London Underground Service Increase
As London Underground ramps up services from Monday, ASLEF has advised members of their right to refuse to work in circumstances where they are at risk of serious and imminent danger.
Finn Brennan, ASLEF's organiser on the Underground, said: 'Despite our objections, London Underground has insisted that, from next week, train drivers revert to working as they did before the covid-19 crisis. They are being told that they can no longer continue to work in the safer way that they have been working over the last six weeks.
'This is because the government is insisting that Transport for London maximises the service it operates, regardless of the implications for driver safety. Forty-two TfL workers have already lost their lives to this dreadful disease. The government appears to regard them as nothing more than collateral damage.
'Until now Underground train services have been operated by drivers working to and from depots so that all unnecessary contact with other individuals and passengers is restricted. This has now been stopped, directly putting the safety of Tube train drivers at risk.
'ASLEF does not believe that London Underground has fulfilled the requirements for genuine consultation with staff and this trade union. We want to see services increased but this has to be done in a way that is safe for passengers and safe for staff.
'Consequently, we have advised our members of their statutory right to refuse to work in circumstances where they are at risk of serious and imminent danger.
'Tube drivers have risked their own safety and that of their families to keep services moving for essential workers over the last six weeks. Now they are being asked to take unacceptable and unnecessary risks. They are frightened for themselves and frightened for their families.'
The government bailout of TfL has forced fare rises onto ordinary Londoners – a condition it did not, perhaps predictably, impose on private providers on the main line.
'Once again,' said Mick Whelan, general secretary, 'It's one rule for the public companies and another for the private.'