Page last updated at 14:29 GMT, Tuesday, 19 August 2008 15:29 UK

Talks aim to prevent Tube strike

Tube platform
The union is striking over what is says are unequal rates of pay

Talks are continuing between rail unions and management in a bid to avert a 72-hour Tube strike.

Up to 1,000 members of the Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union are due to walk out at 1200 BST on Wednesday in protest at a pay offer.

It is the first of two planned strikes by Tube Lines staff who maintain the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines.

London Underground (LU) said a strike may disrupt those three lines but other services should operate normally.

'Competitive' pay

The row is over a pay offer the RMT claims would leave staff worse off than those working on other parts of the network.

But Tube Lines said its pay and conditions were "very competitive" and that the RMT action was politically motivated.

Tube Lines chief executive Terry Morgan said the RMT wanted private firm Tube Lines to be taken over by TfL in the same way that failed maintenance firm Metronet was earlier this year.

"That view should be (expressed) through debate and argument, not through using his members and my employees to actually try to make this change happen by forcing this business to fail - we won't allow that to happen," Mr Morgan said.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: "When it comes to pay and conditions, what we want is the same pay that is paid to the Metronet workers who work alongside us."

We want our union to keep on campaigning until Tube Lines is back in the public sector
RMT general secretary Bob Crow

Last week union members voted by more than three-to-one in favour of strike action.

Staff threatening to strike include track workers, train maintainers and signallers who earn between 30,700 and 50,300.

Tube Lines offered them a one year pay deal at 4.8% or a two-year agreement worth 4.95% in the first year one and Retail Price Index inflation plus 0.75% in year two.

The union said it was inferior to the deal accepted by workers employed by Metronet, who this year were given a 5.1% pay rise in the third year of a three-year agreement.

Possible disruption

Talks between the union and Tube Lines continued on Tuesday afternoon.

LU said services on the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines may be disrupted but a normal service should operate on all other lines.

An LU spokeswoman said: "The other lines are maintained by Metronet, now under TfL control, so we expect services to operate on those lines tomorrow."

Union members also plan to walk out for another 72 hours on 3 September.


SEE ALSO
Tube staff stage 24-hour strike
07 Aug 08 |  London

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