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LUL: the highs and lows of ACAS talks

27 August 2015

Over recent months the pace of talks held at ACAS has ranged from no dialogue, to talks that moved two steps forward, then one step backwards, to much more constructive dialogue in recent days. It has taken LU a long time to engage meaningfully with the trades unions, making resolution of the dispute painfully slow, giving rise to frustration amongst everyone involved, TSSA members included.

The increased momentum in recent talks was driven by the threat of the 48 hour strike scheduled for this week. TSSA members show of strength, and their determination to take further action in unity with sister unions, deserves great recognition and praise. As a result of your resolve, in the days immediately before the strike action this week, talks got underway with a sense of urgency that had been lacking previously. Consequently, we began to make progress made in some areas.

On the eve of the planned strike action we had reached a critical stage in talks; agreement on some but not all of the non-pay related issues had been reached and with time running short, it was clear that there was not time to address Pay 2015 and Night Tube payments in the time remaining. Given the change in LU management’s approach to talks, and the prospect of making real progress, it was felt appropriate by all trades unions to suspend the strike action to allow further talks to take place.

Nonetheless, there remain a number of key issues still to be addressed in talks, including some serious concerns that we have around health and safety in relation to FftFS and Night Tube. TSSA, RMT, ASLEF and Unite remain in dispute with LU, and whether or not further strike action is necessary will depend upon the outcomes of our ongoing talks with LU. The trades unions have agreed dates for future joint strike action in the event that talks with LU break down again.

The Dispute Resolution Framework

To facilitate meaningful talks on the complex range of issues associated with this dispute – covering all of the functional councils in LU, discussions have been organised into three main headings, as below, with work-life balance concerns being addressed in each of these areas:

1) FftFS

2) Night Tube

3) Rates of Pay and Conditions of Service for 2015.

A fundamental win for the trades unions in these talks is that LU management have now acknowledged and agreed that changes to framework agreements must be negotiated with and agreed by the trades unions, rather than change being unilaterally imposed by LU, as was their position at the start of these talks.

This has paved the way for progress and talks specific to each of Train Operations, Track and Signals, Service Control, Stations and MATS. Talks covering each of these functional areas have therefore taken place in parallel to each other, alongside wider talks on pay and Night Tube.

Talks on FftFS have been constructive, and given the commitment that any changes to the Stations Framework Agreement must be achieved by negotiation and agreement, we have been successful in gaining some positive commitments from LU regarding work-life balance and retention of existing working practices and arrangements.

Industrial Action Short of Strike Suspended

Following consultation with members and representations by your senior reps it has been agreed to suspend the overtime ban until further notice, with immediate effect. All TSSA members at London Underground are therefore instructed by Manuel Cortes, TSSA General Secretary to work your normal duties, including any overtime, in accordance with your day to day job roles and shift patterns.

What happens next?

Talks at ACAS have resumed and updates will be provided on any further progress made. TSSA will continue with talks until such time as all parties can positively reach an amicable settlement. But, in the meantime we will serve formal notice to London Underground informing them of future strike dates. Members will be notified upon notice being served.

For info or to get involved contact your Functional/H&S Rep:

Mary Anastasiou:
Hemant Patel:
Nigel Bruver:
Jason Turvey:
Jim Whyte:
Yogesh Pankhania (H&S):
Clive Stedman (H&S):

United we stand and will not be divided!



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