London Underground Management threatens safety culture

26 July 2005

Tube train drivers have warned that the dispute affecting the Piccadilly line could spread.

"By violating the agreement London Underground managers are threatening the entire safety culture of the tube system" said ASLEF negotiator Terry Wilkinson.

"The Christmas Eve strike is caused by the employer"s disregard for safety review procedures jointly agreed with the unions and designed to identify solutions to problems like signals passed at danger" he said.

"Arnos Grove drivers are not striking to protect an individual driver disciplined for passing signals at danger. They are angry that management have violated the joint agreement which is designed to enhance safety."

"LUL are playing public relations poker by ramping up a dispute sparked by their own actions" said Terry Wilkinson


Background

Piccadilly line train drivers at Arnos Grove voted to take industrial action over unfair treatment meted out to a driver colleague.

Driver anger was sparked by the failure of management to implement action plans following signals passed at danger, the manner in which the case conference was held and the conduct of an appeal which took place without the presence of the driver, an ASLEF member, or an ASLEF representative.

The procedure agreed between unions and LUL specifies the following procedure:

After a signal is passed at danger the driver and line managers agree an action plan that includes a review of the circumstances, a technical evaluation, and identifies any training needs. (In the Arnos Grove case this did not take place).

After a second signal is passed at danger a similar procedure is followed. (In the Arnos Grove case this did take place).

A similar procedure is supposed to be followed in event of a third SPAD (In the Arnos Grove case this was not implemented)

After a fourth SPAD - and irrespective of intervals between earlier SPADS - a case conference is convened which more exhaustively examines the issues with the participation of the driver, the line manager, a union representative and an employee relations department representative.

The trade unions and the employer agreed this procedure precisely to protect safety.

It facilitates an early scrutiny of the actual circumstances in which SPADs occur, secures the willing participation of all participants and encourages a problem solving approach.

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