Don't Believe The Hype

Especially if it comes from a polictical source that knows bugger all about running a railway

or from the 'Yes' men minions carrying out their scandalous slashing in the name of efficiency.

 

So what is all this inconvenient strike nonsense about then?
It's all about more money for train drivers obviously!

Of course it's bloody not but for a second you believed it, you believed it due to years of PR, Semantics, Word Play and at times outright bull by our illustrious Mayor (remember his pledge and petition signing against ticket office closures), TfL PR, LULs top man and his merry band of staff slashing minions who know little more than how to say yes and for that very ability they are paid handsome amounts. So much for respecting it's customers! And last but not least London's Evening Standard, I can't tell you just how much blatently incorrect crap this rag feeds you, The only use I have for this paper, ahem, involves wiping, your imagination can figure the rest out.

For years you have been lied to and hoodwinked about LULs staff but don't believe me, contact LUL or a Freedom of Information request asking in the last 10 years how many days industrial action has taken place over staff terms and conditions (money), the number may just surprise you! I am willing to bet the number you estimate is far greater than the actual number - boom that's the LUL PR machines job done

I'm am very sorry but I have to tell you the current industrial action HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH MONEY, not even a shiny penny. I appologise for taking the one reason to hate every member of our network that is resposible for London and all that she is (to a large degree anyway) and her contribution to the entire UK.
The current dispute is about the loss of about 960 station staff positions. These losses are in the name of efficiency, technology, better customer service and cost savings - BOLLOCKS (sorry).

It's true that LUL as part of TfL has to make savings, significant savings but never should this be done at the expense of front line staffing. You see without adequate front line staffing we cannot continue to provide a level of service that we do now but more on that shortly, without front line staffing we would never continue a sustained record of carrying increasingly greater numbers of passengers, not safely anyway - note to the higher echelons: if we as a company win sod all in future then all those many champagne fuelled awards dinners for you will soon dry up! How many times have you read that LUL has won another award for greater productivity etc. It's our front line staff that have delivered those gains every single day. The station staff that greet you in the morning, the train operator that gets you from A to B on an aging network, the signallers that makes sure the right trains go to the right places. To be honest if all LUL management spent a month on a tropical island you would not notice the difference because we would continue to do what we do best.
Did you know that LUL and it's staff move just over the same number of passengers as the entire National Rail Network in England, Wales and Scotland - yes really we do.

 

LUL know that they pay the external contractors so much more money than they should. So much money they could make their savings without any cuts just by bringing the contracted services back in house, a fortune to be saved right there for sure. It's why they do not talk about them often but lets suggest a few of their prime examples: the no longer in existence Metronet (you are probably still paying for that one), The Bombardier £80 million loss over the SSL signalling system upgrade. There we go millions already, who else are they throwing YOUR millions at?

 

So why the dispute over the cuts? The Mayor tells us that 960 positions are to be culled and as many as 1000 staff have applied for voluntry severence (if you believe those numbers), it all sounds great.

 

But it isn't, no matter what you are told about staff coming out of ticket offices onto stations to assist passengers you will experience a worse service. You see if it was that simple where would the cost savings come from? Starting to smell a fish? The truth is in a period as short as a year those taking voluntry severence will be gone never to be replaced, the remaining numbers will be lost through 'Natural Methods' i.e leavers, those retiring, sackings etc never to be replaced. So we will be faced with operating an increasingly busier network with about 1000 less staff. Instead you will have stations managed by a supervisor possibly 3 or so stations away using an iPad and we all know that technology never fails!

 

So when you are told you will receive far less service for your not inconsiderable fares you should believe it.
Lets look at some of the things our station staff do now:

  • Sell tickets at ticket office windows, regardless of what you are told these types of transaction number in millions still
  • Assist passengers resolve Oyster issues even though Oyster is supposedly perfect
  • They provide revenue protection so you are not paying for many to travel
  • Assist with service information
  • Provide both network and local directions
  • Assist disabled and visually impaired passengers
  • Assist large groups often comprising of young school children to move safely around the network
  • Monitor for safety issues such as platform crowding during peak times
  • Conduct emergency evacuations (7/7 anyone)
  • Assist with train defects allowing service resumption
  • They assist with infrastructure failures
  • Their numbers contribute to reductions in crimes and anti social behaviour
  • They are 1st responders to medical emergencies
  • They spot the signs of potential suicide and have on great many occasions intervened and prevented such incidents
  • They respond and assist with 'One Unders"
  • They chat to or keep an eye on the Lone late night travellers
  • They remove the very drunk passengers for no other reason than for their own safety when they are er wobbly
  • They run down tunnels during events like 7/7 whilst emergency services wait on platforms for an hour in case of secondary devices
  • They walk hundreds or thousands of passengers safely from trains through tunnels in the event of train/power/infrastructure failures
  • They provide information during distruption when everyone is screaming at them
  • They on occasion shrug off verbal assaults to continue with their duty even though they may not feel like it
  • They work very hard, very quickly to locate/reunite separated family memebrs etc, sometimes involving children

 

These are just a few of the way too numerous to list here functions our station staff provide, functions which WILL BE LOST after the cuts are put in place. Yet you will continue to pay the same as you do now. Don't believe it will result in savings to you otherwise where will these government demanded savings come from?

 

I realise you may feel you have never used station staff for any of the reasons listed but rest assured they have helped you on many occasions. The best bit about them is most of the time you do not realise just what they do and how they may of helped you.
What if you needed them for such situations in the future? how do you feel knowing they just will not be there?

 

What can you do? Support striking staff members, they are not on a jolly up, they DO NOT GET PAID for the time they are on strike, they are losing their money to try to save your service.
You could email the Mayor
You can contact LUL Customer Services and let them know how you feel
You can take to social media to protest the cuts are just a few examples
London underground is a public service, YOUR public service, if you do not support the action then there is no telling where it will end!