Page last updated at 15:01 GMT, Monday, 29 September 2008 16:01 UK

Tube ballot for maintenance staff

Tube platform
Metronet maintains two-thirds of London Underground lines

Tube workers are to be balloted for strike action in protest at the suspension of a safety representative.

The Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union said 2,500 members working for maintenance firm Metronet would vote on whether to take industrial action.

The union said member Andy Littlechild was suspended earlier this month for not wearing a hard hat.

A Transport for London (TfL) spokesman confirmed Mr Littlechild's suspension but said the ballot was "unnecessary".

Metronet is responsible for the maintenance of two thirds of the London Underground lines.

TfL's spokesman said: "There are procedures in place to deal with such issues, agreed with our trade unions. We are disappointed these are not being followed."

He added: "We urge the RMT to engage in discussions to resolve this matter, rather than through an unnecessary ballot for industrial action."

The union also warned that Metronet signals staff could be balloted in a row over proposed cuts in signals maintenance and changes to working rosters.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: "The company says it needs to divert staff for an urgent survey of signals cabling that is half a century old, but it must be unacceptable to do that at the expense of basic maintenance."


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