Over 80 per cent back industrial action
Train staff have voted for strike action over job losses, safety and ticket station closures.
Thousands of Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union members voted in two separate ballots on disputes over the London Underground.
The union’s executive will now consider potential strike action, which could take place in the run-up to Christmas.
The first ballot saw 85 per cent vote for a strike and 94 per cent for action short of a strike over plans to axe 900 frontline jobs and close ticket offices, which the RMT says puts staff in danger.
A second smaller ballot of hundreds of Piccadilly Line drivers over the ‘wholesale breakdown’ of industrial relations saw 84 per cent vote for strike action and 87 per cent for action short of a strike.
Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary, said:
“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.
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.”
He went on:
“In the separate dispute involving drivers on the Piccadilly Line, safety is again a major factor and is tied in with the ripping up of policies and procedures and ignoring warnings from staff.
Our members have been left exposed and vulnerable and we have no choice but to blow the whistle before lasting damage is done.”
Cash added that the union is still open to talks.
Meanwhile, the TSSA union said threats and abuse of members have increased since ticket office closures began, with 540 staff members saying they feel less safe having moved from ticket offices to station concourses.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has ordered a review of the ticket office closures.
Manuel Cortes, general secretary of TSSA, said:
“While we acknowledge Sadiq Khan has ordered a review of the chaos caused by closing ticket offices, our members are so fed up and fearful they are now prepared to force the pace of change with strike action to highlight their concerns.”
Steve Griffiths, Transport for London’s chief operating officer for London Underground, said:
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“Our staff work hard to serve the millions of customers that pass through the Tube and rail network every day.
“Everyone has the right to go about their work without fear or intimidation and we do not tolerate any form of verbal or physical assault on our staff.”