Overtime works against us

Why working overtime works against us…

The sudden sharp increase in station closures demonstrates what we always knew; the job requires more station staff, not fewer. 

LU has made clear its intention to get shot of around 600 CSA posts. Talks between RMT and LU have gone nowhere but the strength of the strikes on 1st/3rd March forced a partial (temporary) climbdown on pensions and now LU is looking to take on a grade or a function at a time. 

Overtime is always a tricky one on stations, (as it is in LU Engineering and some other functions). In principle RMT is against all overtime; we want a proper clean salary, fatigue-free rosters and quality time off. 

But no trade union worth its salt would simply allow management to leave duties uncovered all the time, run down staffing levels and dump all the work on the few who were in. 

So we have generally demanded that LU follows the Business Needs Schematics (BNS) and covers all duties, otherwise we all end up knackered. 

However, a job run on overtime is a job run on the cheap. For a start, overtime pay is not pensionable and this saves the company a fortune. You may well like the time & a quarter enhancement but you’re being robbed. Salaries paid with habitual overtime give a false sense of earnings. Overtime is also entirely at the gift of management and can be withdrawn at any time. Already many AMs simply won’t cover duties and won’t pay overtime. 

Moreover it sets worker against worker as people scramble for overtime and everyone knows so many resentments arise over the hunt for overtime. 

Previous generations of NUR/RMT members on this job fought and lost money to get the working week down from 48 hours to 40, then to 37.5 and to our present contractual 35h week with 52 days annual leave. Their sacrifice made the job the highly sought after job it is today.

However, the cost of living crisis is real, and it’s hurting, so what should we do when the largest number of uncovered duties are those of the lowest paid grades, the CSA2s & CSA1s? 
The ugly truth is that if LU wins and gets to slash the 600 CSA posts, (the proposed implementation date is around September) then there simply won’t be any uncovered duties because that will have become the new ‘normal’. 

So anyone looking to swerve the overtime ban needs to bear in mind that whilst there may be some OT in June-September as the company tries to undermine our fightback, come the autumn not only will you have slit your throat, but we’ll be in a weaker position to fight for a new pay deal. Our next deal (this one is now finished) is likely to be played out against a backdrop of high inflation. 

To return to where we started; the sudden sharp increase in station closures proves the job requires more station staff, not fewer. Station closures are a PR nightmare for LU and the Mayor. LU has told the Mayor the job can be run to the Tory government budget. It isn’t true. We need to demonstrate this every day. The Mayor is our boss and is slashing our jobs. We need maximum pressure on him and the government. 

Don’t put overtime over jobs

  • This blog post was contributed by a Stations' Functional Council rep