Labour Research November 2016

Health & Safety Matters

Tube staff now work in fear

Staff at London Underground (LU) stations are working in fear since so-called Fit for the Future (FFF) changes — which included closing ticket offices and putting staff onto concourses and platforms — were introduced, according to the TSSA white collar transport union. 

It says that since machine-only ticketing was introduced in April 2016, there have been more than 2,000 separate incidents of passenger abuse. 

A new safety survey of TSSA LU customer service assistants found a staggering 87% of members reporting that they feel less safe at work than they did six months ago. 

Three-quarters of members (74%) reported passenger frustration with ticket machine problems. And staff are bearing the brunt of this frustration, with a correlating spike in abuse, including being spat at, bitten, physically intimidated and sworn at. 

The union also said that there are increased levels of stress and fatigue, affecting work-life balance and mental health.

It reported that all respondents in the survey want an increase in staffing levels, a return to dedicated ticket offices, no lone working and a return to pre-FFF working arrangements, including extra staff to cope with big music and sporting events. 

“Our safety impact survey shows a system of work clearly not fit for purpose let alone a future,” said TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes.