9 July 2014
Unite, the country’s largest union, which represents most of the 40 power technicians, today (Tuesday 8 July) called for the LUL management to return to talks at the conciliation service, Acas, amid mounting union safety concerns for those that make up to four million passenger journeys each day.
The technicians are based at the power control room in Blackfriars Road, London, SE1 8NJ where they provide power for the 270 station underground network.
The strike, which started on 1 July, will continue until 20.00 on Tuesday 22 July. The RMT and TSSA unions will also be taking similar industrial action.
Unite wrote last week to the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR) challenging LUL management that its contingency plans are robust enough for the strike’s duration.
Unite regional officer Hugh Roberts said: “Our members have voted to continue strike action to 22 July and we would urge LUL management to get around the table at Acas to achieve an equable settlement.
“Our members are monitoring the safety issues very carefully. For example, last Saturday (5 July) on the Metropolitan line, inexperienced and poorly trained staff switched off the wrong item of plant that could have caused the loss of electrical supplies to stations and signals at the top end of the Metropolitan line.
“These safety concerns will mount as the strike goes into a third week and this, in itself, should be enough incentive for the management to start negotiating in a constructive fashion.
“The issues behind this dispute are broken promises, unfair treatment over differentials and worsening conditions. The management’s Scrooge-like penny pinching attitude is not being driven by common sense, but by the agenda of budget cuts in the Treasury’s funding.”
The dispute is complex and involves the workforce being tuped – Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 – to other organisations some years ago, and then coming back under London Underground management, but with different conditions.
This means that some workers started their length of service from day one when they returned to London Underground, while others brought back their full number of previous years’ service. This would have a differential impact on the level of pensions and other entitlements for some staff.
Unite is also asking for more money for its members to do the training of new recruits, but the management wants the staff to take on this additional responsibility for no extra cash.