Two 48-hour Tube strikes to hit London

LONDONERS are facing severe travel disruptions after rail union RMT announced two 48-hour strikes by Tube Lines maintenance staff starting later this month.

Tube Lines workers, which cover maintenance of the Jubilee, Piccadilly and Northern lines, will walk off the job from 23 to 25 June and 14 to 16 July.

The strike is likely to affect the entire London Underground network as Tube Lines also owns an emergency response team that oversees urgent repairs across all lines.

“We have given Transport for London [TfL], and their newly-acquired subsidiary Tube Lines, plenty of opportunity to give us assurances that staff won’t take the hit for the failure of the doomed privatisation project,” said RMT general secretary Bob Crow.

RMT members voted 90 per cent in favour of a strike last week on the back of concerns over job security, pay and working conditions once TfL completes its acquisition of Tube Lines at the end of the month.

TfL said the matter had nothing to do with London Underground or its drivers and that disputes between Tube Lines and its workers over pay existed before the decision to take over the maintenance group.

A TfL spokesperson said: “We strongly urge RMT leadership to call off the threatened strike action and to enter proper dialogue with us after our acquisition of Tube Lines.”

London Mayor Boris Johnson signaled yesterday that he and TfL have come up with a contingency plan to reduce maintenance disruption on the Northern Line, which currently suffers from daily closures as it undergoes its upgrade.

The Bank branch of the Northern Line will be closed between Kennington and Camden, and the High Barnet branch north of East Finchley will close from around 9.30 pm between Monday and Thursday from 5 July.

Johnson said: “This is the first sign that we are close to an escape from the dastardly confines of PPP.”