Finn Brennan ASLEF Distri
ASLEF ballot on London Underground to ensure agreements are honoured.
The ASLEF Executive Committee has today decided to ballot our members on London Underground over their failure to commit to honouring existing agreements and not to impose changes to our members terms and conditions without agreement.
Since the outbreak of the pandemic, ASLEF reps and members have worked with management to keep services moving for the people of London. They have been prepared to be flexible and to change and adept the way they work. But instead of recognising and respecting the efforts they have made and their cooperation, senior management have repeatedly used Covid-19 as an excuse to ignore existing agreements and working practices.
It is clear that London Underground faces major challenges and changes. ASLEF are always prepared to discuss and to negotiate. But any changes must come by agreement, not by imposition. The funding review agreement between the Government and TfL is specific about seeking “workforce modernisation” and the Prime Minister has already made their approach plain by talking about “unshackling from the trade unions” and driverless trains.
That is why we asked London Underground to provide an "unequivocal commitment to adhering to the agreed Machinery of Negotiation and Health and Safety Machinery and to confirm that they will not impose any changes to our members terms and conditions of employment or to the Trains Framework agreement or any other agreement reached with ASLEF at any level of the machinery without the specific agreement of ASLEF."
The refusal to give those commitments has brought us into dispute. We will be serving statutory notice of our intention to ballot our members with a closing date of September 17th.
During the pandemic, tube workers and other front-line staff were often called “heroes”. But they are not asking to be treated as heroes, they simply want their existing working agreements to be respected and any changes to come through negotiation. It is a reasonable and sensible demand, but the only way to make sure this happens is to have a mandate for industrial action so we can oppose any attempts to impose changes without agreement.
To ensure we have the mandate we need, we must have a huge Yes vote from our members. Anything less will be seen by management as a sign that we are not prepared to protect our terms and conditions at work. It is important to make sure that all address and location details are up to date so if you have recently moved home, depot or grade or you have not received a ballot paper in the past, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your details.