AUTOMATIC TRAIN OPERATION TRAINING, SMA3, DISTRICT LINE – LONDON UNDERGROUND (LUL/11/2)
Further to my previous Circular (IR/007/1/21, 8th January 2021), the following resolution was received from Piccadilly & District West Branch:-
“This Branch notes that despite the RMT concerns over safety and preparedness, LU management decided to plough ahead with the operational proving weekend on the 9th and 10th January.
That weekend did not prove the railways readiness for automatic running or improved the readiness of the train operators for automatic running, it additionally saw numerous breaches of the covid guidance and regulations.
Despite this management plan to go “live” on the 6th March 2021!
It is unacceptable to our members, that training has not been agreed, that support has not been agreed, and as such, going live should be postponed until all train operators along with signalers and support technicians are fully trained and ready.
Our Regional Organiser has written to LU demanding that this project be postponed until such time all training can be carried out safely and to the standard of other similar line projects.
This Branch demands that written confirmation that the going live of SMA3 be delayed, in line with this resolution, (until all training and confidence trips are complete in the SMA3 area) if this is not received in a timely fashion, we call on the General Secretary to declare a dispute and ballot all affected members for strike action and action short of strike”.
This matter has been considered by the National Executive Committee, which has noted the resolution and is appalled that London Underground ignored the warnings given to them by RMT, our Officer and Reps and went ahead with an SMA3 proving weekend. This exercise was a farce with multiple serious health and safety breaches that our reps have raised with London Underground.
In addition to serious operational safety breaches the exercise caused many members to attend work unnecessarily during the Covid pandemic and many breaches of social distancing were observed. These too have been raised by our reps with management.
I previously wrote to LUL on 8th January to demand the postponement of non-essential proving work on the SMA3 project and in line with the NEC decision, I have now written to the Company again to advise that a dispute situation exists over its refusal to suspend the roll out of SMA3.
I have also arranged to meet with the Lead Officer and Reps, along with the SAGS and NEC regarding this issue and I will of course keep Branches advised of all further developments.