District Line Hit By Strike at Acton Depot on Friday

Industrial action taken over reassignment of 'unsafe' driver

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There was reduced service on the District line this Friday (13 April) due to strike action by members of the ASLEF union.

Tube drivers based at the Acton Town depot took industrial action over a dispute about a recently qualified driver who was involved in a number of safety incidents.

The union say London Underground (LU) failed to follow agreed policies and procedures in the case and that they have refused for two months to meet to talk about the matter.

LU say the driver experienced a number of incidents in their first few months on the job and therefore was reassigned to a station staff role. The driver had three separate safety incidents in 11 weeks, leading to a mutual decision for them to return to a role at a station which they had carried out recently. The driver was not disciplined, but agreed to the move which was proposed as part of the safety processes agreed to by our trade unions to ensure the safety of customers.

There were delays to journeys on the District line throughout the day. All other Tube lines operated as normal. Full service on the District line resumed on Saturday morning.

Finn Brennan, ASLEF’s organiser on the Underground, said, ‘We have repeatedly offered to meet to discuss this dispute but, instead of getting around the table, they have sent a stream of letters threatening legal action to try to prevent our members from exercising their democratic right to strike.

‘ASLEF members at Acton voted by 98% in favour of strike action. We expect another big "Yes" vote in our ballot of members at Earl’s Court due this week. But, instead of recognising the concerns of our members, and reps, LU management are refusing to acknowledge that they have failed to follow their own procedures; threatened a disciplinary hearing to make a driver “agree” to be redeployed; and now refuse to talk to this union.

‘When management are intent on getting their way by threats and intimidation then we need to take a strong stand to protect our agreements and ensure fair treatment at work.’

Nigel Holness, London Underground’s Director of Network Operations, said, “The safety of our customers and our staff is our top priority. In this case, a driver was offered an alternative role on our stations following a number of safety incidents in their first few months of driving. With so many incidents in a short space of time, despite several weeks of training and assistance, it was simply not safe for this employee to continue in a role as a driver.

“The situation is not as the union has described as no disciplinary action has been taken against the employee and our action is in line with the safety policies agreed with our trade unions. I apologise to customers for the disruption this completely unnecessary strike will cause and call on the unions to continue working with us to ensure the safety of our customers and staff.”

April 14, 2018

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