Tube workers vote for 72-hour strike

Around 1,000 London Underground maintenance workers are to stage two 72-hour strikes in a dispute over pay and conditions, threatening “massive” disruption to Tube services, a leading union announced today.

Members of the Rail Maritime and Transport union at Tube Lines will walk out at 12 noon next Wednesday and again from noon on the following Wednesday, September 3.

The workers voted by more than three to one in favour of industrial action in protest at a 4.85% pay offer, which the union said was an inferior deal to one accepted on behalf of staff employed on Metronet contracts.

Tube Lines maintains track and trains on the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines and operates emergency response units across the underground network, which is used by millions of travellers every day.

Metronet collapsed last year and its work has now been taken over by Transport for London.

More than 700 RMT members working as cleaners on the Tube are also going on strike in a separate row over pay, the union decided today.

Bob Crow, the union’s general secretary, said Tube Lines employees did the same work as those on Metronet contracts but were not prepared to be “worse off”.

He added: “Tube Lines has made enormous profits on the backs of our members’ hard work, yet they seem to expect that they will accept an inferior deal on pay, pensions and conditions.

“Metronet workers can join a final salary pension scheme, but Tube Lines wants to keep the door closed on it, and Tube Lines members are also denied the travel facilities that Metronet staff enjoy.

“Tube Lines’ bottom line seems to be that it is OK for its staff to be treated as second-class citizens so long as the dividends keep rolling in for its shareholders.

“Our members are facing the reality of a 5% inflation rate and soaring energy and food bills, and if Tube Lines wants to avoid a crippling strike it should get back around the table with an offer that meets their needs.”

The cleaners will strike from 5.30am on August 21 for 48 hours in the latest action over a campaign to win the so-called London Living Wage of £7.45 an hour. It will be their third strike over pay.

“Last month the mayor said that he would see to it that all cleaners on Metronet contracts would be paid the London living wage by August at the latest, but there is still no sign even of that happening,” said Mr Crow.

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Source : Metro News

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