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Results of London Underground members' survey

11 November 2016

London Underground ticket office survey

TSSA is recognised by Transport for London and London Underground for collective bargaining purposes and over the last few years the Union has been in the thick of resisting cuts to ticket offices imposed by the previous London Mayor, Boris Johnson. That change was introduced in April 2016 and meant that not only were ticket offices closed across the Underground but staff were sought for voluntary redundancy in circa of 800 jobs cut across stations and others were reassigned to work on concourses and platforms carrying out multi-functional duties with tickets
only being issued from machines. The reduction of posts across LU stations have since left staff unable to cope with the demands of running busy stations and many station control rooms, where communication and alarm systems should be monitored have been closed.

With the announcement by Sadiq Khan, the new Mayor, that a review would be carried out of the ticket office closures and new working practices imposed through the Fit for Future (FFtF) scheme, TSSA decided in September 2016 to carry out its own six monthly assessment. Our purpose was to ensure that by a survey of staff their voice would not be lost in the broader analysis of the FFtF arrangement
and followed on from reports of heightened safety concerns by members.

TSSA’s safety impact survey ran from 26th September to 7th October 2016 and was designed to be completed by LU Station staff, namely Customer Service Assistant (CSA) members.

Summary of results

The results from the survey have showed up some startling evidence that reveals a
passenger service system in deep crisis. Amongst those results are that:

  • A staggering 80% of TSSA members now feel less safe at work than they did
  • before FFtF was introduced;
  • 74% of our members report increases in passenger frustrations with ticket
  • machines;
  • A spike in abuse towards customer facing staff, 70.45% now reporting an
  • increase in physical or verbal abuse or attacks since the ticket offices
  • closed;
  • More than 12,000 separate incidents of passenger abuse towards CSAs have been recorded on a company issued ipad app;
  • This has caused increased stress at work adversely impacting on staff work-life balance with some members reporting work is now exhausting, anxiety-inducing, disrupting their sleep patterns with some members reporting they are afraid of going to and being at work;
  • Staff cuts have left many surface stations unstaffed or with employees having to deal with lone working issues;
  • Staff cuts have resulted in station security checks not being carried out in accordance with the correct safety procedures with asset checks being skipped and less safety checks taking place;
  • Some sub surface stations remain open even when they do not have sufficient staff on duty in contravention of the fire safety legislation whilst others have to rely on overtime working to stay open;
  • Not enough ticket machines to cope with demand in peak periods, give refunds, provide replacement Oyster cards, or give change to large bank notes;
  • Fare evasion is now more likely than pre April.

To cope with the crisis, London Underground has instigated practices that TSSA members have told us include:

  • Long shift patterns with some members reporting that they have been rostered to work for eight consecutive days;
  • A lack of training and a failure to retain new staff leading to overstretched rosters;
  • The pressure to do overtime – reported by 80% of survey respondents - of which there is more than ever before;
  • Part-time staff now being asked to work additional hours;
  • Full-time staff now being asked to work additional overtime to assist with Night Tube, contrary to agreement reached with the unions at ACAS and the recruitment of part-time staff designed to cover Night Tube only.

All of this has resulted in the staff having a lack of faith in management to resolve the crisis.

When asked how they would improve customer service and their own work environment, all respondents wanted:

  • an increase in staffing levels;
  • a return to dedicated ticket offices
  • no more lone working and
  • a return to the way it was before FFtF which includes reinstating the Special Requirement Teams of extra staff to be laid on at stations which cope with big events - sporting, musical, etc.

The full survey results can be found here:   Ticket office survey report

 

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