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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Tube Strike Threat by Jubilee Line Drivers

We almost made it into March without the threat of strike action this year.  However, Tube drivers on the Jubilee Line, working out of the Greenwich and Stratford depots, are to be balloted for industrial action.

Baker Street by DesheBoard
Photo by Ofer Deshe

The RMT union claim the reasons for this current dispute include "bullying of staff" and a "decline" of working conditions. TfL are meeting the  RMT and Aslef later this week to discuss the issues in greater detail.

RMT has highlighted the major issues in a letter to London Underground:

• The "unfair and disproportionate" treatment of drivers in disciplinary meetings
• Many facilities on the Jubilee line being in a "very poor" and in some cases a "disgusting" state
• The "removal and threatened removal" of some benefits
• A "severe lack of support" from managers for their staff

Bob Crow by njbarnett

Bob Crow said: "RMT will not sit back and allow the wilful misuse of procedures on any part of the Tube network as a means of bullying and intimidating our members."

"That is exactly what is happening at the moment to drivers working out of Greenwich and Stratford on the Jubilee Line and we are demanding that the practice be called to an immediate halt.

"Our members are also sick of the gradual decline in working conditions and facilities which have been allowed to degenerate into a disgusting state and which appears to be another petty and vindictive way of sniping at union members on the Jubilee Line.  Communication with staff and union reps has also been undermined and support from managers for staff has been systematically stripped away.

"RMT will begin immediate preparations for a ballot for industrial action and no one should underestimate the anger amongst Jubilee Line staff at the moment. RMT remains available for talks aimed at resolving this dispute."

However it appears that this isn't just a war of words about TfL's behaviour as a spokesman for the union said that drivers had also been attacked in The O2 car park late at night due to poor lighting, and that their Greenwich toilets were frequently broken and left uncleaned.  Surprisingly this was not mentioned by Crow in the statement on the RMT website.

Surely us commuters might find these reasons a better reason to strike than Crow's continual mantra about bullying from the powers that be?  One tends to hear Crow mention strikes and his emotive language about vindictiveness and think "here we go again".  Yet if safety and hygiene were publicised at the forefront of the complaints there might be more sympathy - who knows? 

Obviously while discussions are still taking place, there is still room for resolution, so keep an eye on the news.

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