Trains Functional Council Update March 2020

On March 26th the RMT joined with Aslef and LUL management in an ad-hoc TFC meeting, the vast majority of which was spent discussing the effects of Corona Virus (CV) on drivers. The RMT recognises that we are living in extraordinary times and that to achieve the safest outcomes for our members we have to engage in constructive discussions. However, we refuse to make hasty decisions which may create short-term benefits but result in serious problems in the future. LUL put a number of proposals to us, some of which we agreed to consider and we will return to further talks on Tuesday 31st.

Night Tube
During the suspension of NT because of CV the RMT is concerned about social distancing in the depots with too many drivers hanging around in mess rooms. This weekend NT drivers will not be working full shifts; NT drivers will work either the late section and then get sent home or come in for the early section. Nobody will be working a full shift. All work will be between 20.30 and 08.29.

In order to utilise NT drivers more fully, LUL wants to offer NT drivers the option of working for 5 days a week, but only on a temporary basis. At the end of the CV crisis they expect them to go back to NT and suffer a huge wage cut. The RMT believes that any NT driver who volunteers to work full time should remain full time; those who want to continue to work weekend nights should be protected. This will be revisited on Tuesday.

Social distancing in depots and when travelling
New emergency timetables are being brought in on all lines within the next couple of weeks. New duties will each be 7 hours and 12 minutes and will incorporate DMI; there will also be a higher percentage of rostered spare duties. The RMT is concerned that this may result in large numbers of drivers sitting in mess rooms, unable to comply with social distancing. We have persuaded management that the best way to avoid this is to have a pragmatic approach by sending home drivers when they are not required and by advising spare drivers to start late when there is no work to cover. TMs will be written to, informing them of this new way of working.

Although the Mayor’s call for Londoners to stay at home is having the desired effect – there has been a 44% drop in the morning peak since Monday and overall a 92% drop in footfall since this time last year – there is still overcrowding on some lines at certain times. Because of this management has agreed certain measures to protect drivers. These include:

• If required to travel on the cushions and the carriages are full, drivers will be allowed to travel in the rear cab where they are isolated from passengers.
• Reasonable reimbursement for drivers who are unable to use their normal form of transport and may instead wish to drive into work. Payment will be made for petrol and car parking.

Stranded abroad
A number of drivers are victims of the cancellation of international flights due to CV and are unable to return to work. In these circumstances drivers will receive their full wages.

Deferment of Annual Leave
In some areas drivers are offering to defer annual leave during the CV lockdown because they can’t do anything. Managers in some locations are accommodating this whilst in others they are not. RMT understands that LUL is reluctant to allow everyone to do this because it will cause problems later in the year when the leave needs to be taken. We believe that in those depots where requests can be accommodated that it should be done in a fair manner with the involvement of the local TU reps.

CDP and Training
Because of social distancing issues CDP has been cancelled in all depots for at least the next 4 weeks. Management are working to ensure that licences are kept up to date and where this is not possible they are seeking a temporary waiver from the ORR. All classes at the training school are cancelled as are all cross-line transfers and promotional transfers from TO23 to TO21. The only movements being allowed are MCOs on the same line.

Boxing Day Agreement
There is a draft proposal to increase the payment for drivers who work Boxing Day to a figure of approximately four times the daily rate. There will also be a more equitable system of allocating Boxing Day duties. However, in order for this to be self-financing within the Trains Grade management are looking to make changes to a number of agreements; these are Transfer and Promotion, Weekend Part time working and Pool

Your RMT TFC reps are closely examining the proposed changes and will consult with your Regional Organiser and your NEC member before making any decision.