From 00.01 tonight to 23.59 on Wednesday, ASLEF members will be on strike across London Underground in our first combine wide action since 2015.
The strike will be rock solid. Train Drivers returned a 99% Yes vote for the action with similar results from members in Transplant, Test Trains and management grades.
There are many issues that have led to this point, but the fundamental problem is the funding agreement between TfL and the government that mandates huge cuts to its budget, so called “modernization” of working conditions and big reductions in pension benefits.
Already hundreds of jobs have been cut, but TfL are open that this is only the start. The 2023 business plan sets out the target of a further £1 billion in recurring savings to be made by “changes to working practices”.
What will this mean for staff? Management are open that they want to get rid of all existing working agreements and move to a completely flexible model of staffing on trains. That includes:
Booking on before 04.45 in the morning and working after 01.30 for no extra payments.
Booking on and off at remote locations in your own time making your working day longer.
Drastically reducing the number of spare turns and making those that remain "flexible" so they can change your start and finish time at short notice.
Putting pool cover into rosters so you have no idea what turn you are doing until the day before.
These are just some of the changes that management want to make as part of "trains modernisation" as they push for big cuts in the number of drivers employed. They want to replace all of the current agreements covering how drivers work. Their aim is that your time in the cab is increased by 25%. You would be working harder, for longer, for less reward.
They have already slashed CDP, reducing the vital safety training drivers need to an unacceptable level.
Despite objections from unions, they are pushing ahead with issuing iPad to drivers. This is part of a plan to replace booking on in person with electronic booking on meaning hundreds of Train Managers roles will go.
Ignoring union objections again, they have announced that new attendance and discipline policies will be introduced from next January. If anyone can’t cope with the new work regime and the changes to their shift patterns, they will be pushed out the door.
ASLEF have always said that we are prepared to discuss and negotiate change. But every day it is clearer that management intend to simply push through their plans while pretending to consult unions on decisions that they have already made.
The only way to protect pensions and working conditions is to take action. We need to show TfL and the government that London Underground staff are not prepared to pay with our pensions and working condition for the failure to properly fund London’s public transport system.
Support the strike on Wednesday and join you colleagues on the picket lines to show that you are prepared to fight to protect your pension and working conditions.
ASLEF District Organiser.