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Thursday, 30 August, 2001, 21:27 GMT 22:27 UK
Tube workers to vote on strike action
Tube train
More strike action could be on the cards
Millions of travellers could be facing disruption when Tube workers are balloted on strike action next month over a long-running pay dispute.

Members of the Rail Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) will vote on whether to take industrial action in protest at a "final" pay offer of 3.7%.

We'd say to the RMT to think again and urge them not to go hurtling down this unnecessary road of conflict and dispute

Mike Gardiner, London Underground

Strikes on London Underground (LU) could start in early October if the result of the ballot - announced in late September - is in favour of industrial action.

The union decided to hold a ballot after LU said it would not increase its pay offer, even though an independent arbiter said the deal should be worth a further 0.3%.

Bob Crow, the union's assistant general secretary, said: "The cause of this dispute lies squarely on the shoulders of LU who have shown arrogant disregard for the views of the independent arbiter."

'Senseless' action

Mike Gardiner, LU's head of employee relations, urged the RMT to "think again" about the strike vote.

He said the decision to ballot members "made no sense" after the union had agreed to meet with bosses on Monday morning to discuss the pay issue further.

Mr Gardiner added: "Our final pay offer of 3.7% - which remains on the table - is above the rate of inflation and compares favourably with other pay settlements in the public sector so far this year.

"We'd say to the RMT to think again and urge them not to go hurtling down this unnecessary road of conflict and dispute."

Ken Livingstone,
Ken Livingstone has been urged to condemn further action

Eric Ollerenshaw, deputy leader of the Tory group on the Greater London Assembly also condemned the threat of strike action.

He said: "Londoners will feel angry that this ballot is occurring at all.

"Only recently these unions received 'jobs for life' from the Mayor of London, who has continued to bow down to their antics.

"Time and time again these militants are allowed to cripple London - enough is enough. [Ken] Livingstone should immediately condemn this threat of a further strike."

In June, the RMT called off strike action after reaching a deal with LU managers over job security.

They agreed there would be no compulsory redundancies among Tube workers when private companies become involved in running sections of the network.

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