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Tube strike talks resume after RMT walkout over safety concerns

Rail union RMT walked out of talks aimed at settling the dispute over night trains on London Underground yesterday after raising an issue over safety “directly linked” to its overtime ban. 

The union said that at both Upminster and Stonebridge Park depots over the weekend, managers without the “safety critical” licence that allows them to bring trains into service, were allowed to direct trains out of the depots. 

The union immediately raised the breaches with the Office of Rail & Road, which is investigating the claims, but said its meeting with the RMT could have been deferred to make way for talks at Acas. 

But yesterday’s talks were cancelled. RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT has received a number of reports from local reps of the most flagrant breaches of safety protocols on London Underground over the weekend, which are directly related to a management drive to keep services running in light of the overtime ban, regardless of the impact on passenger and staff safety. 

“Instead of riding roughshod over the safety rulebook to try and plug the widening gaps opening up as a result of the overtime ban, the Tube management should be spending their time addressing the fundamental issues at the heart of the current disputes.” 

However, Transport for London said the safety issued had already been cleared by the regulator. 

Acas has stated that talks with “all parties in relation to the current London Underground dispute” have resumed today (Wednesday 22 July).


The train drivers’ union Aslef has told RTM that London Underground has threatened to take legal action “after we gave them notice that our members would refuse to bring trains into service that have not been subject to safety checks in line with LU’s own safety standards”. 

They added that the union’s lawyers are currently dealing with this matter. 

Finn Brennan, Aslef’s lead negotiator on the night tube dispute, said: “Rather than sitting down with us to resolve this industrial dispute, London Underground are threatening to take legal action to stop our members doing their jobs safely by making sure their trains are fully safety checked before entering service. 

“It is now clear that their agenda is not to resolve this dispute but to force through changes, no matter what the impact on staff and the safety of their passengers. Their action today has grievously undermined the trust needed for talks to make progress and so made it much harder to avoid further strikes.”


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