Every Job Matters Talks - Equalities Report & RMT Solutions To Concerns

Submitted by rmtlondon on Tue, 04/01/2014 - 01:10

A group of union reps are examining the impact of London Underground Ltd’s proposals for Fit for the Future – Stations on equality groups including women members, black and ethnic minority members, lesbian/gay/bi/trans members, disabled members, older members (55+) and younger members (under 30).

The RMT team of reps and activists have been researching and talking with senior tube bosses about the numerous concerns to equalities issues that are raised by the tube cuts proposals. This is the latest report, which concludes that "Fit For The Future - Stations will throw into reverse the trend over recent years towards progress on equalities issues."

The second part of the report also has suggested solutions to the many issues discovered into Lundon Underground's devastating job cuts plan.

The Report

  • Management informed us that the additional information we requested on 18th March was sent to RMT EQIA reps last night 27th March at 5:30pm. We have now received info but need time to consider.
  • Management gave the impression that they consider that the EQIA process will not lead to changes to Fit For the Future - Stations but simply to identify relatively minor mitigations to tick the right boxes and meet the minimum legal obligations. RMT made the point that assessing the impact on equality groups should form part of the process from the outset; it should not just be about mitigating the impact once decisions have already been made.
  • Management gave a presentation – it was really shabby! All unions made various points about this. Eg: that one of the proposed mitigations for assault is training. We find it a preposterous suggestion that LUL implies that it is staff behaviours that cause assault ... this is particularly offensive given that this strand of the talks is about equality and the type of assaults we are talking about are racist assaults, sexual assaults, homophobic assaults, etc. we asked the question how LUL intended to train women to avoid being sexually assaulted and LUL had no answer to this question!
  • We highlighted the fact that LUL has clearly not carried out credible research or created a body of evidence in forming its assessment of equality impact, eg. its assessment that there will be no negative impact on women, men, black and ethnic minority people, disabled people, faith groups. They even admitted in the meeting that their assessment was based on ‘subjective’ ‘perception’.
  • It has become clear that the new staffing model requires everybody to be fit, healthy and mobile and that anyone who isn’t will be treated as an abnormality. LUL’s proposed mitigation is to deal with individuals on a case-by-case basis with the support of Occupational Health. LUL also lists allowing staff to apply for ‘VS if no mitigation can be found’ as a mitigation, which sounds like LUL will force us out of the door rather than accommodating us. Disability is an issue that affects every LUL member of staff; we are all going to get old and could develop a medical condition at any point.

We went on to present the following ten headline points:

Fit for the Future - Equalities: Ten Initial Concerns

The concerns RMT equalities reps have initially identified, with proposed solutions, are as follows:

  1. By creating a new, lower-paid grade and higher-paid manager grades on stations, the proposed new structure will widen inequalities in the workplace, especially pay inequality, including the gender pay gap.

    Solution: Stations reorganisation should not include the creation of a new, lower-paid grade; and should not introduce pay rates for managers with a higher pay differential over non-managerial grades than currently exists.

  2. Under its equality duty, LUL also has a responsibility to improve relationships between different group. FFTF-S will do the opposite, by widening inequalities as explained in 1 above, and by giving higher-paid grades working on stations disciplinary power over lower-paid grades who work alongside them.

    Solution: Disciplinary power should remain with managers who do not work directly alongside staff on the stations. Station Supervisors - or any new grade that replaces it and takes on its functions - should not have disciplinary power over other station staff.

  3. As LUL itself admits, Fit For The future - Stations will have a negative impact on disabled staff, especially those who currently work in ticket offices, who may be less able to carry out a new role.

    Solution: Retain ticket office jobs.

  4. Removing Station Supervisors from some stations - those categorised Local B - and reducing the overall number of station staff will increase the frequency of staff working alone in an open area of the station. LUL also expects these staff to carry expensive electronic equipment. This will lead to more abuse and assaults, disproportionately against those more vulnerable to abuse and assault, including many equality groups. LUL's own documentation recognises an increased risk of assault, both from staff dealing with ticketing issues outside ticket offices, and from increased lone working, but its suggested mitigations do not adequately address this.

    Solution: A new station staffing model should ensure that no member of staff works alone in an open area of the station; there should always be at least one other member of staff (a Station Supervisor or equivalent) on duty. Retention of ticket offices would provide protection from abuse and assault.

  5. Significantly more black and ethnic minority staff are employed in the grades in the scope of FFTF-S than across TfL in generally. Therefore, any reduction in jobs in these grades will reduce the overall percentage of black and ethnic minority staff employed by TfL.

    Solution: Station staffing reorganisation should involve no overall loss of jobs.

  6. LUL proposes to protect earnings of displaced staff for only three years, and claims that many of these staff will achieve promotion during this period and therefore not be adversely affected. However, some equality groups, such as disabled and older staff, may find it more difficult to achieve promotion and therefore will be more likely to suffer a loss of earnings after three years.

    Solution: Protection of earnings to apply for the full duration of a staff member's employment - as is already the policy in Service Control.

  7. The overall reduction in the number of station staff posts proposed under FFTF-S will reduce the scope that LUL has to accommodate requests for flexible working and reasonable adjustments, both for existing station staff and for staff being transferred to stations to accommodate their needs. This will disadvantage staff with caring responsibilities and with disabilities.

    Solution: Station staffing reorganisation should involve no overall loss of jobs.

  8. The equality impact on passengers will be significant and detrimental. Those who use ticket offices and help from station staff are disproportionately disabled people, older people, non-English speaking people, etc.

    Solution: Retain ticket offices, retain overall level of station staffing, ensure that the new model of station staffing maximises customer service to these and other groups.

  9. There are equality issues that should be included in the station-by-station review of ticket offices and staffing levels. For example, a station may be close to a hospital or other facility used by disabled people, or may be in an area with a diverse multi-lingual population. Passengers using these stations will disproportionately need to use a ticket office and assistance from station staff.

    Solution: Ensure that the station-by-station review considers equalities issues for each station.

  10. London has a serious problem with youth unemployment. London needs more jobs, not fewer. In its current form, FFTF-S will exacerbate this problem.

    Solution: Station staffing reorganisation should involve no overall loss of jobs.

Overall, these concerns lead us to believe that Fit For The Future - Stations will throw into reverse the trend over recent years towards progress on equalities issues.

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