Thursday, December 29, 2005

Happy New Year from the RMT

While I've been away, I've been following the ongoing discussions online between the RMT and LUL, and what a surprise: they've called a strike for New Year's Eve!
Now I'm an ASLEF member, therefore will not be on strike (before anyone posts comments flaming me!) however I'm wondering how much of a service we'll be able to run if the station staff are on strike.
Now don't get me wrong, I've said it before and I'll say it again, I am always in favour of strike action as a last resort and only for safety reasons. There are always other options open like working to rule, which incidentally the drivers at Acton Town (District) have been doing for almost a year now. This hits the management because we're refusing to remotely book on or off at Earl's Court (Why should we - my depot is Acton Town!) but doesn't effect the travelling public. In fact the vast majority of our passengers probably would never guess that there is a localised dispute ongoing on the District line, however the management are most certainly aware of it (although they don't seem to be doing anything to resolve it, but that's another story!)

So, back to my station colleagues. Over the years that I've been driving trains, I've had to have assistance from station staff on average once a week for one reason or another (usually to assist with evicting unsociable passengers). This works very well: I blow my whistle or call up on the radio, the assistance arrives and the train can be moving again very quickly with minimum delay to my 'proper' passengers.
OK so station staff can't realy help with all situations, but it's always nice to have more than just me trying to deal with situations!

I just feel (as many others do judging by comments left on Annie Mole's blog) that Bob Crow and co have deliberately decided on New Years Eve to have this strike to cause misery to thousands of party-goers and revellers! I know it's not much fun for us staff working NY Eve, with the extra hassle and grief we always get from the drunken idiots, but surely the idea of London Underground is to provide a service?
The very fact that Bob Crow has decreed the strike should begin at midday on NY Eve until midday on NY Day is proof that he's deliberately trying to cause problems. All previous strikes have been from 9pm to 9pm.

I do have some sympathy for my station colleagues - it's NOT an easy job, and they take the brunt of the flack from disgruntled customers. However, in my opinion, they would have had much more public support if Bob Crow had decided on a midweek stoppage rather than NY Eve.
To be honest, I personally think that this ballot was illegal anyway, as they didn't bother to ballot their members who are drivers, yet there are notices up all over the place urging RMT drivers not to report to work! The drivers aren't invoved in this dispute (despite what the Evening Standard would have you believe) and if RMT drivers refuse to book on, they'll be facing disciplinary charges because they aren't officially in dispute because they weren't ballotted! Or maybe that's Bob Crow's plan? To get as many drivers disciplined as possible then have another strike to get those overturned?
I wouldn't put anything past Bob Crow.

I see the grafitti vandals have been up to their usual tricks during the shutdown on Christmas day. This happens every year without fail, with no trains running, the vandals take advantage of the traction current being off to get into tunnels and other inaccessible places to scrawl their 'tags' all over the place.
These people need to get a life. What possible pleasure can they get from seeing an illegible scrawl on a train or wall?

Speaking of bloody idiots, I almost killed a young boy last night. I was departing Parsons Green station heading towards Earl's Court when a young lad dressed all in black (aged only about 12) ran straight accross the tracks in front of me from the sidings.
I obviously blew the whistle and applied full emergency brakes, and I missed him thankfully but it shook me up. I have no idea what he was doing in the sidings (probably applying grafitti) but when he'd made it to the other side of the track as I was on the radio reporting the incident, he was standing laughing at me making hand gestures.
What a complete dickhead. There have been loads of stories in the media about young people killed on railway lines lately, and this would have been another one if I'd been going any faster. Apart from the trains, he sprinted over the lines and if he'd tripped or touched the live rails, he'd have been fried. These people who trespass on the railway just don't realise how dangerous the environment is. I am a fully trained driver and sometimes need to go on the track in the course of my duties, and I hate it! I do what I have to do with extra caution and then get back onto the safety of my train. If I need to step over the live rails, I do so very cautiously! Especialy last night with the rails and sleepers being covered in frost.

Anyway, that's enough for now! I'm just off to face another night on the District!


Blogger Caatje said...

Amazing. A tube staff who actually talks some sense. District Driver, may I salute you for your very sensible comments on the topic of the strike and good luck with aiming to provide a service.

You are a good one.

8:18 pm  
Blogger Tube Dude said...

I agree with you, Bob Crow should have done a better job. I think maybe a change is due at the top.

I'm sick to the back teeth of Bob and Bob, but sadly the strike is called. I hope that you drivers do support us station staff, as we HAVE supported yous in previous times.

Happy New Year

3:14 pm  
Blogger 49erDweet said...

Best wishes in the coming New Year from a Californian who loves the tube!

What a stupid, churlish spot for Bob Crowe's bunch to put the rest of you in! Hope he doesn't get too much sand into his bunched undies!

We plan to return to the city in the spring, and resume riding the most interesting public transport in the world, the tube!


11:20 pm  
Blogger Jon Allen said...

I watched the the epidsode of
"The Tube" and a signalling engineer
had to get out of a train outside
Baker Street and cross the live
track to fix a signal.
I don't think I could do that
sort of thing, so close to such
high voltages.

8:15 am  

Post a Comment

<< Home