Tube workers facing threats of violence after more than 100 hundred station closures in two months

RMT called on TfL to end its cuts programme, which is forcing repeated station closures across the network, opening staff up to abuse from frustrated passengers.

TfL has had its funding from central government dramatically cut but instead of standing up to ministers, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is cutting 600 staff and implementing a new rostering system that does not work.

There have been acute problems on the Central line where between them, Marble Arch, Lancaster Gate, Queensway and Holland Park, have closed over 50 times since mid-April. Overall, there have been 71 tube station closures in April and 60 so far in May.

It is a legal requirement for a certain number of staff to be present at a tube station in order to keep it open. But due to shortages, RMT members are being transferred to short-staffed stations to keep some open while others are closed. Increasing verbal abuse and threats of violence have become commonplace where some tube staff are having to take periods of absence due to work related stress.

One tube worker said: "Staff are vulnerable when they have to inform the public a station is closed. I have been threatened with violence and verbally abused. There are colleagues who are suffering from poor mental health as a result of their treatment. And some of them are having to take long periods of sick leave which only adds to the already dire staffing situation."

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: "The cuts to tube staff are creating chronic shortages across the network leading to unprecedented station closures. Frustration amongst the travelling public has boiled over in some cases to nasty threats of violence and verbal abuse of our members, something RMT will not tolerate. If things do not improve, our members run the real risk of being seriously physically assaulted at work. The responsibility for the staff shortages lies with government budget cuts to TfL and the London Mayor who is refusing to stand up to ministers suffocating the capital's transport finances."

> RMT National News

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