It is obvious to everyone that these are extraordinary times on London Underground. Although schools are now open, passenger numbers are still way down on previous years. And as Coronavirus restrictions on travelling and social gatherings are tightened, that’s not likely to improve for some time.
That means a financial crisis for all of Tfl which relies on fare revenue from the tube for a large part of its funding. A short-term funding package was agreed until October and negotiations between the Government and TfL are now restarting. TfL say they need another two billion pounds to keep going until next April.
What does “workforce modernisation” mean for you ?
The Government has said that “workforce modernisation” must be part of any future funding for TfL. In simple terms, that means cuts to wages and benefits. Many other companies have already used Coronavirus as an excuse to sack staff and cut wages and conditions. ASLEF is determined to stop this from happening on the Underground.
“Junior” staff will be most effected!
Some senior drivers with a relatively short time to retirement may believe that they won’t feel much impact from change. They will have built up many years in a secure pension that protects their living standards.
But if you have years or decades of service ahead of you, changes to working conditions could have a huge impact on your living standards. Service cuts could mean junior staff are displaced from their depots. So would changes to agreements that mean drivers work longer hours or more days.
A strong trade union has meant wage increases above inflation every year. That has allowed people to support their families or buy their own home. We have also protected pensions so that people have a decent life to look forward to when they retire.
ASLEF want this generation of junior staff to be able to have the same protection and the same chance of a decent standard of living of those who have gone before. But we can only achieve this with your support.
What are we asking for?
The impact of Coranavirus means that change is inevitable in our industry. But we want change to come by agreement and in a way that is fair to staff. That is why we have asked London Underground to guarantee existing agreements, and commit to negotiating and agreeing any changes, instead of imposing them. We think this is a reasonable and sensible position. But because they won't commit to this, we are now in dispute.
Is this the right time for a ballot?
The aim of our ballot is not to have a strike. It is to make sure the company will negotiate. Being able to call action, if it essential to do so, means there is an incentive for the company to deal fairly with staff.
Legal constraints mean that it takes many months to organise a ballot. That is why we cannot just wait until cuts to services, wages or pensions are announced and then react. It would simply be too late. By the time we could take action, the cuts would already have happened.
Does your vote matter?
Yes. The laws on trade union ballots means that any vote not returned really counts as a vote against action. So if you don’t vote, it means it is much harder for the union to get the result we need and to protect your wages, your working conditions and your pension. So please make sure to vote YES and send back your paper straight away.
Not got a ballot paper?
There is still time before the ballot closes on September 17th. Email firstname.lastname@example.org with your name, address and depot and branch if known and a paper will be reissued.
But don’t wait! Act now so there is time to vote before the ballot closes.
Your vote will make the difference in protecting the living standards of your family for years to come.
Don’t leave it on the shelf.
Vote YES. Vote now.