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Tube Lines Special... VOTE YES for STRIKE ACTION... Tube Lines Special...

LIFT the lid off PPP &


ESCALATE preparations for action solution to tackle the issues ... that has had a negative
Tube Lines - the end of the line for PPP
A recent independent ruling has found that Tube impact on TLES costs and reputation”.
Lines, the last remaining contractor in the public-private At least 27 job losses have so far been identified
partnership (PPP) to upgrade the network, is at fault for in maintenance and cleaning. The document continues:
overruns on upgrading the Jubilee and Northern lines. Tube “Where there are more people than roles, existing
Lines says the work, funded by the taxpayer and incumbents will be required to re-apply for their post
government-backed debt, should cost £5.75bn but has been and submit a C.V. ...Displaced staff for whom there are
told by PPP arbiter Chris Bolt to do it for £4.4bn. This no roles within TLES will enter the Tube Lines re-
leaves a £1.35bn funding gap for the next seven and a half deployment process”.
years. The ruling dismissed Tube Lines' claims as Further, to cut overtime payments, they propose
“labyrinthine, artificial and unconvincing”. Bolt will deliver to “use additional agency employees/sub contractors to
his final verdict on 11 March. meet any short term peak demand” - i.e. outsourcing.
Tube Lines, which has admitted solvency concerns, Secondly, management want to change the
but insists it is viable, must now cover the £327m cost and ‘Framework for all operational staff - rostering, leave
LU's legal fees. Metronet collapsed in 2007 after it failed to and overtime working’. Highlights include:
keep costs under control and built up a projected overspend • change the minimum duty length to 6 hours
of £2bn. Before Tube Lines' CEO Dean Finch legged it to without a meal break;
National Express he warned: “The board unanimously • remove the need for a rostered meal break;
decided that the company is solvent ...Tube Lines will need • roster staff a maximum of 6 turns in any 7 day
to do some radical stuff now in terms of improving period;
productivity and efficiency. I don't think Tube Lines is • additional weekend working;
insolvent. I think it can survive this but it is extremely • rosters to be decided (not negotiated!) by the
challenging”. Asset manager and published at 2 weeks notice
So what does he mean by “radical stuff”? Screw the (as opposed to 35 days);
workers of course - make them pay! • changes to rostered turns for urgent operational
conditions with 24hrs notice (as opposed to the
“The first shot”: Lifts & Escalators today... 72hrs) where unpredictable less notice will be
Management proposals for Lifts and Escalators is given without it being mutually agreed;
nothing other than a primer for a general assault on all • annual leave to be taken in hours and
workers under Tube Lines. This is what management meant • take away all banked rest days accrued since the
when they told us that TLES are the “first shot” in a massive implementation of the 35hr week!
shake-up across the whole company. If in doubt, we’re Thirdly, there will necessarily be an impact on
already aware of new rosters being drawn up for track the safety of the workforce and traveling public. The
workers that included weekend working - every weekend! proposals for Lift and Escalators alone are to reduce
Just as with the recent signals dispute, management safety inspections from twice weekly to one fortnightly;
tried to con workers suggesting roster changes introducing dust tray cleaning to once a month; taking possession of
weekend working only affected 30 workers. Signals weren't assets from 2300 - 0600 i.e. including traffic hours; and
fooled and brought every worker under the Signals encouraging working with moving parts and machinery.
Framework Agreement out on strike resulting in a public So the message from Tube Lines is clear. They
whipping of LUL. want us to work til we drop, work as and when they
There are three immediate attacks. Firstly, JOB require, casualise our jobs and then sling us on the dung-
CUTS. In the proposals outlined in the 'Tube Lines heap. And to add insult to injury they're blackmailing
Escalator Services Re-Organisation' management aim to us too: unless we agree to their changes they're not
“identify the resources required to deliver the TLES prepared to talk to us about this years pay deal!
confirmed workload in 2010 ... ensure that TLES are This is just the tip of the iceberg - rumours have
Economic and Efficient ... and ... implement a long term it that up to 600 job losses are set to be on the line.
Leeches Election. But Johnson is just as committed to privatisation
Tube Lines is owned by the US project manager as Gordon Brown and his New Labour cabinet. He's a Tory
Bechtel, and Amey, a subsidiary of Spanish conglomerate shit and our enemy. If in doubt, just watch him go into an
Ferrovial, the controlling shareholder in airport group BAA. apoplectic fit when we strike!
