'Zero hours' employment in Tube control rooms unacceptable


I previously advised you that a dispute situation arose when London Underground sought to bring back retired staff in to perform Service Control duties, but on agency terms and conditions and on zero hours contracts (Ref: IR/159/20, 1st May 2020).

Management produced revised proposals that was been presented to your Service Control Functional Control (SCFC) Representatives at a meeting last week.
London Underground did at least acknowledge a point that our representatives have made many times over the past couple of years: that there is a serious problem in recruitment in retention of Service Control staff. This has a direct impact on the work, with members in some Control Rooms suffering an unbearable workload.
However, the revised proposals still amount to the introduction of a “flexible” zero hours model of employment for Service Control Rooms. There are no caveats that would mean the proposals are agreed for short-term use and for an agreed period, which could itself undermine a more permanent solution.
Having considered the revised proposals, the National Executive Committee found them to be completely unacceptable in their current form.
Your union has been raising the recruitment and retention issue over the years to London Underground to give them the opportunity to address it. This hasn't happened and now we shall be ensuring that any measure that is applied doesn't introduce the permanent use of casual labour - that it is applied by agreement, in a specific circumstance and time-bound - and as part of a definite plan to resolve the problem, properly and long-term.
The NEC has instructed the Lead Officer to continue to discuss the matter with London Underground and to pursue the matter together with our SCFC Representatives to protect jobs, standards and the line of promotion within Service Control grades.
I will, of course, keep you informed of any further developments in this matter.