Tube Bosses leaving stations unstaffed

Tube bosses are leaving stations unstaffed during traffic hours. It will come as no surprise to those of us who work on the Tube, but the 'revelation' was described as an exclusive by BBC London News today.

The BBC report states that:

"Four years ago today Transport for London (TfL) announced all London Underground ticket offices would be shut. 

One of the five commitments to Londoners made by LU at the time was that "all Tube stations controlled and staffed while services are operating".

We have been given documents which show Wimbledon Park station has been left unattended on 10 occasions in October - in some cases for long periods of time. In one instance a 10-year-old boy, who had been separated from his mother, got out at Wimbledon Park and no staff were available at the station. He was found by a train driver who had to get off his service and search for the boy."

The RMT have repeatedly warned of the risk, and highlighted the eventuality of unstaffed stations. 

  • Back in January 2011 we reported that "RMT today demanded an immediate halt to the London Underground cuts programme as new documents released the union show that 30.5% of stations have been scheduled to be unstaffed during operational hours – a direct contradiction of the speech given by Mayor Boris Johnson."
  • In January 2012 a Stations Safety Council report stated that "The company have now recognised that there are some serious problems out there regarding both the ability to run stations on the low numbers and the fact that some stations are regularly unstaffed. The input that we have had over the last 2 weeks from stations staff in response to a request for evidence on this subject has been superb, and it shows the depth of the problem.
    London Underground has agreed to a request for a special safety council meeting on the topic."
  • This leaflet for the public, published in 2015, warned that, due to cuts; "In reality, many stations will be left unstaffed as there will not be enough staff to cover training, annual leave and sickness...Safety will be an issue....there will be a reduced service of care for disabled passengers."
  • In 2016 our Station Functional Council wrote in a blog "We will inevitably face further attacks on the conditions of station staff, CSAs, CSSs AND CSMs. We need to maintain the unity of all of our station grades. AM’s at Section 12 stations are already franticly trying to review and reduce minimum numbers. Open section stations are increasingly left unstaffed or are ‘babysat’."
  • In July of this year the union reported that a school girl had been photographed on live tracks at an unstaffed station. RMT General Secretary Mick Cash stated at the time "RMT warned tube bosses again and again that the job cuts they were proposing would leave many stations unstaffed. This is exactly what happened at Latimer Road where it took a passenger with a mobile phone to let London Underground know that a schoolchild has been wandering across electrified track while trains run.”
  • And just last month the RMT demanded "the immediate staffing of ALL London Underground stations – or the closure of stations when they are unstaffed" following a dangerous incident at Ruislip station.

The frequent unstaffed operation at Wimbledon will be a familiar occurance to many of us who work on the Tube. The BBC article says an LU source has admitted that the 'problem is much worse' than that identified at Wimbledon.

Responding to the BBC report, RMT General Secretary Mick Cash stated:

“This is shocking new information which confirms RMT's warnings about the tube network becoming an increasingly faceless and dangerous place."

“If stations can’t be staffed, they must be closed. It’s only a matter of time before a fatality occurs as a result of tube bosses playing fast and loose with public safety.”



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