Railway safety and crime

02.05.19

London Underground workers to strike over ‘safety-critical cuts’

London Underground maintenance and engineering workers are preparing for three-days of strike action in a row over cuts to train preparation and inspection schedules.

The RMT said over a thousand of its members will walk out from 17 May to 20 May over the changes. The news comes days after London Overground workers announced separate industrial action this month.

The Overground staff are to stage a second walkout over a pay freeze which “effectively means a slide into poverty pay” according to the RMT, and will walk out on 16 May.

The union said the Underground staff were protesting against train preparation and inspection schedules being “hacked back”, which would “decimate the inspection and safety culture on the fleet.”

The industrial action will coincide with the FA Cup Final at Wembley later this month, and follows a nine to one vote for action.

In addition to the strike action, workers are taking a number of actions in areas around risk assessments including a ban on lone working, a ban on working without valid licenses, and fire wardens being in place.

Earlier this year the RMT said it told London Underground that it disputed its intentions to extend the fleet train preparation schedules, but said that despite this, it had not tried to engage in any meaningful consultation or negotiations with the union or provide it with full information.

The RMT stressed that the staff working at fleet maintenance depots across Greater London are critical to the day to day operation of London Underground.

It says the Underground’s proposals will “decimate inspection frequencies beyond all recognition,” leading to major fleet issues and to more train failures, “putting unacceptable pressure on members” and putting passengers at increased risk.

TfL said it had to “reduce operating costs” and would consult with staff and trade unions before any changes were carried out, but that “none of this will compromise the safety of customers or staff.”

Mick Cash, RMT general secretary, said: “The nine to one ballot result showed just how angry tube staff are at proposals London Underground are attempting to bulldoze through that would decimate the inspection and safety culture on the fleet.

“Despite that result tube bosses have ignored the workforce and are pressing ahead and it is that intransigence that has left us no option but to confirm industrial action today.

“Our message is clear, LU should pull back immediately rather than crash on regardless of the consequences of their actions.”

Image credit - IR_Stone

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