Tube Jobs Strike!

RMT and TSSA pickets at Rayners Lane depot during the strike on September 7th
RMT and TSSA pickets at Rayners Lane depot during the strike on September 7th

London Tube workers began walking out at 6.30pm last night at the start of a 24-hour strike in protest at plans to cut ticket office staffing.

The RMT and TSSA unions are angry at plans to cut 800 jobs, which they warn will affect safety.

Union members have also been instructed to refuse to participate in the £5 minimum Oyster top-up from Sunday 3rd October.

An overtime ban, which is already having a significant impact and causing station closures, remains in force.

Today’s staggered 24 hour strike is to be followed by further 24-hour strikes on 2nd November and 28th November.

The RMT said: ‘The revised schedule of joint RMT/TSSA action is:

‘All members in the former Metronet maintenance grades are instructed to take strike action and not to work from 19.00 hours on Sunday 3rd October until 18.59 hours on Monday 4th October.’

The TSSA stated on Saturday: ‘LUL have already been forced to close stations and cut services due to a lack of staff caused by the overtime ban and their failure to fill vacancies.

‘This highlights the insanity of cutting staff numbers even further, endangering passengers and workers alike.’

It warned: ‘Office staff are being given training to act as Station Supervisors during strikes. LUL plan to issue Incident Station Supervisors with Safety Critical Licenses following one to three days training!

‘This shows total contempt for the safety of staff and passengers alike.

‘We have been forced into this position by LUL, now we must fight for our jobs, terms and conditions and working practices.’

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said ahead of yesterday’s walkout: ‘We have warned repeatedly that TfL’s cuts plans are playing fast and loose with safety and will turn the Tube into a death trap.

‘We remain available for talks but the current cuts to jobs and safety must be halted before we have a tragedy on our hands.

‘We have no choice but to take action on behalf of Londoners who depend daily on a safe transport system.’

He also warned that London Underground bosses could put passengers’ safety at risk by using undertrained staff during a Tube strike.

Crow said: ‘We have been leaked information that managers have been given two days training on key deep safety and emergency procedures that the regulations say require six weeks of intensive instruction.

‘That is an outrageous case of playing fast and loose with life or death safety procedures and shows that there is no corner that London Underground won’t cut to try and run skeleton services regardless of the risks to the public.

‘Instead of playing dangerous games down the deep tube tunnels, the managers responsible for this lethal gamble with safety should be engaging in proper talks with the unions to resolve the issues at the heart of this dispute.’