Transport workers' union RMT has confirmed that it will ballot 3,500 London Underground workers for strike action and "action short of a strike" in a dispute over jobs and safety.
RMT said last week's security incident at North Greenwich Tube station had put safety "back at the top of the agenda". The station was closed and Tube services were disrupted for hours last Thursday after a suspect package was found on a Jubilee Line train. A 19-year-old man was arrested under the Terrorism Act the following day.
The union said today that a recent report, compiled by London Underground management, "blames the job cuts and unstaffed control room for a serious incident at Canning Town station, when an evacuation spiralled out of control following an accident where a passenger fell between a train and platform", and added: "The North Greenwich incident has underlined the urgency of the current situation."
A ballot of staff will open on 1 November and run until the 15 November. Any strike action would be held at least seven days after the ballot closes, if workers vote for it.
“London Underground knows that it has compromised safety and customer service across its stations by cutting jobs," said RMT general secretary Mick Cash.
"A responsible employer would reverse the job cuts and put staff back into station control rooms. If London Underground really cares about passengers it would reverse the ticket office closure programme.
“The continuing impact of those cuts leaves us with no alternative but to move to a ballot for industrial action and the terror alert at North Greenwich last week has confirmed the urgency of the current situation and the nonsense of axing station staff.
“The union will be campaigning for a massive yes vote in this ballot and we remain available for talks."