Tube bosses sit down with unions to avert more strikes

LONDON Underground (LU) bosses went back to the drawing board with trade unions RMT and the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) yesterday in a bid to avert two more looming strikes and put an end to the long running dispute over staffing levels.

The three parties met at conciliation service Acas yesterday afternoon to try and hash out a deal that could see the unions call off a set of 24-hour strikes scheduled for 2 and 28 November.

RMT and TSSA, which represent more than 10,000 Tube staff, are at odds with LU over plans to axe up to 800 station jobs, a move they say will cause safety threats to workers and commuters.

LU argued that the cuts are necessary as some stations sell fewer than 10 tickets an hour due to the Oyster programme. The transport group also said the staffing changes will be delivered “without any impact on the Tube’s high safety standard” and with a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies.

“London Underground needs to change, and we look forward to being able to explain how we intend to do that with no compulsory redundancies and with no impact on our high safety standards. All of our stations with a ticket office will continue to have one,” said LU’s chief operating officer Howard Collins.

Services on the Tube have already been impacted by two strike periods since September causing heavy disruptions across the entire Underground network.

Transport for London (TfL) said it operated roughly 40 per cent of train services during the last strike on 4 October at the same time it issued 100 extra buses and increased its Thames riverboat capacity.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “The mayor is presiding over a crisis on the tube and has chosen to attack his own staff rather than getting a grip on a transport system in meltdown on his watch.”