Further Industrial action confirmed in fight for Tube safety and jobs

Following the rock-solid strike action taken by RMT tube station members on the 8th and 9th of January the union today confirmed a new phase of action from the 6th of February.

The union’s executive has agreed, following extensive consultation with reps across the tube network, that further, escalated strike action will be called from Monday 6th February unless London Underground meet RMT’s reasonable demands on station staffing and safety.

The on-going overtime ban, which has seriously exposed the massive deficiencies in station staffing numbers and which has led to a spate of station closures, also remains in place with the union maintaining that the fact that stations can only be staffed-up on the basis of overtime exposes the bogus claims that there is no money available to make the serious increases in numbers that are at the heart of the RMT demands.

Tube management themselves have conceded that the 838 job cuts, imposed by the previous Mayor, have had a devastating impact on passenger safety and that numbers need to be increased. At this point LU have yet to come forward with serious and coherent plans that address the gap and which can be signed off as addressing the safety issues by union reps on the ground who understand better than anyone the toxic and lethal impact of surging demand against a backdrop of fewer, safety-critical staff. Top tube bosses have accepted in leaked minutes that the RMT case for the jobs to be put back onto the stations is unarguable.

The cuts have left station control rooms, the eyes and ears of the network, unstaffed leading to a serious threat to passengers at a time of heightened safety and security alert. The incidents at Canning Town and North Greenwich last year have exposed just how serious those threats are, those safety warnings have been reinforced by daily reports of intolerable overcrowding and pressures on stations and services right  across all routes.

RMT says that today’s decision allows ample time for London Underground to come forward with serious proposals as a basis for further negotiation.

Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary, said:
“RMT members have shown this week that they will not stand by while safety is compromised on London Underground 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. That is why our members have been forced to take this action.

“RMT members on the London Underground stations see day in and day out the toxic impact of the job cuts programme and they are reporting back that it is horrific.  It has now also been shown that at management level there is agreement with the union that the cuts have been a disastrous mistake and that the staff need to be put back on the stations. We now need a move away from the piecemeal and incremental approach to tackling this crisis and for LU to come forward with a serious package of proposals.

“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.

“Today’s decision gives ample time for London Underground to come forward with the serious package of proposals that is now required to kick-start the negotiations. The union remains available for talks.”

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