Thousands Paid Out To 'Strike Breakers'

A union is claiming staff who volunteered to work during a walkout by London Underground workers were paid a "strike-breaking bonus" totalling thousands of pounds.

The Transport Salaried Staffs Association said the volunteers, who were Transport for London employees, were paid £25 for an eight hour shift plus a further £25 if they worked two shifts over the two-day stoppage over ticket office closures earlier this month.

The union said the total cost would be over £22,000 if it was true that 950 staff volunteered to be on duty during the strike.

General secretary Manuel Cortes said it was an example of "gesture politics" by London Mayor Boris Johnson, adding: "Instead of wasting public money on grandstanding gimmicks, he would be better of focusing on how he caused the dispute in the first place, namely his reckless plan to close all 260 Tube ticket offices.

"Before the walkout, he said he would keep services running with an army of 1,000 volunteers. On the day, the service was at a virtual standstill because only a few hundred actually turned out on the day.

"Now he is using public money on another futile gesture aimed at raising his standing in the Tory party."

A second 48-hour strike was called off after unions and London Underground agreed to hold fresh talks on the future of ticket offices.

Phil Hufton, London Underground's chief operating officer, said: "Hundreds of our staff volunteered to help keep London moving during the recent pointless industrial action called by the union leaderships. In recognition of doing this over and above their day jobs, staff who volunteered will receive a voucher for £25 by way of a thank-you."

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