Tube Strike: The Other Side Of The Story

** UPDATE **

In light of some feedback I’d like to also direct readers to an article in the Indie: Misconceptions of London’s Striking Tube Drivers.

James O’Brien’s rant on LBC also hits the nail on the head over why industrial action is such import right for workers to have, and being taught to hate unions and workers is a dangerous and divisive tool.

As before, I’m not asking for you to change your mind on the subject, just for you to open your mind to both sides of the argument.

Thanks for sharing. 

Friends and Readers,

It’s not often I get highly opinionated on this blog but I thought in this instance it was important. I often see a number of misunderstood (to use the term lightly) posts on social media from friends and colleagues criticising (again I use the term lightly) the Unions and workers choosing to strike this week. I therefore would like to share with you some comments of a real London Underground worker. I’m not asking you to suddenly support the strike, and I’m not asking you to completely agree. What I am asking is that you at least take the time to read the views of someone on the other side. Don’t swallow TfL’s spin and the media hype, take the time to form your own opinions by hearing the views of a worker the Night Tube will affect. So often I read comments of ‘Greedy Overpaid Drivers,’ but have you taken the time to consider it might be about more than money? The comments bellow are from London Underground worker Mick Davey. I don’t know Mick, nor do I know if he is a driver or station working or some other grade within the company. But as someone who has two close family members working for London Underground in a similar position, I am becoming increasingly angry with comments from strangers and friends alike bad mouthing their profession without considering the facts first. If you don’t agree with the post bellow, that’s absolutely fine, but at least take the time to consider it. (There’s also an interesting alternative view from the HuffPost here). It is only this way that you can properly make an informed decision about which side you support.

Thanks for your time, Andy.

Dear All my Commuter friends & anyone else who is interested in details of the strike action and dispute between TfL and their staff.

As you know I don’t usually comment on my work life as nobody really cares about other people’s jobs but due to some friends posting complete bullshit that they’ve copied and pasted from the media and haven’t got the common sense to ask someone who actually knows what they’re talking about now leaves me to enlighten you.

This dispute is not about money!

You can expect the usual barrage of total bollox in the media about “Greedy Overpaid Train Drivers” but this dispute has never been about money, It is about protecting work life balance and making sure that change in contracts are negotiated, not just imposed. And it’s not only Train drivers that voted for industrial action, it’s every grade of staff that works on the Underground network.

Everyone I work with that I know has given the same message, we cannot continue to have more and more weekend and anti-social hours working.
I have never been opposed to Night Tube, but it has to be introduced in a way that is fair; that recognises that staff are human beings with lives and families as well as a job.

The job I signed up to do works 1 week of nights over a 52 week period, sometimes 2 weeks if need be but under new terms I would have to work a minimum of 14 weeks of nights. I have a family, I would like to see them at weekend, shift work already takes a lot of that away. TfL can offer as much as they want, I work to live, not live to work.

TfL could have spent the last three months genuinely discussing how to resolve this dispute. They chose not to. They have not changed their position in any way (until yesterday, keep reading I’ll get to that).

If London comes to a halt this week, the people who should be blamed are not those who work hard to keep it moving all year round. It is the directors, and those above them, who simply do not believe that their staff have a right to a reasonable quality of life.

Yesterday’s events (Monday 6th July) at ACAS were really quite extraordinary. TfL having failed to change their offer for the last three months, now made a new proposal in the afternoon, but explained that it was “time bound” and would be “withdrawn if its conditions were not accepted by 18.30 this evening” by all four trade unions and industrial action was suspend.

TfL must have been aware that of course it would be impossible for Unions to comply with this ultimatum. Unions would need to properly consider the implications of the proposal and consult with Reps and their Executive Committees. Unions offered to return to ACAS at 12.00 today (Tuesday 7th July) to respond to the proposal but were told that it would be off the table after 18.30 today (Monday).

To be clear, Unions did not rejected the offer. It has been withdrawn because the four Trade Unions were unable to comply with an utterly unrealistic “take it or leave it” ultimatum. It is pointless for Unions to express an opinion on an offer that no longer exists.

This now puts Unions in a position where there is no offer on pay, conditions or Night Tube on the table. It is difficult to believe that TfL are negotiating in good faith. Their offer seems to have been designed, not to resolve the dispute but to be used as a way to blame the Unions for what now seems to be inevitable industrial action.

Union members voted by a record breaking margin for industrial action.

I personally believe that TfL do not want to run a Night Tube service as it will cost them millions, the train and track are maintained to a minimum standard as it is but the Mayor of London announced it before it was ever discussed so they had to push ahead with it. I have a feeling TfL will now say it can’t run Night Tube due to the Unions but in reality they actually don’t want it.

Strike action will start from 21.30 on Wednesday 8th July.

Thanks for reading x

– Mick Davey

Original post:

Postscript: In the interest of fairness here is TfL’s press release, “A Message To London” from Mike Brown. When reading this, please be very weary of the paragraph detailing the ‘deal‘ TfL have offered their employees. The same deal that was supposed to be ‘off the table‘ and therefore invalid two afternoons ago… Hmm, You can see how easy it is for TfL and the media to spin you…