Bad news for the capital’s commuters – London Underground could be facing a new strike threat just in time for the festive period.
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) are set to vote on whether to launch a campaign of industrial action in the coming weeks.
While union leaders have not yet announced a start date for the ballot, the first walkouts could start next month and then lead into December, causing disruption in the run-up to Christmas.
Significant support is forecast for the strike – RMT said around 3,800 station-based workers were involved in an “ongoing battle” over jobs, as well as the dispute over the closure of Tube ticket offices. The union said nearly 900 jobs had been removed from stations, although passenger numbers keep on rising.
“London Underground knows that it has compromised safety and customer service across its stations by cutting jobs," said RMT’s general secretary, Mick Cash.
"A responsible employer would reverse the job cuts and put staff back into control rooms.”
“London Underground says that it aspires to be a ‘world class service’. RMT says that a self-service railway that can’t staff its control rooms to monitor fire alarms, lift alarms and passenger help points would struggle in league two, let alone be considered world class."
So far this year the RMT has announced 41 transport strike ballots. Southern, which is facing 14 more 24-hour walkouts by RMT guards from next week, launched a campaign earlier today calling on passengers to tell the RMT how they feel about ongoing strikes. That backfired spectacularly.
Steve Griffiths, London Underground’s chief operating officer, said: “The safety of customers and staff is our top priority and our hardworking people ensure London Underground remains one of the safest metros in the world. There are more of our staff available to customers in public areas of stations than ever before and crime is at its lowest ever level.
"As the mayor announced last week, an independent review into the ticket offices is being carried out by London TravelWatch to ensure that it’s delivering for our customers.”