Cab security: tube bosses proposal not acceptable

The issue of ‘cab security’ has been discussed at the highest levels with London Underground since the spate of terrorist attacks in London and Manchester last year. The RMT even raised this issue with London Mayor Sadiq Khan. At those discussions, Mark Wild, the LU Managing Director gave commitments that this issue would be resolved and that resources would be made available. 

Since then, what we have seen in terms of action from LU has been underwhelming to say the least. There were a number of workshops set up to discuss how a satisfactory method of cab security might be implemented. It’s not as simple as just putting a lock on the door. There has to be access to the driver’s cab should the driver become incapacitated. Some form of magnetic lock that activated while the train was motoring was discussed. A concern with this system was that as soon as the train was stationary the cab became insecure again. There were other ideas such as connecting the lock to the OPO alarm with the lock deactivating on application of the OPO alarm but this method would not be straight forward on ATO Lines.

LU then went through the process of attempting to secure funds for this project. Deadlines for updates and confirmation that these funds had been secured came and went on a regular basis.


'Safe glass' not good enough
Fi​nally, a meeting was scheduled for yesterday, 6th September, with the Train’s Safety Council, our Regional Organiser John Leach and senior LU Directors. At this meeting, LU advised us that their ‘proposed solution’ was to introduce the ‘safe Glass’ system on all LU cab doors; the method already in use on the Bakerloo and Piccadilly stocks. They then want to set up workshops with the Safety Council and engineers to listen to our concerns and work on some solutions.

It would appear they are now reluctant to explore a more robust form of cab security on the grounds that it is complicated, expensive and would take a minimum of 5 years to install. 

The RMT have informed LU that these proposals are unacceptable. The ‘safe glass’ method does not improve security, it just buys us a few more seconds. Anyway, keys for gaining access to driver’s cabs are readily available online and on the high street. LU’s prediction of a 5 year timescale for a more robust system is way off the mark. If there was a will to implement this it could be done much sooner. We do accept that it won’t be easy and won’t be done by Christmas!

We have now made our position very clear to LU. There now considering our position and will respond to us within 7 days.

As you will know, ASLEF have already balloted their members on this issue. Some members have questioned why we have not done this as well. The answer is that the discussions have been ongoing. We were not fully aware of LU’s intentions. It might well be that this point has now arrived.

For further details on this issue contact any member of the RMT Train’s Health and Safety Council.