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RMT confirms February Tube strikes in station staffing dispute

The RMT has confirmed that its staff will be conducting further strikes on 5 and 7 February as part of the union’s ongoing dispute with London Underground (LU) over station staffing and safety.

The union has instructed all its LU station and revenue staff not to book shifts on those two dates after the parties failed to make progress during recent ACAS talks.

The RMT warned that it will soon announce further strike dates in March once the details have been determined and agreed.

Its general secretary, Mick Cash, said: “RMT will not stand by while safety is compromised on LU off the back of cash-led cuts to staffing levels that the union has warned would have a serious, lasting and corrosive impact for staff and passengers alike.

“With the constant overcrowding on stations and platforms it is only a matter of time before there is a major tragedy if we don’t act decisively. Our dispute is about taking action to haul back the cuts machine and put safety back at the top of the agenda.”

Along with the Transport Salaried Staff Association (TSSA), the RMT is currently contesting several ticket office closures along with 838 cuts of frontline staff, arguing that the measures are having a “toxic impact” on passenger safety.

TfL has acknowledged that its operating model of having control rooms unstaffed “did not match customer demand or resourcing levels”, leading the unions to say that LU bosses have accepted the “unarguable” case for restoring safety-critical staff.

While the RMT has confirmed that it remains available for further talks with LUL, this morning the TSSA has decided to suspend its planned strikes for next week, after its own ACAS talks with the LU ended satisfactorily.

The union said that the LU’s proposals, which apparently include the creation of 325 new staff posts, go “some way towards restoring adequate safety” on the Tube.

“Our LU workplace representatives have now had the chance to discuss the outcome of the last fortnight's discussions with the company at [ACAS] and we believe LU's latest proposals – which include the creation of an additional 325 new posts – pave the way for a resolution to this long-standing dispute,” said the union’s leader, Manuel Cortes.

Cortes revealed that the TSSA will now seek further talks with LU in order to gain further clarification on the company’s offer.

Earlier this month, members of the Greater London Authority criticised current mayor Sadiq Khan for failing to avert RMT’s recent LU strike, accusing him of backing down on his pre-election pledge to bring ‘zero strikes’ during his term as mayor.

(Image c. Nick Ansell PA Wire)

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Canach   31/01/2017 at 13:00

Pity the rail staff do not recognise the corrosive nature that they are bringing to the union movement with their unhelpful actions. As a rail commuter and union member I am appalled at the behavior of the Unions in this matter. I suggest that on strike days the union do their bit to alievate the suffering of the CUSTOMERS and ensure a proper backup service operates. Oncea customer is lost, he or she is lost forever and many once proud unions have learnt that an incaring attitude towards customers only has negative consequences for the union involved. regards

Jerry Alderson   31/01/2017 at 22:36

This is mega-controversial but can I ask whether it is possible to just leave all of the barriers open and make it free travel on those two days? Admittedly I have no special needs but I would not be in the slightest bit concerned if the Underground stations were entirely devoid of staff that interacted with passengers (would still need line controllers, of course). On many metro systems on the mainland there are no barriers. This is the case in the Vienna U-Bahn system, for example. In the three years that I spent on busines there I rarely saw any staff at any U-Bahn station (although you could see some controllers behind darkened glass at some statoins). I do accept that the three entirely modern U-Bahn lines are very spacious (the two that have used the old Stadtbahn routes are less so) and therefore there is no need to have staff on the platform saying "Minden Sie die Gappe" (my invented Denglish).

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