We owe this bunch of leeches, who suck off our Importantly, Dean Finch said that TfL made an offer
blood to make their profits, absolutely nothing. Our job isn't to buy Tube Lines last year. However, bringing down Tube
to help them 'manage' their crisis - it's to defend jobs, terms Lines could have serious financial consequences for the
and conditions, and safety. Just as with the bankers, we Mayor because TfL could be liable for the company's debts
didn't create the crisis - we sure as hell ain't gonna pay for it. of about £2bn, as well as having to raise the extra £400m
While they plan to attack us, it's worth reminding that it needs to meet Bolt's £4.4bn cost estimate.
ourselves what an incompetent, corrupt and greedy bunch of That's why behind the scenes it is LUL and the
bastards they really are. Mayor who are pushing Tube Lines to make massive cuts
This is the company that promised to upgrade the prior to any collapse and it being taken back in-house. Gerry
Jubilee Line with no more than 50 weekend closures, but Duffy, LUL's Director of Employee Relations, is said to be
has already had 120 and has now received another 28 with 'head-hunting' Tube Lines bosses to be part of his jobs-
still no guarantee that the job will be completed. This is the axing, union-busting, bully-boy team. Having Tube Lines do
bunch who are now asking for up to 86 weekend closures, the dirty work has two benefits for LUL and the Mayor.
early closures and partial closures for the Northern Line 1) they can avoid further job cuts when they take it
upgrade! over and just concentrate on the ones they're pushing for
Over the first seven years of the PPP, around £10 within LUL/TfL and 2) as part of their wider re-structure of
billion was spent - 2 per cent of which came from the LUL and TfL, they can 'bench-mark' the entire workforce
companies involved and 98 per cent from the public. Leaks with one that has just suffered job cuts, had it's Framework
have shown that taxpayers paid £144,000 a year for each of smashed to bits and is generally atomised - a race to the
Tube Lines' lowest paid manual labourers. Routine bottom.
meetings took place on chartered riverboats (the bar tab Another thing we must keep our eye on is that it
paid for by the public). Golf days were organised - with a wouldn't be inconceivable that the Mayor and LUL (and
DVD player, bought by the taxpayer, handed out at each government) know that Tube Lines are going to collapse and
hole for the staff member who landed closest. Moreover, are willing to take back in-house the maintenance side (once
Tubelines charged £240 million in "secondment fees" for as smashed) but keep the upgrades and projects works out for
few as 50 secondees! future tender and privatisation. After all this is what
Their top bods enjoy luxury housing in Greenwich, happened on the Mainline where the Maintenance work was
London Bridge and, of course, Canary Wharf - all off the brought back in-house under Network Rail but the renewals
back of our labour. were kept out for the privateers to profit.
Collusion VOTE YES FOR STRIKE ACTION
The collusion was there right from the outset. At the 1) Ballot papers will be out soon against job losses
time when the PPP contracts were signed back in 2002/3 and attacks on our conditions. We need to push for a
Andrew Cleaves was Tubelines' contract director. He was a massive Yes vote for both Strike Action and Action short of
former London Underground manager who worked on strike. The recent Signals strike illustrated how a serious
secondment to former transport secretary Stephen Byers “to strategy of continuous strike dates combined with work-to-
communicate the benefits of PPP”. Now he's returned as rule was extremely effective. We should emulate this with
interim Chairman since Dean Finch's departure. tactical adjustments where required.
Alex Foulds was Tubelines' director of business 2) We should call for the public ownership of the
planning. He used to be the “PPP transaction manager at the tube - end the PPP now without compensation to the
London Underground, responsible for developing the bosses and shareholders. Their bulging pockets need
contractual performance and payment regimes”. And trimming not further funding via the taxpayer.
Martin Brown was Tubelines' health and safety director. 3) Meanwhile, within our industry, a national ballot
He came to the firm from the Health and Safety Executive by RMT/TSSA is underway. The Metronet Signals strike is
where he agreed “the safety case” for PPP. suspended but hostilities will inevitably resume at some
Like a band of hostile brothers, Tube Lines and point, and tube workers among the operational grades are
LUL have been at each others throats of late. Even Boris gearing up for action against massive job cuts. Wherever
Johnson has stepped in with a clear agenda to finish Tube possible we should co-ordinate strike action for a
Lines off. generalised railway strike across the country prior to the
However, while they may be at each others throats, General Election. And, wherever possible, we should co-
they're all agreed on one thing - we're the ones who are ordinate with other trade unionists in BA or the Civil
going to have to pay. Their fallout is just about which of Service to co-ordinate dates for strike action.
them will reap the biggest rewards i.e.. profits. We didn't create the economic crisis. We’ve already
Boris Johnson wants Tube Lines to fail because it paid for it when the banks were bailed out. We’re not
was set up under Gordon Brown when he was chancellor paying again with our jobs.
and Boris wants to undercut him in the run up to a General VOTE YES: ORGAISE, RESIST, STRIKE!
www.across-the-tracks.posterous.com email: acrossthetracks@ymail.com