Unions Threaten All Out Tube Strike

Unless their demands over safety and staffing are met

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London Underground's two biggest unions have told Tube bosses that more than 7,500 station staff and train operators will be balloted over strike action if their demands over safety and staffing are not met.

The 24 and 48 hour walkouts, planned to begin next month, would see the entire tube system grind to a halt and pickets positioned outside every station.

RMT and TSSA have told LUL that ticket-office closures, de-staffing, lone working, introduction of 'mobile supervisors', use of agency and security staff and other disputed policies amount to an unacceptable attack on safety standards.

"Each of these issues is serious in its own right, but together they amount to a fundamental and unacceptable attack on staffing across the network which strikes at the very heart of its safe operation," RMT general secretary Bob Crow said.

He continued "Our joint campaign against 40 ticket-office closures and massive cuts in opening times last year gave us a breathing space, but they are now back on the table, along with a raft of other plans and problems that combine to put our members' and passengers' safety at serious risk."

Tube bosses have been given 48 hours to agree to all the demands or else members of both unions will be balloted on strike action.

RMT and TSSA demands:

  • Ticket office closures and cuts to opening times: RMT and TSSA are demanding the complete withdrawal of the plans
  • Staffing levels - emergency plans and guidelines: RMT and TSSA are demanding the reinstatement of the original numbers of each grade of fully trained and fully familiarised station staff.
  • Refusal to work on grounds of safety: RMT and TSSA are demanding the immediate re-instatement of the original policy.
  • Mobile supervisors: RMT and TSSA are demanding that every station is fully staffed during traffic hours by the appropriate number of customer-service and station assistants, supervised by station supervisors in line with agreements and safety requirements.
  • Terminal 5 staffing: LUL wants to staff the new station with staff subcontracted from other firms but wearing LUL uniforms. RMT and TSSA believe that this has serious safety implications and has demanded that the station is staffed by people trained and employed directly by LUL.
  • Use of agency staff: LUL wants to continue using agency staff on former Silverlink stations, including those used for ticketing and revenue duties. RMT and TSSA are demanding that the practice ends when the training of former Silverlink staff is completed and current contracts ends, and a guarantee that only directly employed LUL staff are used for stations and ticketing operations
  • Use of security staff: RMT and TSSA are demanding an agreement that security at all LUL-owned or -managed stations must be provided at all times by directly employed staff in appropriate grades, supplemented by the normal co-operation with the BTP and Metropolitan police forces.
  • Lone working: RMT and TSSA are demanding an agreement that there must be no rostered lone working unless undertaken from a place of safety.
  • Direct recruitment of staff: RMT and TSSA are demanding a complete review of recruitment policy to establish a policy that preserves and encourages a career path for experienced railway staff.

February 6, 2008