Q.WHY ARE WORKERS STRIKING?
A.London Underground staff, as represented by unions RMT and TSSA, are striking against proposals by London Mayor Boris Johnson and Transport for London (TfL) to cut up to 800 station jobs, including ticketing staff and station management in a bid to save the cash-starved network from a series of government funding cuts.
Q.HOW WILL THE CUTS HIT UNDERGROUND WORKERS?
A.TfL has said that it plans to reduce the number of operational hours at Underground ticketing offices by nearly 7,500 a week across the network. TfL has said that at some stations, including Latimer Road and North Ealing, ticket offices sell less than 10 tickets an hour, while only one in 20 Underground journeys begin at a ticketing office. TfL said this is a result of the Oyster card programme.
Q.SO WHY ARE THE UNIONS UNHAPPY?
A.RMT and TSSA have argued that the proposed cuts are now a safety issue as ticketing staff not only sell tickets but also provide assistance to passengers. The unions have also argued that a brightly lit ticketing office provides a safe haven to passengers, especially for women who are travelling on the underground network, at night or when few
people are around.
Q.ARE JOB CUTS THE ONLY ISSUE?
A.Not entirely. On Sunday evening at 7pm, over 200 Alstom-Metro workers left their posts to strike for 24 hours. The train engineers, who service the Northern and Jubilee Lines are disputing pay levels. The RMT voted against a proposed two per cent pay increase for Alstom staff, but the company called the proposals “fair and reasonable” in the current financial climate. Engineers plan to strike on 2 October, 1 November and 27 November. RMT said this first strike would be “rock solid”.