2018 was a year of real achievement for ASLEF on London Underground. The solidarity of our members and the determination of our reps and negotiators meant that we were able to make real progress on issues like cab security as well as successfully defending agreements on the attendance at work procedure and protecting weekend working levels. We demonstrated once again that a strong trade union, focused on the interests of its members is the only way to protect your conditions at work.
It was also the final year of our current pay agreement, which covered from April 2015 to March 31st 2019, so we are now submitting our Pay and Conditions claim to LU for the year starting from April.
Over the last decade, successive Tory governments have deliberately used anti union laws and the excuse of "austerity" to drive down real wages across the economy. While the richest in our society have seen their share of wealth increase, the real value of wages for the big majority of working people is less now than it was in 2008.
ASLEF are proud to have resisted this trend in our industry. Against a background of massive government cuts and political hostility, we have delivered above inflation pay rises year on year while protecting and improving conditions for our members.
We intend to keep on doing so !
Of course we are well aware of the pressure on London Undergrounds finances. But these have come about because of a political decision to remove central government funding. Our members, or other Underground staff should not have to accept any reduction in their living standards or working conditions as a result. On the contrary, they have continue to work hard to deliver the best possible service to the travelling public in the face of increased pressure and cuts in staff numbers and deserve to be properly rewarded and remunerated.
In line with ASLEF policy, our claim for all our member grades is therefore;
A reduction in standard working hours to an average 32-hour 4-day week for full time staff and a pro-rata reduction for those on part time and reduced hours contract;
A substantial increase in pay above the RPI rate of inflation to reflect the pressure and high costs of working in London;
Improvements in work-life balance opportunities giving all staff the option to reduce their working hours or number of days worked on a pro-rata basis;
Improvements in travel facilities with as a next step, extension of staff pass validity to all services where Oyster Cards are accepted;
All duties to include a paid meal break of at least 30 minutes.
In addition to the items above, ASLEF have also identified that while London Underground claims to provide salaries at or above market rates, this is clearly not the case for Train Driving grades, including Instructor Operators, Night Tube and part time and reduced hours Train Operators. The Train Operator and associate grades rate of pay on London Underground is now substantially below that on other similar networks including the TfL operated concessions of London Overground and TfL Rail.
For this reason, ASLEF are seeking, for our driving grades members;
An additional increase in salary above and in addition to, the cost of living claim above, to bring train operators on London Underground to the appropriate salary level for driving grades in the London region.
An increase in the current level of payment for drivers working on Boxing Day (Dec 26th) from 2019. This payment has remained static since it was introduced and needs to be substantially increased to provide an appropriate incentive and reward to those who volunteer to work. It should also increase in line with pay awards for future years.
ASLEF believe that every London Underground worker is entitled to a decent pay rise and we will will work with the other trade unions to achieve this. But in addition to a cost of living pay increase, we believe there needs to be a substantial additional rise in LU driving grade salaries. These have fallen below the level on comparable train operating companies and it is time for this to be rectified.
Once pay talks start, the negotiating team will report regularly to our reps and branches. We know that it will not be easy to achieve all our objectives and that negotiations may take some time. Its easy to get a quick settlement, its a lot harder to get a good one !
But as have repeatedly shown, with the support of our members, ASLEF delivers !