Heat on Tube bosses after drivers’ water “ban”

Tube trainTube bosses have come under fire after removing water coolers from drivers’ rest areas, prompting fears of delays while drivers and a tap to have a drink.

ASLEF has called on TfL managers to change their “short-sighted and penny pinching attitude” and allow Tube drivers access to cool clean drinking water. The company has changed the contractor which supplies water coolers to its head office buildings and to front line locations such as train crew mess rooms and places where trains reverse.

But whereas air-conditioned, upmarket office buildings at Palestra House and Westferry Circus, where all the senior managers work, now have plentiful supplies of chilled water to drink, train drivers and frontline staff are being told to ‘Wait for your break and use the tap’ as water coolers are removed from tea points and locations where they change ends to reverse their trains.

ASLEF organiser Finn Brennan said: “When your working day is spent in a metal box deep underground, cool clean drinking water isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. TfL rightly reminds passengers to carry water with them in hot weather, but at the same time they are taking away the facilities where drivers can get water from during their duties.

“The inevitable result will be that drivers will be forced to take additional unscheduled breaks, known as PNRs [Personal Needs Relief], to avoid the serious dangers of dehydration. This will mean trains stuck in platforms and additional delays for passengers right across the Underground network.

“It beggars belief that senior TfL management think it’s ok to treat train drivers like this and are utterly careless of the impact on their passengers. They should try getting out of their air-conditioned offices and spending eight hours a day in a train cab on the Bakerloo line, where temperatures peaked at 31 degrees last August, before trying to save a few pounds by taking access to clean cool water away from drivers trying to provide passengers with a first-class public service.”

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