Page last updated at 09:09 GMT, Friday, 29 January 2010

London Underground workers to strike in rota dispute

Tube train
Maintenance staff voted 12-1 in favour of strike

London Underground (LU) maintenance staff will hold a series of one-day strikes over new rotas, the Rail, Maritime and Transport union has said.

More than 700 staff will walk out for 24 hours from 0645 GMT on 5 and 14 February, according to the union.

Union members also plan to walk out on following Sundays until the dispute about the new rotas and the outsourcing of work and contracts is resolved.

LU said the move was "ludicrous", because new rotas affected 30 workers.

'Bully-boy' management

The dispute is over the working conditions of maintenance staff on the former Metronet sections of the Tube network - all lines except for the Piccadilly, Northern and Jubilee.

The RMT accused LU of adopting "bully-boy" tactics.

Bob Crow, the union's general secretary, said: "LU have been hell-bent on confrontation through their tearing up of the signals framework agreement and through the unilateral introduction of new working practices which mean they can make people work what hours they like, when they like."

But Phil Hufton, LU's chief maintenance officer, said staff and unions were "fully consulted".

He said: "We are planning to introduce a roster covering 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to ensure planned engineering staff are always available. That agreement already exists, but the RMT is trying to tear it up."

Jobs 'threatened'

Meanwhile in a separate row, the union claimed that LU was "secretly" discussing plans to save £5bn in spending which would threaten 1,200 jobs and close 144 ticket offices in stations.

Mr Crow said: "The job cuts being cooked up behind closed doors for Underground stations would leave passengers dangerously exposed in the event of an emergency and would ratchet up the dangers for the public."

But a Transport for London (TfL) spokesman stressed that "no decisions have been made".

"Given the current economic climate and the need to be ready for the changes that will arise when the Tube upgrades are delivered, we are looking at how we can be best organised to provide that service."

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Tube staff to strike over rosters
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Daily Star '1,200 Tube jobs at risk in cuts'Full Story - 12 hrs ago
Berwick Advertiser Tube maintenance staff to strike - 13 hrs ago
IC Lichfield '1,200 Tube jobs at risk in cuts' - 17 hrs ago
London Daily News RMT turning the screws - 24hr tube walkout - National strike threatened - 19 hrs ago
The Independent LU condemns Tube staff strikes - 20 hrs ago

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