The threat of strike action across the Tube network is on the cards after the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union announced it will ballot station staff across the London Underground for industrial action.
The union said the ballot is to support a sacked colleague, after members of its London Bridge group voted in favour of a walkout last month. One member was sacked and two others disciplined for their handling of an alleged fare-dodger.
Tube workers at London Bridge have since been instructed not to book on for any shifts commencing 22:00 on Sunday 7 May 2017 until 21:59 on Monday 8 May 2017, though Transport for London (TfL) is not expecting much disruption from the action.
And now the threat of further action has arisen after the RMT announced it was escalating its dispute with London Underground.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said:
Our members are standing up in support of their victimised colleagues at London Bridge and with London Underground making it absolutely clear they have no interest in the principles of natural justice we have no option at all but to take this industrial action. We have no doubt that the public will understand that.
RMT’s executive has noted the aggressive and intransigent stance adopted by Tube bosses and has now decided to escalate to a ballot of all station staff.
The union has called on TfL to reinstate the dismissed member of staff involved in the London Bridge incident.
However, TfL says the CCTV coverage it reviewed of the incident did not match the account given by the individual.
Brian Woodhead, operations director for London Underground, said:
The version of events described by the RMT union is simply untrue. CCTV footage from a number of different angles clearly shows a staff member displaying unacceptable conduct when dealing with a member of the public.
The member of staff was dismissed following a full and thorough investigation. We have subsequently invited the general secretary of the union to view the footage himself, but our invitation has not been accepted.
That offer is still open and, while we intend to keep London Bridge station open throughout the strike, I encourage the RMT leadership to do the right thing and call off this unjustifiable industrial action.