For the last two years your ASLEF Health and Safety reps have been campaigning to make drivers cabs on London Underground safe and secure. On most stocks, a simple ring pull allows passengers access to the cab; on others a piece of toughened plastic is all that stands in the way of anyone who wants to get in your cab.
There has been incident after incident where passengers have burst into driver’s cabs. So far there have been no serious injuries, but our fear is that it is just a matter of time before there are. Running a 24 hour service, in a city where massive cuts to police numbers have gone alongside a rise in violent crime, our members feel at real risk.
But serious as the risk of an attack on a driver is, there is also the real threat of easy access to a cab being used by those intent on causing death and destruction. It beggars belief that at a time of heightened security alert, Transport for London refuse to take this threat seriously.
This is not a difficult problem to solve. Although J doors provide an emergency evacuation route on Underground trains, it would be easy to find a technical fix to this that allowed door locks to be remotely released in emergencies. The real issue is money.
Since the government slashed TfL’s budget, there is huge pressure to cut costs. Senior management simply don’t believe it is worthwhile to spend the money needed to make your workplace safe for you and the system safer for everybody.
ASLEF have now raised this at every level of management including taking our concerns directly to the Mayor. But the only solid commitment we have had is a proposal to look at using toughened plastic rather than ring pulls on all stocks. Your Health and Safety reps don’t believe this is good enough. It does not provide the safe, secure environment our members require.
I will now report back to our branches and the ASLEF Executive Committee. It is clear that unless we are prepared to take action, London Underground will not change their stance. Please speak to your local reps and attend your branch meeting to make your voice heard on this important issue.