Tube Strike Ballot To Run Until January 2014

From RMT General Secretary Bob Crow

As every LUL member must now be aware London Underground has announced the closure of ALL ticket offices by as early as 2015 and the subsequent loss of 750 jobs. Despite this Government’s and the Mayor of London’s claim they wish more use of public transport they are cutting LU’s budget by £33m for 2013-14, and £45m for 2014-15. And this despite January’s 4.2% increase in fares across the tube, buses and trams.

Following the announcement the General Grades Committee met as a matter of urgency and has noted that as a result of this decision that every ticket office will close by 2015, that nearly one thousand jobs on stations will go with a net loss of 750 jobs, that stations will be staffed when trains are running which suggests that they may not have Supervisors present and may no longer be staffed when trains are not running at night and a full restructuring of station staffing, with all job roles changing and staff being re-evaluated for their own jobs.

The General Grades Committee has asked me to put out the following statement to members, the press, the public and London Underground Management:-
“RMT deplores London Underground Ltd’s announcement today that it plans to close every ticket office, scrap nearly 1,000 stations jobs and reorganise station staffing including the removal of Station Supervisors at some stations. This is a catastrophic attack on London Underground’s passengers and staff. It is not aimed at improving our Tube but at saving millions of pounds following the government’s 12.5% cut to Transport for London’s funding.

RMT also opposes the company’s plans to replace skilled workers with unreliable automation in all areas of its work, including train maintenance, engineering, service control and even train operation.

We believe that London needs an Underground that is adequately staffed to ensure an accessible, safe, reliable service, and that Londoners need more jobs not fewer. Today’s announcement takes London in the opposite direction.

RMT calls on London Underground Ltd and the Mayor to abandon these reckless plans. We remind Boris Johnson that he claimed to oppose ticket office closures when he was seeking Londoners’ votes. We will be working with other trade unions and the wider community to oppose these cuts.
RMT has made its opposition to staffing cuts clear to London Underground Ltd over a long period, but the company’s well-paid Directors have not listened to us so far. With LUL today beginning a 90-day process towards imposing these cuts as early as February, we need to take industrial action in an effort to make the company see sense. RMT’s Executive has today agreed to pursue a high-profile campaign and to ballot all our London Underground members for strikes and action short of strikes.”

"We believe that London needs an Underground that is adequately staffed to ensure an accessible, safe, reliable service, and that Londoners need more jobs not fewer. Today’s announcement takes London in the opposite direction." - Bob Crow

Union to hold immediate ballot for industrial action

The General Grades Committee has instructed me to hold an immediate ballot of all LUL members for strikes and action short of strikes, with notice to be served by Tuesday 26 November 2013 and the ballot to close in January 2014. I will of course ensure this is implemented and will write to LUL in line with all legal requirements.

The General Grades Committee feels we need to begin this ballot immediately because:-

  • LUL has formally begun a 90-day consultation, so could impose these cuts as early as February.
  • We will study and discuss the detail of LUL's announcement, but we know enough already to know that this will be devastating for passengers and workers.
  • RMT has been telling LUL for several years that we oppose cuts in staffing levels and ticket offices, but the company has not listened.
  • There is time during the balloting period for further talks, during which we hope that LUL will see sense and/or London's elected representatives will intervene to stop these job cuts.
  • Laws designed to slow down industrial action mean that to take action in the New Year; we need to begin balloting now.

Other areas we are pursuing in defence of Jobs

We are confident that the other trade unions on London Underground will also oppose these cuts and I am seeking an urgent meeting in the hope of developing a co-ordinated strategy.

The union has the legal right to submit an alternative proposal for consideration, and we will be preparing one which will be based on maintenance of staffing levels and safety standards, and return of all privatised functions to a unified, publicly-owned London Underground.

The General Grades Committee believe that these cuts will have a negative knock-on effect on our TfL members and will address this matter as soon as possible.

I am also arranging the production and mass distribution of a leaflet to the public.

I shall create and expand a special section on this campaign on the RMT website and urge members to utilise our Regional Council's website page (, Twitter account (Every Job Matters @LULnojobcuts) and Facebook page (Every Job Matters - Defending Jobs on London Underground

It is important that we start getting all members involved straight away in defence of these jobs and that we make every effort to get as many members as possible to vote in the ballot and to ensure they vote ‘YES’. It is imperative that we get a high turn-out to show we are a united front. This is not just about station staff; it is going to have a knock on effect on all staff. And members should be aware that whenever an employer comes for one group of staff, and is successful in reducing numbers or attacking terms and conditions, the rest are not far behind.

I will be emailing, sending out text messages and updating website on a regular basis and would ask that all branches and all representatives get actively involved in ensuring members are aware of LUL’s massive attack on them and the steps their union is taking in their defence.