Union says ticket office closures will make tube a criminals' paradise
Members of the RMT Union have voted to hold two 48 hour strikes on the tube during February in response to TfL's plans to shut ticket offices across the network.
The union is claiming 'massive' support for the action with 77% of votes cast being in favour of industrial action. London Underground management say the low turnout on the ballot of just 30% does not give the union a mandate to hold the strikes.
The first strike is due affect services on the 4th and 5th February and the second strike follows on the 12th and 13th February. In addition station staff will not carry out revenue duties on 7th, 10th and 14th February between 09.30 and 11.30 hours and 18.30 and 20.30.
RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said: “These cuts would hit the vulnerable, the elderly, those with disabilities and women the hardest. De-staffing stations, with supervisors running operations three stops down the line on an IPad, would turn the tube system into a criminals' paradise where those with violence and robbery on their minds are given a clear run. "
He anticipated the low turnout being raised by pointing out that the proportion voting was higher than in the last mayoral and GLA elections.
Richard Tracey, Conservative London Assembly Member for Wandsworth and Merton, said: “Yet again, militant RMT bosses are blackmailing workers and businesses with strike misery, which is backed by just 31% of their membership. If these strikes go ahead, it will be our workers who don’t get paid if they can’t get to work and businesses who will miss out on vital trade. RMT seems to be doing everything in its power to block innovation and progress on our tube network, while making sure their members pockets are lined with £46K salaries to drive trains, some of which are driverless capable, and bribes just to do their job on public holidays. Closing ticket offices will save £50 million every year and put staff around stations where they can serve the public effectively.”
Phil Hufton, LU's Chief Operating Officer, said: "Our customers and staff are at the heart of our vision for the future of the Tube. All Tube stations will remain staffed at all times when services are operating, and we'll be introducing a 24-hour service at weekends during 2015. In future, there will be more staff in ticket halls and on platforms to help customers buy the right ticket and keep them safe and secure.
"We're committed to working with unions and staff to implement changes to station staffing without compulsory redundancies and we've been clear that there'll be a job for everyone at LU who wants to work for us and be flexible. I urge our trade union colleagues to work with us to shape the future of the Tube. "
January 15, 2014