Station staff on the London tube to take industrial action over staffing levels

Thursday, December 22, 2005

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) has called for industrial action on New Year's Eve over staffing levels on the London Underground. Union members voted more than five to one in favour of the strike.

The vote for industrial action is because of "back-door attempts to displace hundreds of safety-critical station staff under spurious cover," said Bob Crow, RMT General Secretary, to the BBC. "The RMT will not accept any dilution of safety standards either for our members, or Tube users and we hope that the travelling public will join us in calling on London Underground to step back from the brink and start talking to us seriously."

Following the vote, the RMT called for a 24-hour strike beginning at noon on New Year's Eve, and if necessary a second 24-hour action to begin 6:30 p.m. Sunday, 8 January. Transport for London announced a meeting with the RMT at ACAS(The Advisory, Conciliation, and Arbitration Service) after the results of the vote were announced.

The London Underground responded to the move, pointing to the agreement made last year with the RMT which agreed to shorter working weeks so long as there is no additional cost to Tube fare payers. "There are no staff cuts across the Tube network," the spokesperson said.

"There can be no justification for the RMT now reneging on its agreement and trying to ruin New Year's Eve for thousands of Londoners," London Mayor Ken Livingstone said.