UK & World News

  • 17 April 2014, 20:54

Tube Workers Set To Strike For Five Days

Tube workers in London are to take five days of strike action in the comingweeks over ticket office closures.

Members of the RMT union will walk out from 9pm on Monday, April 28 for two days and again from 9pm on Monday, May 5 for three days.

RMT acting general secretary Mick Cash said in a statement that assurances given to the union had been "ripped up and thrown back in our faces".

He told Sky News: "We've spent the last eight weeks in talks and got nowhere at all. London Underground's favourite word at the moment seems to be 'no'.

"They want to close every single booking office and they want to get rid of almost 1,000 front-line operation jobs.

"We also found out during discussions they want to convert 800 jobs into manager jobs. We're going from bad to worse.

"We think the booking offices are a vital service - if you're young, disabled or old, you get a lot of service from them. Tourists also find them very useful."

The first two days of action will take place before a May Day event in London in memory of former RMT leader Bob Crow and Labour politician Tony Benn, who died within days of each other last month.

London Mayor Boris Johnson said the strikes would be "pointless".

"It's a great shame that cool heads appear not to have prevailed among the RMT leadership," he said.

"Three of the four unions involved in these negotiations are doing the sensible thing - talking, listening and discussing Tube modernisation with London Underground, around a negotiating table. We've had 40 meetings since the last strike was called off - only the RMT has walked away.

"In choosing the nuclear option by threatening yet more pointless strike action the RMT isn't even supported by a majority of its own union members.

"Rather than threatening more disruption to the lives of hard-working Londoners, they should call off the strikes and, like the three other unions, get back round the table and talk to London Underground."

London Underground responded to the announcement by reiterating there would be no compulsory redundancies as a result of any ticket office closures.

They say the RMT has failed to put forward "any credible alternative".

"Over the past eight weeks, we have met with our trade union colleagues on over 40 occasions, listening to their concerns and making significant changes as a result," said chief operating officer Phil Hufton.

"I've committed to looking at ways to ensure that no one will lose pay and no supervisor will have to apply for their own job.

"There will be no compulsory redundancies and all requests for voluntary redundancy will be honoured.

"However, the RMT leadership has rejected these changes and has not put forward any credible alternative proposals."

Mr Hufton urged the RMT to join talks alongside the Aslef, TSSA and Unite unions next week to discuss how to meet the needs of "customers in 21st century London".

He added: "All a strike will achieve is to lose those who take part pay for each day of action."

Workers from the TSSA rail union - including Transport for London managers and supervisors - have also voted to go on strike in the next four weeks in a separate row over pay.

The majority of Londoners reacting to the news on Twitter were frustrated.

"The rest of us have to endure cuts: why not you?" wrote @FluffyRona. "Meanwhile, those people who've paid for a service during the #tubestrike will not get what they've paid for: how is that helpful?"

Another tweeter, @pretentiouscarp, posted: "Another tube strike announced, this time a FIVE day strike. Fun times. Hmmm."

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