Baby I Love Your Way Big Mountain
7 October 2014, 11:40
London Underground and Mayor Boris Johnson have criticised plans for a 48-hour strike by Tube workers.
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union will walk out at 9pm next Tuesday (14 October) in the long-running dispute over Tube ticket office closures.
The stoppage coincides with strikes by council workers and civil servants across the country in separate disputes over pay, jobs and cuts.
Phil Hufton, London Underground's chief operating officer, said: "This is yet more pointless strike action called by the RMT leadership following our plans to modernise and improve the London Underground for our customers.
"In future we will have more staff than ever before visible and available to help our customers buy the right ticket or use their contactless payment card, plan their journeys and keep them safe and secure.
"We have been in consultation with the RMT and the other trade unions now for 11 months involving over 80 meetings on the details. We have adhered to every single one of the commitments we made to our staff, including delivering on our guarantee of no compulsory redundancies and offering a job for anyone who wants to stay with us with no loss of pay.
"This action and the timing of it - to coincide with public sector strikes that have nothing to do with London Underground - is cynical in the extreme. It will only lose RMT members pay and disrupt Londoners."
Extra buses will be laid on during the strikes and "travel ambassadors" will be deployed to help passengers.
The union said that although some limited progress had been made in talks, its executive decided it was not enough, so the only option was for more strikes.
General secretary Mick Cash said: "RMT negotiators have made every effort in the long-running talks to resolve a range of issues that impact on our members' jobs, their pay and working conditions and the safety of the services that they provide to the travelling public.
"The cuts, currently being bulldozed through, would de-staff whole areas of the Tube system at a time of surging passenger demand and would make evacuation and other basic safety procedures a physical impossibility.
"The axing of ticket offices and station staffing grades would render the Tube a no-go zone for many people with disabilities and for women travelling alone. The cuts ignore the realities of life that we saw when services broke down last week and the recent surveys which point to an increase in violence and sexual assaults.
"RMT will not stand back and allow Government-driven austerity cuts to hollow out the Tube system and leave it as a dangerous shell. We are also fully aware that the current cuts are just part of a multibillion-pound attack that will include such lethal ideas as driverless-operation."
LU say few tickets are bought at offices now, arguing that staff would be better used by being stationed on concourses.
London's mayor Boris Johnson said the new strike was "entirely political", telling LBC Radio: "I think they should get a new ballot on this.
"There's absolutely no need for it whatever, it will achieve nothing.
"Londoners will know that this will achieve absolutely nothing at all, except inconvenience for the travelling public.
"We will go ahead with the reform, the ticket office closures and so on, and everybody knows that."