RMT prepares to ballot drivers over impostiton of 'Covid-19' timetables

Dear colleague



Your union notes with alarm London Underground’s intention to impose duty rosters at train operator depots that will provide for a significant ramping up of the current emergency level of service on the Tube.

These rosters are being imposed while your employer continues to insist that it has no such plans to ramp up the service, yet media reports suggest that the government is briefing that restrictions on Tube use may be lifted in May.

London Underground has made no attempt whatsoever to discuss a safe way in which services could be ramped up and has refused to allow your local safety reps to scrutinise the rosters that are due to be imposed in the next fortnight.

London Underground’s actions show that in spite of the Coronavirus emergency, your employer continues to act in a confrontational and dictatorial way. The safety of our members is clearly being relegated behind the political interests of the government and London Mayor.

Your National Executive Committee has considered this matter and has instructed me to advise London Underground that this union is now in dispute with it over the imposition of these rosters.

I am now in the process of compiling a matrix of our Train Operators and Instructor Operators in preparation of this ballot commencing and I would therefore urge you to ensure RMT has all your up to date information with regards your job title, work location and personal details to ensure this matrix is accurate.

You should continue to work normally and under management instructions with regard to booking on. However, members must also ensure that social distancing guidelines are maintained at all times.

Your union believes that that the imposed rosters will compromise social distancing by:

- Requiring more staff to be in depots than is necessary
- Requiring train operators to travel back to their depots ‘on the cushions’
- Requiring train operators to take meal-reliefs in depots.
- Increasing the number of unscheduled detrainments which will put train operators under pressure to move through trains or along platforms where maintaining social distancing will be impossible.

Members should exercise their legal rights not to place themselves in serious or imminent danger if their social distancing cannot be guaranteed. I can assure you that your union will do everything possible to support any member exercising their legal rights not to be put in danger.

Your NEC has also instructed me to write to the London Mayor protesting against this imposition and the failure of London Underground to discuss its plans for increasing services on the Tube with your union and I shall be doing this in due course.

I would finally stress that negotiations are ongoing on this matter and are expected to continue into next week, so please look out for further information on this as the situation could change quickly.

I will of course keep you fully advised with all further developments on this matter.

Yours sincerely

Mick Cash
General Secretary