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Tube strikes: Dear London...

Tube strike

There is no end in sight to the industrial dispute between Tube workers and London transport bosses.

Here, the RMT and Transport for London each write a letter to the travelling public outlining their respective positions.

"To defend your safety and services..."

Bob Crow
RMT General Secretary

RMT and TSSA members on London Underground are striking again from Tuesday night to defend your safety and services.

During his election campaign, Boris Johnson pledged to "put the commuter first... by halting the proposed Tube ticket office closures, and ensuring that there is always a manned ticket office at every station."

Yet now he plans to cut 800 station staff - with more in the pipeline.

London TravelWatch has "severe concerns" at proposals to cut 7,500 ticket-office hours a week, saying that "passengers feel safer and more secure with a staff presence."

The London Assembly opposes the cuts, despite two Tory attempts to prevent a vote.

LU says that ticket offices sell as few as ten tickets an hour, but this applies to just a handful and, in any case, ticket offices do far more than sell tickets.

LU has said it wants to get staff out of ticket offices and onto platforms, but it is planning a net loss of 800 station jobs and that will seriously affect its ability to staff stations safely.

The posts threatened are safety-trained station staff - people who know how to evacuate stations and trains in an emergency and who were hailed as heroes by the July 7 inquest.

Stations are already left unstaffed - even Heathrow at least once. Between October 2009 and March 2010, surface-level stations on five lines were unstaffed for entire shifts 439 times.

Maintenance cuts are also undermining safety. We have already seen a runaway train seconds from collision, trains run without safety checks, the entire District Line fleet out of service and days of meltdown thanks to lack of maintenance - yet now the mayor has 2,000 jobs in his sights.

We hope Londoners will understand that our members are taking action to defend Tube safety for everyone.

Bob Crow, RMT General Secretary

"It's clear we need to change..."

Mike Brown
Managing director, London Underground

The changes we're making to staffing on the Underground are well-documented - Londoners have embraced Oyster, so much so that 80 per cent of Tube journeys are made using it, and just one Tube journey in 20 now starts with a ticket office transaction.

That means we can get staff out and about in stations where they can be of most help to you, not stuck behind a ticket window that no one's using. It's clear we need to change, but we've always been happy to discuss our plans with the RMT and TSSA leaderships.

We've explained the changes come with no impact on safety and a cast-iron guarantee that not one member of staff will face compulsory redundancy.

We've given assurances that stations will continue to be staffed and that every station with a ticket office will still have one. But despite exhaustive talks the union leaderships remain intent on disrupting Londoners.

Journeys will be more difficult and I regret that, but 93 per cent of our customers beat the September and October strikes using public transport, and during the last strike we ran more than a third of Tube services, carrying well over a million passengers.

We'll be boosting alternative services again to keep you moving on Wednesday, with 100 extra buses, capacity for around 10,000 more river journeys and marshalled taxi ranks. Planned roadworks are being delayed or curtailed, and an army of volunteers will again be positioned at Tube, bus and rail station to help with your journey and provide maps and information.

It's not too late for the RMT and TSSA leaderships to see sense and call off this futile strike, and return to constructive talks.

All this strike will achieve is the loss of another day's pay for frontline staff, whose pockets are already being hit hard by the RMT's pointless overtime ban. But if the union leaderships simply won't face the clear case for change, I know that Londoners will shown once again that they will not let this strike stop them.

Mike Brown, Managing Director, London Underground

Get the latest information and news on the Tube strike on this website, on Twitter with @BBCtravelalert , BBC London's Facebook page, BBC London 94.9 travel updates on Audioboo and on our interactive Crowdmap page.

Get the latest on the Tube strike
03 Nov 10 |  People & Places



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