26 September 2019
RMT Press Office:
Violence on tube escalates as District Line staff prepare to take industrial action over safety at work from tomorrow
TUBE UNION RMT has confirmed that members will be taking industrial action from tomorrow after the situation over violent assaults on workers and a culture of violence in the workplace deteriorated with the most recent serious incidents being the shocking attack on LU staff at West Ham last week and the fatal stabbing of a member of the public in broad daylight at Hillingdon. New figures from the British Transport Police released this week show that sexual assaults have risen by more than 40% over the past four years and are the latest shocking statistic confirming the explosion in violent crime across London Underground.
Tube workers on a key section of the District Line have already voted overwhelmingly for industrial action in protest at the growing levels of violence and anti-social behaviour at work. The union said today that it will have no hesitation in escalating the dispute if there isn’t a programme of urgent action to stem the surge in violent abuse and assaults.
The union demands are clear:
· No lone working
· Reversal of staff cuts made under Fit For The Future stations, more directly employed LUL staff
· Support for staff affected by violence and abuse in the workplace
· Better security arrangements including secure and accessible places of safety for all workers
· Better policing and prosecutions of those responsible
RMT members on the eastern end of the District Line voted by nearly 95 per cent to take action short of strike action in protest after a female member of staff was attacked in her office by a violent passenger and others have been threatened.
In light of the result RMT has confirmed the following action to begin later this week;
All affected members from 00:01 hours on Friday 27th September 2019, until further notice to:
•Work from a within a place of safety when lone-working and not to detrain alone or attend incidents on trains alone.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said that it was clear that staff were living in a constant state of fear and had simply had enough of the inaction of local managers. The escalation in assaults has left the union with no choice but to move to a programme of industrial action with the warning that more groups of staff will be brought into the dispute if LU don’t start taking the situation seriously.
“Clearly, the safety and security situation for both staff and passengers on London Underground is spiralling out of control. There has been an explosion of violent crime and sexual offences across the network and our members are bearing the brunt of it particularly on the District Line. The assault at West Ham on our members last week was far from an isolated incident and shows that the situation is deteriorating while LU chiefs and the Mayor sit on their hands.
“It is clear that violent crime on the tube has escalated to unprecedented levels as staffing levels are hacked back to the bare bones in the dash for budget-driven cuts. A key group of our members will be taking action from tomorrow and this trade union will have no hesitation in escalating the dispute if that is what it takes. RMT members on other lines are already calling for ballots and no one should underestimate the seriousness of the current situation.
"RMT has warned repeatedly that the all-out drive towards an automated and faceless Tube would turn our trains and stations into a criminals paradise and those who have ignored those warnings should act now before more serious injuries or worse occur on the Tube,” Mick Cash said.