HSCC Building Dispute – Target the no voters

In the latest turn of events LU has shown their true colours with communications to staff & members strategically targeting no voters to try and turn the vote. It sounds like something out a Trump and Twitter election scandal, but we hope this message shows the true nature of the comms machine they are using to keep bums on seats to move trains and how low they will go. The underlying principle is no matter how good a manager is, their role is to keep you at work moving trains; no matter what misinformation they have to feed you to do this.

We do have sympathy for the local team that are trying to fix the issues; but they don’t hold the purse strings to fix the problems, nor the authority or building project management experience to do the work. The battle is with the senior LU team to provide a dedicated project management team and funding to fix the building and to actually start the work. Until boots are on the ground, everything sent from LU in their comms is as good as a science fiction novel, and not a very good one at that.

HSCC Building Improvements - Current Real Progress Bar %
Progress 3%

The facts - Responding to LU

Propaganda Email sent from LU to Staff at HSCC

“I’m writing to explain the current situation with the building and how this relates to a ballot for industrial action that is being organised by the RMT. Those of you that are RMT members will shortly be asked to vote for both strike action and action short of a strike purely in relation to the facilities in the building.”

This is your legal right under trade union laws and LU should not be interfering with this process by targeting voters.

“Firstly, I want to express my disappointment at the RMT’s decision to ballot over these issues. I feel that we have a productive working relationship with all grades at Hammersmith and we have been very open and honest with you about the plans for the building and the reasons for delays to the work. The RMT are also well aware of these plans and have been for some time so the decision to ballot over these issues is totally unnecessary. We fully accept that there have been significant delays to a lot of the plans but while this may sound like an excuse, coronavirus has effectively stopped everything for around 6 months.”

The RMT has a very different working relationship that LU describe here, they have ignored members and reps for years on the issues of the building and we told them it was not ready to be occupied.

“Secondly, we need to be clear that industrial action will not achieve any additional improvements to the building nor will it accelerate any of the planned work. We remain totally committed to delivering the best possible facilities for you al land will continue to work towards providing these as quickly as we possibly can. Some of the work is very complicated and will take a lengthy period of time. There will also be some disruption while the work takes place which will be unavoidable.”

If the work is so complicated why is it being done by local managers? If they were committed to getting the work done a dedicated building project manager qualified in the role would be progressing the project. At this stage it isn’t even a recognised issue or within the scope of LU projects meaning there is no commitment to do the work.

Since the government restrictions have eased, we have been reviewing progress on a weekly basis with all relevant parties and momentum is gathering significantly.

Current workstreams are as follows

1- “Rear pathway to be constructed between the rear access gate and the existing roadway outside the control room. The financial approval has been given for this work and contractors should be completing this work during the autumn.”

Autumn began on the 22nd September? This work hasn’t begun, maybe winter or summer next year would be more realistic?

2- “Provision of additional facilities for all planned future migrations along with additional capacity to ‘future-proof’ the building as much as possible. Outline plans have been shared with you all and detailed design has commenced with on-site visits taking place this week. This is complicated work and involves surveying and designing the integration of the new elements into the existing building systems. These works will provide additional toilets, showers and lockers for male staff along with dedicated female toilet facilities on the ground floor. This will be a significant improvement on our current position.”

We welcome plans to ‘future proof’ the building for future migrations (SMA3 or 12?), however if they don’t have a date set for this work to begin how can they know it will be ready for the next migration (SMA3). We suspect the wording SMA3 has been left out on purpose.

3- “Provision of a ‘breakout’ area in the control room. This will include a new soft seating area and we are aiming to provide additional tea/coffee facilities within the control room so that more staff can use the facilities at the same time.”

When will this happen?

4- “A deep clean of the existing tea point is being arranged.”

How long does it take to book a cleaner?

5- “The improved level of cleaning within the building and control room will continue.”

Sorry when did this start?

6- “High level cleaning and replacement of the lighting in the control room with LED bulbs is being progressed with our contractors.”

Another holding tactic, an on-going use of terms such as ‘progessing’  ‘planning’ ‘should be’ ‘arranged’ becomes a theme in LU comms.

7- “Further work to stabilise the air conditioning systems in the control room, offices and equipment rooms is ongoing”

We must admit the air con system has been more stable but it still isn’t 100% reliable or fit for purpose ready for full staffing of the building.

8- “The due diligence inspections of the electrical installation will be restarting in the autumn.”

Once again another clipboard inspection, no physical works or changes are taking place to improve them or get them ready for more facilities. 

9- “Options around the future of the fire suppression system in the equipment rooms are being costed”

Another holding message with no work or progress – ‘Options’ ‘Costed’

10- “Detailed work is underway to identify and rectify the problems with the intercom system”

More problem identifying delaying any real fixes. A very small issue to mention compared to the big issues we want fixed with facilities, trying to gain small wins and avoiding the big issues in hand.

11- “Options for the possible recommissioning of the automatic main entry gates is under way.”

Another holding message with no work or progress – ‘Options’ ‘Possible’

12- “On-site car parking will continue in it’s current format (priority spaces for those with the relevant LUOH advice and first come-first served for everyone else)”

RMT identified a suitable full size staff parking area nearby which LU hasn’t even considered

13- “Identification of the total office space required for ‘end-state’ operations is being worked on and will be progressed in due course”

Another holding message with no work or progress – ‘Identification’ ‘Due Course’

“The building was originally designed for a different signalling system with a different operating model and while hindsight is a wonderful thing, we need to be really clear that we are pushing on with this work as much as we can. Coronavirus has had a huge impact on our own operations and that of our contractors. When all this is considered alongside ongoing restrictions, difficulties with supply chains and a high degree of general uncertainty about the future, you can see that there are a number of challenges being dealt with.”

This message provides no confirmation or commitment that any physical work will take place and just that they are pushing on ‘as much as they can’

“I hope that the above information provides you with a clear understanding as to the plans that we have for the building and the work that is being progressed. It has been slow progress and we accept that but thing are progressing and we’re hoping that you will start to see more on-site activity very soon.”

We don’t believe work is being progressed with the distraction of a massive paper exercise being used as an excuse for two years of false promises.

“I would ask all of you that are eligible to vote in the ballot to ask yourself whether industrial action will actually change or improve any of the above.:

Only with the current industrial pressure from the membership has LU woken up!

With a YES VOTE they will have to seriously listen to the concerns and send builders, project managers and provide funding to improve the control centre providing a commitment to get the job done.

“We must be really clear – this ballot is not about pay and conditions, it is not about whether the grading is correct for the room and it is not about the fallout from Train Operator shortages.”

This ballot may not be about Pay but it is 100% about conditions! Your working conditions! If we get a strong YES VOTE then we know we can deliver a strong message for the future Pay & Grading talks in October. That the members at HSCC are united and strong and we can undertake future votes with the full support of the membership.

“It is simply about the facilities in the building. We have fully acknowledged that improvements are required and a vote for industrial action will not achieve anything. All the required work is already being done and we have been putting huge amounts of effort into improving things for all of you.”

We still don’t see any work being done, a full Paul Daniels magic trick with distractions, smoke and mirrors is what is currently being done.