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  • Gary Comfort ASLEF Trains Council Rep

LU Company Council Update

ASLEF attendees, Terry Wilkinson, Graham Dean and Gary Comfort, raised several items with London Underground directors at a Company Council meeting on Friday February 8th.

Seasonal Patterning / Emerging Patterns

At several depots, including North Greenwich and Stratford, management are undertaking seasonal patterning, to see if train operators have an emerging pattern of non-attendance. What they have been doing is looking at your attendance records and if you have had the same time of the year off in 2 out of 3 years, they are pulling you. This could be at Easter, Christmas or the school holidays (it doesn’t matter that your kids left home 10 years ago and now have their own!). ASLEF argued that we have an agreement from the Attendance, Performance and Conduct working party and wanted it applied. The HR Director agreed. An emerging pattern must be demonstrated over two consecutive years.

Home Visits and Travel Tickets

On occasion, train operators are too ill to travel to work to meet with their rep and manager. It has always been the case for home visits by their reps that transport to and from that location is paid for. This payment was questioned by local management and without clear guidance from Employee Relations, ASLEF raised it at Company Council. This was a bit of a no-brainer. Simply put, ASLEF said if the reps have to pay for the journey, they wouldn’t turn up, if the rep doesn’t turn up; no meeting. The HR Director agreed. If either management or the rep buy tickets they would be reimbursed.

Freedom of Information – Train Operators earning £100k

Recently in the press there was an article generated from a freedom of information (FOI) request on drivers’ salary. ASLEF explained that drivers are very angry and frustrated that our salary had been reported wrongly. We get enough abuse in the press already! We had a copy of the actual FOI and it asked for train operator/instructor operators’ salary. LU had responded to the FOI request and provided data on transplant and test train drivers salary. ASLEF argued that this information was not the information that was requested. The Directors agreed. This information was incorrect and shouldn’t have been provided; assurances were given when asked again accurate train operators / instructor operators pay would be provided.

Matters Arising – Equality Reps

ASLEF asked the Company to give Equality Reps appropriate training. Unfortunately, when it comes to Equality the Company make all the right noises but as there’s a cost, Management said no. They defaulted to giving additional training to current reps; they really do not get it! ASLEF will be arranging an Equality Reps forum (similar to the recent BAME forum) following which hopefully more progress will be made.

Matters Arising – Your Train Operator Has Left the Train

ASLEF said that it was unacceptable for PA announcements to state, ‘train cancelled due to driver unavailability’. This item was previously raised, and they said it is the Company’s policy to be honest about cancellations etc. We gave clear examples of when a driver was assaulted, and on another occasion racially abused, also the incident that happened the previous week where a wheelchair passenger refused assistance and managed to trap their wheelchair between the train and platform causing a major shutdown. Where were the honest PA’s on these to be heard? Or when a Train Manager forgot to put a spare on a duty and caused a delay / cancellation. You don’t hear them being honest when it’s a management cock-up! It is ASLEF’s belief that PA comments on train operator unavailability puts staff, at work, directly at risk; not the actual individuals that are unavailable.

The other union that claims to represent train drivers didn’t have any trains reps present and didn’t raise any train specific items!

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