SOS – Save Our Secondees!


The RMT is the only union fighting for permanent contracts for signalling secondees. The way secondees have been treated and thrown from pillar to post is completely un-acceptable. They have felt under pressure to take on extra duties to look good in managements eyes and the thanks they get at the end of it all, a letter sending them back to their previous grade.

This is a clear breach of the 2012 agreement between LUL and RMT which states. 

“conversion to established contracts after 12 months, assuming there remains at least 2 years before closure.”

The RMT wrote to London Underground on 15th February with the following:

  1. RMT recognises the 2012 ACAS Agreement between London Underground and RMT which states the following:

    “6. Aspiration that Service Control staff are protected by these arrangements up to 2015. Beyond that date RMT recognise the need for short term appointments.

    LU will apply these arrangements to all established permanent Service Control staff. LU has already agreed resourcing arrangements, copy attached, that enables the use of short term appointments, and their conversion to established contracts after 12 months, assuming there remains at least 2 years before closure.  “

  2. RMT call on London Underground to abide by that commitment and to give permanent contracts to the below staff:

    A) All secondee signalling staff who are or were in signal cabins for 12 months
    B) At that point of 12 months the signal cabin was to remain open for 2 years

RMT received no response from London Underground

We were then informed by local reps and activists that LUL then started sending secondees back to their previous jobs.

RMT then met with London Underground again on the 1st March and stated:

These signallers have worked tirelessly to keep the signal cabins open, whilst we understand the need for secondments these particular secondees are being used and abused on a long term basis. They are unable to secure mortgages, plan their life or progress within service control due to being on a secondment contract. This is in breach of the 2012 ACAS agreement that states any signaller on a secondment for 12 months will be given a permanent position if that cabin is to remain open for 2 years or more. 

To resolve this matter we propose:

1) Give all signallers that have been on a secondment for 12 months or more a permanent contract

2) Give all signallers that were on a contract for more than 12 months then sent back to other roles the option to return on a permanent contract with their pay backdated 

Inline with the following agreement:
2012 ACAS Agreement between London Underground and RMT – Section 6

RMT has now been invited to a 3 month period of talks with LUL

We believe this is another attempt to kick the issue into the long grass and is an insult to the hard working secondees in signal cabins who have kept the SSR running throughout Covid and more.

Our position is clear, give the secondees permanent contracts as per the agreements. case closed.

Template for Secondees to write to LUL

Please feel free to use the below template to write to LUL stating your position as a secondee.

To:       SCM & Head of Line

Cc:       Reps

RE:  Secondment to Service Operator

I have been working as a Service Operator on the ***** line at ***** cabin for a period of ***** months.

I have been advised to seek clarification on my current position since I have worked in this position covering a permanent position for over 12 months.

It is my understanding that the ACAS agreement reached in 2012 ensures that individuals working as service operators on long term secondments, covering permanent vacancies will be appointed permanently to those positions after a 12 month period if their cabin/workplace is not going to close within 2 years. 

There was a principle that no permanent appointments  would be made to vacancies with a potential or confirmed end date 2 years or less away;


That unless the above applies, permanent contracts would be offered to existing secondees providing cover for permanent vacancies (as opposed to temporary cover for maternity/sickness etc.) once the secondment achieves 12 months duration; 

This was agreed and resolved to implement on a rolling basis.

The closure date for my cabin is not less than 12 months away, and since I have already completed ***** months, and there has been project slip on 4LM, the ACAS agreement is being breached.

I reserve the right, and will be supported by my Union, to proceed to Employment Tribunal in the event that I am not moved into my position as a service operator on a permanent contract.

I look forward to your prompt response within 7 days.