Strategy Proposal For Fighting Job Cuts And Attacks On Tube Driver Conditions

As I understand it, the main current issues facing drivers are:

  • a clampdown on discipline and attendance
  • LUL refusing to confirm that Met line T/Ops only will operate the S7 train on the Met line
  • plans to deploy I/Ops on lines other than their own and/or to cross-train other lines' T/Ops or
    I/Os as occurred on the Met line
  • new drivers being repeatedly moved from depot to depot
  • the possible development of a pool of drivers covering a larger area than just one depot, or
    even one line
  • possible use of the new S stock as a pretext for deploying drivers across all the sub-surface
  • removal of physical detrainment before taking trains into sidings or depots (Bakerloo,
    Central, Jubilee, Victoria lines)
  • while LUL says it has no immediate plans to test driverless trains, it continues to research
    possibilities and to commission/develop the technology required
  • management using Upgrades to circumvent the machinery of negotiation/consultation

I am sure that there are other issues, particularly local ones eg. Acton/Northfields, ongoing Victoria
line dispute, Northern line TBTC training, Arnos Grove and so on.

It seems to me that all these are pointing in the same direction: increased automation +
deploying train staff over a wider area + regime of fear --> future cuts in jobs and conditions.
So, as well as pursuing each individual issue, it seems to me that we should also treat them as what
they are: components of a longer-term plan. I think we should respond with a set of demands eg.:

  • scrap 'Rainbow'; stop the clampdown
  • I/Os to work only on their own lines and only with T/Ops and I/Os on their own lines
  • review the 2009 Agreement and the treatment of new drivers
  • drivers to work only at one depot / on one line
  • passengers to be physically detrained by staff from any train that is going into a sidings or
  • stop commissioning and research work on driverless trains
  • all new train stock to have a driver's cab
  • stick to the machinery: local consultation must be renewed as soon as the Upgrade is in place;
    LUL to consult through Councils rather than through short-term Upgrades machinery

I could well have got some of the jargon wrong here, and have probably left stuff out. I would
welcome the train grades suggesting additions or changes to the list of issues and demands.

But I think that this is the approach we need to take. We need to seize the initiative from management,
table some key demands and fight for them. We can promote these demands around the depots, unify
drivers around them and recruit. If and when we get to a dispute, we will have done some of the

This way, we can draw our lines in the sand and stop their preparations for attacks on jobs and
conditions rather than wait for them to come.

Janine Booth, October 2012