ACAS talks on tube strikes break up as LU refuse to withdraw threats of cuts to safety and staffing levels – action is on

Talks at conciliation service ACAS broke up today following a failure on the part of London Underground to remove the threat of cuts to safety and safe staffing levels that would have allowed meaningful discussions to take place.

10,000 members of London Underground’s two biggest unions now begin final preparations for a rolling series of strikes starting on Monday September 6 against plans to axe 800 station and other staff and close ticket-offices. RMT have made it crystal clear that there can be no compromise on safety and safe staffing levels – the failure of LU management to recognise that, and to lift the threat of cuts to allow talks to proceed, sabotaged the ACAS negotiations.

Ex-Metronet (maintenance and engineering) staff will begin their first 24-hour strike at 17:00 on September 6, with similar action also scheduled to begin at the same time on Sunday October 3; Tuesday November 2, and Sunday November 28.

Other LUL grades (including station and revenue staff, operational managers, drivers and signallers) will start their first 24-hour strike at 21:00 on Monday September 6, with similar action also set to start at the same time on Sunday October 3; Tuesday November 2, and Sunday November 28.

An indefinite overtime ban for all LUL members of both unions will start at a minute after midnight on Monday September 6. Timings and forms of action may also be varied.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said:

“LU management knew very well that meaningful talks could not proceed while the threat of cuts to safety and safe staffing levels hung over our members heads – their failure to remove that threat sabotaged any prospect of making progress.

“RMT and TSSA negotiators completely demolished the LU/TfL line that the cuts are simply about new technology and the Oyster Card. The planned cuts are part of a multi-billion black hole facing the Mayor due to the costs of the failure of tube privatisation and an attack on funding levels from the ConDem Government.

“Not only are ticket offices and ticket staff jobs threatened but hundreds of other station staff posts are also on the line. It was the presence of those very staff that averted potential disaster in recent incidents involving fires at Euston and Oxford Circus.”

“RMT and TSSA have been presented with a stark choice. We could sit back and wait for a major disaster while safety cuts are bulldozed through turning the tube into a death trap or we can stand up and fight for passenger and staff safety. On Monday we will be making a stand on safety and safe staffing levels on behalf of all Londoners.”

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