18 April 2014
RMT declares new tube strike dates as London Underground wreck talks and confirm even worse cuts to jobs, services and safety.
TUBE UNION RMT today confirmed five days of all-out strike action across London Underground as long-running talks hosted by ACAS, aimed at settling the dispute over cuts to jobs, ticket offices and safety, were wrecked by a combination of management intransigence and the introduction of additional measures that actually worsened the original toxic package. It has also been made crystal clear to the union that this is just a first tranche of cuts with even harder attacks being lined up for the near future.
As a result RMT members on London Underground have been instructed to take strike action as follows:
all our members, excluding Fleet staff, not to book on for any shifts that commence between:-
21:00 hours on Monday 28th of April 2014 until 20:59 hours on Wednesday 30th April 2014; and
21:00 hours on Monday 5th of May 2014 until 20:59 hours on Thursday 8th of May 2014.
All members employed in the Fleet grades will be instructed not to book on for any shifts that commence between:-
18.30 hours on Monday 28th of April 2014 until 18.29 hours on Wednesday 30th April 2014; and
18.30 hours on Monday 5th of May 2014 until 18.29 hours on Thursday 8th of May 2014.
Furthermore all members in the station grades are instructed not to work any rest days or overtime from 00.01 hours on Tuesday 29th of April 2014 until further notice.
The first two days of action will precede a massive demonstration in London on May 1st in honour of Bob Crow and Tony Benn.
Despite the best efforts of RMT negotiators, London Underground have refused to budge one inch from their cuts plans that would axe 953 station staff posts and close all ticket offices – measures which would destroy the safety regime on the tube network and which would wreck the quality of service to passengers at a time of surging tube demand.
RMT has already exposed the claim, repeated by both David Cameron and Boris Johnson, that 3% of tube journeys involve a ticket office as a bare-faced lie. Those hardest hit by the ticket office closures and associated job cuts will be the elderly and disabled, women confronted by a de-staffed railway, those on the lowest incomes and tourists who need the assistance and advice of a ticket office and a member of staff.
The cuts and closures also run contrary to the most explicit promises Boris Johnson gave to Londoner’s before he was elected as Mayor. Further promises given by the Mayor and his officials at the time that the first wave of industrial action was suspended for a full line-by-line review of jobs, ticket offices, equalities impact and station safety have proved to be wholly bogus and were nothing more than a delaying tactic.
To compound the anger amongst staff, LU management have now proposed a further cut of 840 jobs from front-line operational roles while increasing the number of managers by the same amount making a nonsense of the whole process and resulting in a total of 1793 front-line posts facing elimination.
While senior managers and directors pay and numbers are allowed to increase the core customer services staff on the stations, the staff responsible for evacuations, assisting passengers with disabilities and delivering a safe and reliable service, would see their pay slashed by up to £12,000 a year.
RMT Acting General Secretary Mick Cash said:
“The talks aimed at resolving the dispute on London Underground over the savage cuts to jobs, services and safety have been cynically wrecked by a tube management who not only refused to budge an inch but who have chosen to up the ante by injecting further poisonous measures into a package that was already toxic to the core.
“Staff are furious that while senior management pay and staffing levels are being allowed to roar ahead the jobs and pay of the core, station based staff who are the interface with the travelling public are being torn to ribbons. The assurances that were given at the time RMT suspended the original action for a proper evaluation of the cuts plans have been ripped up and thrown back in our faces.
“An opportunity to resolve this dispute through eight weeks of talks hosted by ACAS has not only been missed, it has been sabotaged. As a result, RMT has no option but to put on further strike action in the expectation that the management will now halt these dangerous cuts plans and engage in meaningful and serious talks on the future of a tube network running at full tilt, with further demands in the pipeline, which needs more staff and not less to operate safely.”