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 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
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.
Collins who visited Sydney a couple of weeks ago, and feels Sydney's system is decades behind the Tube He said: "When I travelled it reminded me of the London Underground 25 years ago in terms of the ticketing, the technology, the environment. That's what I want to help improve."
Howard Collins at London Underground 150th Anniversary Celebrations - photo by Hawkeye2011
Throughout his long TfL career, Collins has done everything from driving trains, to working in signalling. As head of London Underground, Collins was instrumental in dealing with the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on our network in 2005. He also surprised critics by making sure the Tube ran smoothly during the last year's Olympics. Add putting Wi-Fi on the Tube and it's clear he's had a highly successful career and is respected amongst TfL staff and seen as part of the "old guard". He was noticeably very "hands on" during the operation of steam trains for the London Underground's 150th birthday celebrations. He was awarded an OBE in the New Years honours for his services during the Olympics.
His new job as CEO of Sydney Trains comes with a $530,000 (£350,000) salary and Collins thinks he'll be "good value for money". He said "It's a big life change, it's a big move. Living in Sydney's
probably one of the most expensive places in the world." In addition to investment, Collins is aware that improved customer service will go a long way to encourage more people in Sydney to get onto commuter trains.
Although Sydney doesn't have an underground metro system (yet), some of the stations on the central loop are below ground. However, it appears that the roundel is already in place to make Collins feel at home (even if this is in a below ground railway bar)!
I'd like to wish Howard all the best in Sydney and hope that his replacement understands railways and has the same enthusiasm for the Tube's heritage too. Maybe they'll even have the same taste in colourful ties (presuming a man will get the job!). Are there any women that reach senior positions on the London Underground or on railways in general.
My mind boggles in so many ways on how he manages to walk on those feet. How he's going to negotiate any escalators (or stairs for that matter)? Is he going to fit through the gates? How's he going to fit through the Tube doors? As you can see he's pretty tall in that outfit.
I love how he's managed to get Tube commuters to actually turn their heads to look at him. Most of us feel we've seen everything on the London, but this is an eye opener.
He wasn't destined for Blackhorse Road, but for Angel Tube where he was off to a Rumpus: Myths & Legends party. Kudos for the costume and extra kudos for using the Tube to get the party.
"The entrance queue snaked around the corner of Shepherd’s
Bush Empire, a sign of how far Shaun Buswell had come in his quest to form an orchestra entirely comprised
of strangers met on the London Underground. Although, not only was he unsure of
the event taking place due to low ticket sales, but he would not know exactly
who was playing until the night itself due to the perilous nature of this
exercise. Despite Australia Day celebrations spilling out of Walkabout next
door, the ticket tout was not required.
"VIP tables with gold stars, line names and gift bags were on
the Empire floor and people at that level sat at them or stood against walls,
below the three reasonably populated gallery levels. Everyone was in good
spirits, probably more so when compere Carl Chamberlain encouraged them to talk
to a complete stranger before the night was out, as Shaun had done 330 times.
"Kicking off proceedings was a 40-minute documentary of
Shaun’s quest and the concurrent growth of his beard, from nothing in January
2012 to substantial in November. Perhaps new hair sprouted with each confirmed
musician. He took three days to find the first instrumentalist and then came
peaks (targeting stations adjacent to music colleges and the Royal Albert Hall)
and troughs (“I calculate that one in 500 people are carrying an instrument [on
the Tube]. There are 12 people on this platform…”). One negative highlight was
a man who, when asked if he was carrying a flute, replied that it was a violin,
it was none of Shaun’s business and told him to go away. That reaction would
have been even more worthy of television had the man actually realised he was
being filmed. On the plus side, Shaun managed to snare twins, separately, two
months apart, at the same station. What were the chances?
"An interval followed, then Shaun introduced the orchestra
one by one, including four paying patrons that had stepped in at the last
minute. They played pieces by Grieg, Holst and Dvorak before Shaun’s namesake band joined them on stage to
present their own songs with orchestral augmentation. It’s You began with
subtle string arrangements, building to an all-encompassing, impassioned
instrumental featuring a flashmob orchestra of about six in the gallery. The
melodica player had apparently come all the way from Barcelona for the event.
Conscious of time, some songs were dropped to make way for the medley, a hybrid
of movie themes from films which feature the Tube. Hilarity and applause ensued
as the audience was treated to Mission Impossible, James Bond and Superman
"Aptly deciding to leave The Road until last instead, the D
major triplets pounded through the hall, Shaun having written this during and
for his challenge, telling us not to give up on something however difficult it
might be. He had a crazy idea and felt like quitting, but he went from that
first tentative Tube talk to a renowned London venue, and that is just one
example of what can be done. This might even see a legacy; I wait to hear of a
band formed in such a fashion.
"Ropey at times, yet successful for what it was, the
Underground Orchestra triumphed. The audience stood for an ovation, their claps
and cheers carrying their warmth and respect towards the stage. Originally this
was planned to take place on 12/12/12, but for various reasons it was put back
– the first full rehearsal happened on that date instead. Perhaps that was for
the best, however, as it was more than fitting to have this show in the Tube’s 150th anniversary year. The primary reason Shaun met his
collaborators was because of the Underground, and this showed the creativity
and fraternity that being on the system can produce. Transport for London would
have done well to list this event in their official anniversary programme. Well
Well done indeed and I'm also pleased this happened in the 150th anniversary year. Thanks again to Adham @directiontravel for the review