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  • Ian Goodman (ASLEF IR rep White City)

Central Line Meeting report

A line meeting was held on Monday 18th June to discuss the many issues that have been causing problems for drivers on line.

As well as the reps from the line there were 3 Trains Functional Reps, 4 TOMs, ER manager, Service Control Manager and Head of Line Operations. The meeting lasted about 5 hours. Minutes will eventually emerge but here’s a summary from my notes: A full report will be given at your ASLEF branch meeting.

Line information.

Acknowledged it’s not good enough. A problem was identified a few weeks ago and all the LIS staff have been spoken to so we are told it will improve. Told that we need updates every 5-10 mins and the LCs must tell us reasons why trains being held - even if it’s a ‘...we don’t know but will let you all know as soon as we do...’

Service Recovery.

Acceptance from management that it’s not good enough. Plans are in place to hold workshops with Controllers, Trains Managers and IOps to work on how it can be done better...especially making use of the Trains Managers who will be expected to take an active role.

Des Freil ( the head of Service Control at Wood Lane wants to know when there’s a problem. I’d suggest you do this via your local reps so they know what’s happening or at least CC them into the email.

Whilst we’d never agree this is a major issue the point was raised that some Train Ops do go missing during a disruption - we should report to the nearest TM if we put a train away not just wander off!!

Train Crew Parameters about to be breached.

There is confusion as to who a train operator contacts is it the LC or a TM and if a TM which one.

This is something we could not agree in the meeting. The unions view is that the LC is the only person we should contact and that they should liaise with relevant TMs and/or turn our train. Management want us to contact a TM but couldn’t say which one we should contact (your depot or the next depot you go through or somewhere else) nor could they convince us that a TM can get the LC to turn a train.

They have been given 14 days to provide a solution to the union.


The way that controllers/signaller occasionally speak to drivers was discussed and it was made clear that sarcasm, bullying, rudeness was not acceptable. Management agreed.

If you experience poor attitude from Wood Lane Des has undertaken to deal with it. But he needs to have details and time location and the tapes will be listened to and action taken. Again I’d suggest letting your local rep know as well.


Whilst ASLEF hasn’t officially agreed with the DISI for many years (our view being the driver is in charge of making a decision about their train) at the meeting we insisted that the instruction in the DISI re out of service cannot be challenged by Wood Lane.


The union raised issues where the policy is not in our view being followed. This is an area where there will always be differences in interpretation of agreements. We all acknowledge that coverage and attendance are not good across the line - our position though must always be to protect our members and ensure they are no mistreated or bullied back to work before they are well.

The emergence of capability case conferences across the line and indeed the combine is nothing more than an attempt to put pressure on certain staff not to go sick. It’s vital that anyone being called into these meetings tells their reps and ensures that they attend the meeting with them.

One thing we did point out is staff cannot be medically discharged until they had been unable to do there role for 39 weeks - local management have threaten to not do this and terminate people early.

Pool Drivers.

Management confirmed that they will comply with the Pool Utilisation Agreement across the line and also ensure that senior pool drivers shadow long term absences.

Train Managers getting drivers to swap duties

Management were told this is causing bad feeling at all depots and that they should always ask spares first....although our position remains never do it! They made noises to the effect that they will look at it....but to be honest we know it will continue and we can’t stop it without the membership not doing it!!!


The next TT is delayed until 2020.

However duty schedules are looking to produce new duties across the line to introduce in the spring next year. They are in the middle of visiting all depots Level 1 meeting’s plus are holding ‘roadshows’ at all depots in July for all staff to talk to them.

This may see changes to the rosters but we are assured that there will be changes in numbers.

No plan to change the timetable as and when Cross Rail goes live.

Detrainment staff removal.

There are plans that detrainment staff are going to be removed on Waterloo & City line. Whilst this couldn’t be discussed in this meeting as it’s higher up in the machinery it seems apparent that the company wants to revisit ‘flash & dash’ for trains going into sidings......we made it clear we won’t be doing this if they try to introduce it on the Central Line.

Driver Numbers.

Believe it or not the line is 15 drivers over minimum numbers and 4 over the number that they work to before bringing in new drivers to the line.

To be honest we just laughed as the line is understaffed and needs more staff but can’t get them due to the financial state of TFL.

Health & Safety Line Meeting.

This has been on going as it used to happen approx 6mthly. Currently management are sticking to their interpretation agreements which the H&S reps are not in agreement with. Line management won’t budge. This will need to go via the machinery.

Staff Errors.

We made it clear that we are fed up with drivers being blamed for every delay and service control never seemingly doing anything wrong. We are told that’s not the case but as there from no delays placed on the door of Wood Lane it pretty obvious to us what’s happening.

If you are delayed, for example, getting into Hainault when there are empty platforms the make a note and pass it to your reps and we will ask to see where it’s been recorded.

It was also pointed out to management that staff errors should be discussed as soon as possible and waiting 4,5 or 12 weeks before talking to a driver about it is not acceptable.

Managers driving Trains.

Line management continue to believe that managers can drive trains in a non passenger, non emergency situation.

The Central Line is the only line were management have this view.That is not the unions view. We are a train drivers union and will never agree to managers doing our job.This has been referred to the Trains Functional Council and if management don’t agree with us it will go to Directors and if needs be into a dispute that will involve not just the Central Line but the whole combine.

No Known Relief.

Management agreed that this should never happen when it is known there is no relief. They were of the view that when it does occur it would be due to something happening with little or no notice.

If this happens to you let your rep know the details so we can investigate

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