Page last updated at 16:38 GMT, Wednesday, 28 January 2009

DLR staff to strike over shifts

Docklands Light Railway
Docklands Light Railway is run by Serco

Workers in the control room of the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) are to strike for 24 hours in a dispute over a new weekend roster.

The Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union suspended an earlier threat of action after private operator Serco Docklands withdrew the roster.

But talks failed to resolve the dispute and the planned strike, beginning on Monday afternoon, will now go ahead.

Serco Docklands said a new roster is needed to improve safety.

'Imposed conditions'

The strike, set to begin at 1305 GMT, will halt the service until the end of Tuesday, according to Serco Docklands.

A spokesperson for the firm said talks were ongoing in an attempt to avert the action.

The RMT balloted its 22 control room staff in December, with 20 voting in favour of a strike.

The union said it opposed Serco Docklands' plans to replace 12-hour weekend shifts with eight-hour shifts.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: "The company's proposal to replace 12-hour weekend shifts with eight-hour turns is an attack on our members' work-life balance that will cost them 24 rest days a year, and to suggest the move is motivated by safety concerns turns reason on its head."

Mr Crow said his union now plans to ballot all 350 of its DLR staff on a possible escalation in job action beyond Monday's planned strike, as it is expected the new roster could be rolled out across the workforce.

David Godley, of Serco Docklands said the new roster "is an essential change to improve safety on our growing and highly complex railway".

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