Page last updated at 11:00 GMT, Thursday, 19 February 2009

Rail workers balloted over strike

New London Overground train
London Overground workers could join co-ordinated strike action

Workers on the London Overground network are to be balloted on strike action after a "complete breakdown" in industrial relations.

Nearly 300 staff will vote in a dispute over restructuring proposals, according to the RMT.

Transport for London (TfL) urged the dispute to be settled without a strike.

The vote is being held at the same time as 3,500 staff from three other train operating companies are balloted over plans to cut jobs.

'Passenger disruption'

"Our members' problems at London Overground have multiplied in recent months to the point that we have a complete breakdown in industrial relations, and there is no option left but to ballot for strike action," said RMT general secretary Bob Crow.

"There is growing anger among our members that the company has even failed to keep promises to provide basic facilities like proper toilets, mess rooms and communications."

The union also claims that rail bosses have failed to confirm verbal assurances that new trains will be staffed by guards.

A spokesman for TfL said: "This is a matter between London Overground and the RMT and we would urge that the dispute is settled without the need for industrial action and disruption to passengers."

Workers at South West Trains, First Capital Connect and National Express East Anglia will also vote on whether to take strike action.

The RMT claimed that over 1,000 jobs were being cut at the three companies even though they continued to make healthy profits.

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