conduct changes and reviews would be exactly as you stated in Fit for London.

Over the past few months, there have been various meetings, bulletins and announcements regarding staffing concerns post-imposition of the OSP. There has also been a specific announcement relating to a review of five stations; Paddington, Earls Court, Kings Cross, Heathrow 123 and Euston.

Prior to an ad-hoc Stations and Revenue Control Safety Council meeting held on the 1st Feb 2012, I sent out an email to all Station Supervisors and Revenue Control Inspectors asking for specific examples of shortfalls in staffing numbers that have impacted on the day today running of their stations. The response was larger than expected. I picked at random 40 different examples and sent them over to council management.

On the day of the meeting, we asked 10 questions, backed up by evidence, and drew attention to four examples. For the purpose of this letter, please see the relevant questions and answers from LU regarding the staffing review:

(Q) How will/has this number been determined-what process will be looked at.
(A) The stations have been determined by management and the process is amanagement review.

(Q) How do you plan to consult and involve the Unions on the new staffing levels?
(A) The means by which any changes in staffing numbers are introduced will be the subject of consultation in the normal way.

The current staffing review is set to look at only five stations. Whilst this is welcome, you can see from the response copied above that this review is being undertaken by LU management with no Trade Union or staff involvement. RMT has not been asked to contribute even though RMT has consistently raised issues across the network. Even locally, having spoken to representatives at these locations, no consultation has taken place.

Why is it just these five stations? RMT fully agree that all five stations are chronically understaffed. I have personal experience of Kings Cross. However, there are dozens of other stations that are as understaffed, for example, the Bank/Monument complex or London Bridge. These stations have been ignored. I have been advised by several LU managers that, certainly for the moment, these five stations are the only stations being reviewed.

There is even a lack of transparency over who is carrying out this review.

Despite what you stated at Fit for London, the same old LU approach is being used for this current review. Management are making decisions on issues without fully consulting staff, local, council and Head Office representatives and often without explanation or justification. It is also my understanding that many of your GSMs and DSMs are raising these concerns at various line meetings and other forums and are also being ignored.

It is the genuine held belief of the Staff side of the Stations and Revenue Control Safety Council that unless the chronic staffing problems on London Underground are not addressed as a matter of urgency, the chance of a serious incident involving major injury or loss of life becomes inevitable.

Taking into consideration everything stated in this letter, the message you gave at Fit for London, the overwhelming evidence of inadequate staffing levels, the ambiguous nature ofthe review and our genuinely held belief that LU is heading for disaster; can I ask that you intervene to ensure that this review involves all relevant parties, will consider every station and will take into account the views of Staff and Trade Union officials before any final decision is made.

I will be sending out this letter to all Stations and Revenue operational staff and pledge to send out any reply you send, un-edited.

With regards

Ross Marshall

Staff Side Secretary, RMT

Stations and Revenue Control Safety Council