New law to ensure 'bare-bones service' during transport strikes

The Evening Standard has published a story about new laws to ensure a minimum level of service is maintained during industrial disputes on public transport.

The article is based on comments made by Transport Secretary Grant Shapps about legislation likely to be included in The Queen’s Speech.

“It is a basic right for workers to be able to get to work,” Mr Shapps told the Standard.

“The ability of a few people to prevent anyone from being able to earn a living has come to an end. The new law will prevent London being brought to a standstill, with all the additional environmental damage done by people reverting to cars,” he said.

“There will be a bare-bones service provided, preventing ordinary workers being effectively held to ransom.”

The Queen’s Speech sets out the Government’s agenda and is given during the State Opening of Parliament which marks the start of the Parliamentary year.

Following the General Election, the State Opening of Parliament is due to take place on Thursday 19 December 2019.

TfL employees earning over £50k revealed in 984 page report

Transport for London (TfL) recently announced a £111m operating loss for the first half of 2019-20. Although this represents a deficit reduction of 40 per cent compared to the same period in 2018-19 it is still a substantial figure.

The Wanstead Post has been exploring information about employees earning over £50,000 which “reflects an accurate picture of senior staff in post as at 31 March 2019”. Some of the posts and the salaries they attract make interesting reading. In some cases there are several posts with the same job title and salary as well as other roles which seem to cover very similar areas. Please see below for examples:

Problem-Solving & Evaluation Manager – £50,000-£54,999

Ambience Delivery Manager – £50,000-£54,999

Ambience Inspector – £50,000-£54,999

Drug & Alcohol Assessment & Treatment Services Manager – £50,000-£54,999
(To advise the company on matters relating to Drugs & Alcohol Assessment and Treatment Services for employees of Transport for London)

Ambience Manager – £55,000-£59,999

Ambience Delivery Manager – £55,000-£59,000

Vegetation Contract Manager – £55,000-£59,000
(This role has responsibility for overseeing the delivery of Vegetation Management across an area of LU track infrastructure.)

People Management Advisor Specialist – £55,000-£59,000
(This role is responsible for applying expertise in the provision of advice and guidance to ensure TfL treats its people fairly and has good relationships based on openness, mutual trust and respect.)

Events Co-ordination Manager, Events Manager and Events Planning and Delivery Manager – all earning £50,000-£54,999

Head of TfL Events Team – £75,000-£79,000

Head of Experience – £75,000-£79,000

Head of Profession – £85,000-£89,999

According to the most recent Annual Workforce Monitoring Report, Transport for London (TfL) employs 27,453 people on a permanent basis. The full 984 page report of those earning over £50k can be found here: http://content.tfl.gov.uk/data-transparency-report-2018-19.pdf

General Election candidates

© Electoral Commission

The following candidates have been confirmed as standing for election as Member of Parliament for the Leyton & Wanstead constituency:

(Candidates listed alphabetically by surname)

John Cryer – Labour Party
Ashley Gunstock – Green Party
Zulf Jannaty – The Brexit Party
Noshaba Khiljee – Conservative Party
Henry Scott – Independent
Ben Sims – Liberal Democrat

Which underground line is the most polluted in London?

The Central Line is one of the most polluted underground lines in London according to research by the Financial Times.

The investigation measured fine particles – known as PM2.5 – which can penetrate into the lungs and have been linked to heart disease, stroke, lung cancer and respiratory infection.

Air in carriages on sections of the Central Line was 8 times above safe limits recommended by the World Health Organisation.

Other lines in the top 10 of the most polluted include the Northern, the Victoria, the Jubilee and the Bakerloo.

“Fine particles of dust, metal, skin and clothing fibre have built up in the tunnels over a century of use, leaving a toxic miasma that is stirred up by passing trains and inhaled by passengers,” according to the article by Camilla Hodgson, Leslie Hook and Steven Bernard.

Jenny Bates, an air pollution campaigner at Friends of the Earth, told the FT: “These are shocking, worrying findings. We know particulates are the most dangerous of the air pollutants. We must sort out this terrible level of bad aor. It’s absolutely essential for the health of anyone using the Tube.”

Read the full investigation by the Financial Times here.

Commuters express concern about proposed Central Line timetable changes

Transport for London (TfL) have announced changes to the Central Line timetable which are likely to impact services from Wanstead.

The changes were revealed in the following email to passengers sent on 29 October 2019:

Regular commuters immediately took to Twitter to express concern. The tweets prompted South Woodford Councillor Michael Duffell to request an urgent extraordinary meeting of the Redbridge Council Committee which scrutinises TfL.

Rory Stewart bids to be Mayor

The former Conservative Party leadership candidate Rory Stewart has announced a bid to be the next Mayor of London.

Mr Stewart has said he is standing down from his seat in the Commons and has resigned from the Tory Party.

“Our leaders have become so bad at listening to the people… Instead, they have retreated to a madhouse of mutual insults in the Gothic shouting chamber of Westminster, pitting one group against another – rich against poor, London against the rest, Brexit against Remain – and all the time getting further and further away from compromise, practical solutions, and the centre group. And this is why I’ve decided to stand, not for party, but as an independent,” he writes in an open letter to the Evening Standard.

Mr Stewart has run a humanitarian foundation in Afghanistan and served in the diplomatic service in Iraq.

Excessive noise levels prompt industrial action

Central Line drivers who are members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) will take industrial action next month following a dispute about noise levels.

The Jubilee, Central, Northern and Victoria lines are set to be affected after 95% of union members supported the action.

“It is appalling that RMT driver members have had to resort to a programme of industrial action in order to force London Underground to take the issue of excessive track noise seriously,” said Mick Cash, General Secretary of the RMT.

“This is an issue that impacts not only on our members but on the travelling public as well and the union is absolutely determined to ensure that the company don’t drag their feet for a moment longer.”

Drivers will “drive trains in manual mode at an appropriate reduced speed to mitigate the creation of excessive noise and to alleviate the distraction, discomfort and anxiety caused in the affected areas” claim the RMT.

Transport for London (TfL) have said that the health and safety of staff and customers are its “first priority” and that they have “already agreed to provide a broader range of ear protection to drivers who wish to use it alongside plans for longer-term solutions to this complex issue.”

Noise levels have been a problem on the Central Line for several years as reported by the Ilford Recorder in 2017 and The Wanstead Post in 2018.

The industrial action is due to start on Thursday 10 October 2019.