IN DISPUTE – Agency Staff in Operational Roles


The attempted casualisation of LU staff into the gig economy has sent a shockwave across all grades in London Underground. For years RMT alongside their sister unions have been fighting for permanent contracts and improved working conditions. The fact LU has now introduced Service Control staff back into the grade under a zero hours contract via agency contractor Morsons who are used for engineering work makes you wonder when will you be ordering your next Train Operator via Uber or Deliveroo?

To rub salt into the wound LU believe they could also do this bypassing the machinery and only by luck did RMT find out they had done this via an agency and had already began the process of re-engaging retired under zero hour contracts.  The RMT will not stand for this in any shape and form and our General Secretary immediately wrote to LU to advise them we are now in a state of dispute.

A message to Retired Staff:

We fully support staff that want to come back and support the effort at London Underground, this is a great gesture of support and appreciated by our colleagues but want this done via the proper process; with LU contracts to protect you and your colleagues. If you are approached by LU to return to work make sure they offer you the full training needed and an appropriate contract which is directly with LU and checked by the union. We know you want to do the right thing to help keep London moving but LU also need to the right thing and follow the agreed processes.

If you have been approached by LU and want advice, even if you are not currently a member please contact us at

We understand the complicated situation you have been placed in and will support you to support London.



Your representatives raised understandable concerns with your Regional Organiser over the apparent action of your employer to bring back retired staff in to perform Service Control duties on agency terms and conditions and on zero hours contracts.

This move from London Underground is a clear breach of our agreed machinery of negotiation as no consultation has taken place with your union over this matter. While RMT does recognise we are in an unprecedented situation at the moment due to the current health crisis, agreed procedures and processes should still be followed in such matters. Your representatives have voiced their objections to management on this matter on the following grounds:

· The use of agency zero hours contracts undermines all other LU staff terms and conditions, which could be replaced with agency workers. They are also being paid more than other staff in control rooms as they are being placed in the middle of the pay band. They could also be utilised for resilience by LU during any industrial unrest.

· Those concerned are being returned to jobs without full training with only a training needs analysis being given, which has not been agreed or consulted with your union at functional council or health & safety council.

· Being retired with already lump sums of cash from their pensions there is no jeopardy or fear from mistakes and, not being directly recruited by LU, they don’t fall under LU disciplinary or even LU Drug & Alcohol procedures.

· Staff on waiting lists for promotions will be queue jumped and this will block any movements, financially disadvantaging those individuals.

· No agreed LU processes have been followed in terms of recruitment, testing, training and payment as this has all been done via an agency.

· The matter has not been agreed at any level of consultation and not even tabled to Service Control Health & Safety council.

Despite hearing these objections, LU has gone ahead and taken on the staff on the grounds outlined, thus exploiting the current health crisis to bring agency staff into the workforce.

Your union’s National Executive Committee has considered this matter and instructed me to advise London Underground that its move has led to a dispute situation, which I have done today. I am further instructed to prepare a ballot matrix on this matter of all Service Control members so I would urge you to ensure your union has all your job and personal details up to date.

I will of course keep you fully advised of all further developments in this matter in due course.

Yours sincerely,

Mick Cash
General Secretary