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Tuesday, 9 July, 2002, 18:59 GMT 19:59 UK
Tube workers vote to strike
Tube platform
Workers fear privatisation of the Tube is unsafe
London Underground workers have voted to strike over safety concerns.

Leaders of the Rail Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) said an "overwhelming majority" of its 9,000 members on the Tube backed industrial action.

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said they were concerned that the proposed part-privatisation of the Underground was unsafe.

The vote result will now go to the union's executive members who will decide if, and when, industrial action will be taken.


We think everything is being rushed through

RMT union

Of 2,869 votes cast, 2,556 were in favour of action and 313 were against, said the union.

"Our members have every right to protect their own and the public's safety," said RMT general secretary Bob Crow.

"When lives are at stake there can be no room for compromise, and the experience of the national railway proves that splitting up the Tube network in the same way is potentially disastrous," he said.

'Minority support'

Mike Strzelecki, London Underground's safety director said: "We understand that the actual turnout was just over a third - that means the majority of RMT members have not voted to strike.

"This is hardly a convincing mandate for strike action.

"And it is hard to see how - on this turnout - the RMT Executive can justify the prospect of such widespread disruption to London and its travelling public.

"Back in May we asked RMT to outline their specific concerns to us so that we could address them together in a positive way - we have yet to receive any response.

"That offer remains open to RMT and we would urge them to come and talk to us about their concerns rather than taking strike action that has only minority support among their members."

Legal challenge

The government's Public Private Partnership plan (PPP) for London Underground has proved highly controversial.

Workers are concerned that commercial pressures and new management structures could affect the safe running of the Tube.

London Mayor Ken Livingstone and his transport commissioner Bob Kiley are also opposed to the PPP and have launched a High Court challenge against the plan.

The hearing is expected to take place on the 23 July.

Under PPP, the Tube Lines consortium will be responsible for maintaining and upgrading the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines of the Tube, while the Metronet consortium maintains the rest of the lines.

The actual operation of the trains will stay in the public sector and will be the responsibility of the London mayor and the capital's transport commissioner.


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See also:

21 Jun 02 | England
18 Jun 02 | UK
08 May 02 | Business
06 Feb 02 | ppp
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