Report from the Tier 2 Trains Council meeting

If you are not already aware, this is how the LU Health and Safety Machinery works: if Health and Safety problems or concerns arise locally, the first port of call is your local RMT health and Safety Representative at the Depot. They will raise these concerns with the local manager. If no resolution to the problem can be found, the matter will be referred to us at the Tier 2 Trains Safety Council. If we are unable to resolve the matter it then gets referred to LU Directors / RMT Head office level for them to resolve. Below is a snapshot of items currently being discussed at Tier 2.

Unstaffed Stations

Your RMT Reps have made management aware that Train Operators are far from happy running through stations that are not adequately staffed. Management assure us that no stations are intentionally left de staffed, however, there are times when Station Staff may be on meal relief, dealing with incidents, travelling to or from stations and assistance, if required, is not readily available.

Met Line Reps have asked that their drivers are notified by the LC when a station is unmanned. This would forewarn us and enable us to deal with problems that may arise more effectively. This request was refused at Tier 2 and has been referred to the Director’s/ Head Office level of the H & S machinery for resolution.

It is of great concern to us that stations are left unmanned at all. Bizarrely, there is no Rule Book ruling on how many stations in a row, in the open section, can be left unmanned. This has to be addressed.

Platform Train Interface equipment

As you will all be aware, the underground system is undergoing a huge amount of refurbishment work, and during engineering hours there is the potential for equipment to be put out of alignment prior to start of traffic the next day. We believe this may be the case with OPO equipment so we urge you to make sure that your view of the entire PTI is 100% prior to departing a platform and if you are in any doubt follow the applicable procedure for defective OPO equipment.

It could be that OPO/PTI Groups should be performing platform walks to check alignment of all mirrors and monitors in their area.

Tunnel Cleaning Train

Has anyone seen it? We’ve asked the question and we’ll be chasing up whether or not the alternative method of cleaning the tunnels, especially during this period of refurbishment, is sufficient. If you feel your workplace has become dustier then let your local rep know and they in turn will inform us and we’ll get something done about it.

Litter picking in sidings

An anomaly exists with our Cleaner members being asked to litter pick on trains that are entering/exiting reversing points. Despite LUL not being able to keep a lid on their own generic rules and procedures, one of the functions of your Tier 2 Rep’s is to strive for a consistent approach across the combine, with safety at the forefront of our joint decision making.

When the issue of litter picking in sidings was discussed at a recent meeting it was decided by management that litter pickers can travel into the sidings to carry out their job but an individual Train Operator may refuse if they’re unhappy about taking a Cleaner with them.

Cross tack projection (XTP)

In this ever increasing commercial world we live in companies are trying to identify every single advertising space on our system and are introducing new methods to display their goods. One such method is Cross Track Projection (XTP): this involves showing a film onto the platform wall when trains are not in the platform; well that’s what we were told at first! This would not present a problem to Train Operators as long as the equipment switches off when a train is approaching the platform. Unfortunately, it would appear safety is taking a back seat to advertising and revenue and the XTP equipment at certain locations with equipment staying on permanently. This is causing a problem for Train Operators' vision; many drivers have complained about the distraction from this equipment.

At Piccadilly for example, you come round the bend to enter the platform and you are greeted with a huge screen advertising all sorts. At a time when we should be concentrating on the PTI, we are being distracted.

This is unacceptable. No resolution could be reached at Tier even though the managers their agreed with us. It would appear an order has come from above to insist XPT remains on.

We have referred the matter to Directors Level/ Head Office level for them to resolve.

New Years Eve Working & the Alcohol ban

This New Years Eve we’ll enter into new territory thanks to Boris and his barmy army. There have been several incidents of Staff being presented with threatening behaviour since the alcohol ban was introduced. The ban may well lead to an increase in dangerous situations for our members throughout the Christmas festivities and we have demanded that LUL reviews its workplace risk assessments for New Years' Eve working prior to expecting our members to be potentially confronted with an increase in workplace violence.

Five day block refresher training (CDP)

As you may be aware the traditional 5 day block of refresher training has been condensed into 4 days and the additional fifth day is utilised by individual lines for any training they believe is beneficial for their staff. There have been attempts to utilise the fifth day for more ‘ handle turning’ time and we have made LUL aware that we will not stand for any watering down of our training, that after all can make the difference between us keeping our livelihoods or not.

Manual operation on Automatic Train Operation lines

Automatic trains are here already and, with the line upgrades that are occurring (report on next page), automatic trains will be phased in on all lines in the near future. However, when ATO becomes unavailable, for whatever reason, Train Operators are expected to drive their trains manually. If LUL expects its Train Operator’s to remain competent when driving their trains manually then Train operators must have the opportunity to practice the activity and indeed be assessed on their competence. Simulators are no real substitute for actually driving a train on an operational railway and we have asked LUL how they are going to resolve this potential problem. Our position is that scope for manual operation is built into all timetables and duty rosters.

We are awaiting LUL’s response and we will keep you updated.

Remember, if you have a safety concern, report it to your local Health and Safety Rep ASAP. Safety Reps should ensure that all matters that cant be resolved locally are referred to the Tier 2 ASAP.