Tube staff to stage 24-hour strike

Published: Wednesday 8th July 2015 by The News Editor

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London Underground services will start running down later today because of a 24-hour strike by thousands of workers over pay and new all-night Tubes.

The walkout will start at 6.30pm and will cripple services until Friday morning.

The action coincides with a 48-hour stoppage by workers on First Great Western which will disrupt trains to and from London Paddington.

Workers involved in the two separate disputes will stage a rally outside Paddington just before the action starts.

Talks aimed at averting the LU strike broke down after the two sides had met at the conciliation service Acas. The stoppage will cause travel chaos across the capital. The two sides blamed each other for the breakdown.

Passengers were given details of disruption to Tube services. LU said Tubes will start running down from 5pm, there will be no services on Thursday and there could be disruption on Friday morning.

Tubes are expected to be “exceptionally busy” between 4pm and 6pm – just after the Budget – as people try to get home before the 24-hour strike officially starts at 6.30pm.

Almost 20,000 members of four trade unions will strike in a row over the new all-night Tube services.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT), Aslef, Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) and Unite have been in dispute over pay being offered for the new service, due to start at weekends from mid-September, as well as rosters.

Managers have tabled a “final” offer, including an average 2% rise this year, at least RPI inflation for each of the next two years and £2,000 for drivers on the new all-night service.

Transport for London said extra bus and river services will run, but warned that roads and all public transport will be much busier than usual.

Mike Brown, managing director of LU, told the Press Association he was “gutted” that the unions had not responded to the “fair and reasonable” offer.

“It would have been good if we could have had some talks, because none of the unions responded to the offer.

“If they are not prepared to talk to us they should go back to their members because this is a vastly different offer.

“All we have heard is a series of speeches from trade union leaders, condemning us for communicating with our staff.

“The offer is still there and we are available to talk about it. I am amazed we have had no response.”

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Despite strenuous efforts by union negotiators to press London Underground to address the issues of fairness, safety, work/life balance and equality at the heart of this dispute, they have come up with nothing in the talks.

“The action is on and RMT will be mobilising picket lines and effective action with our sister unions and there are no further talks planned at this stage.”

Finn Brennan, Aslef’s organiser on the Tube said: “The responsibility for this strike and the disruption that it will cause rests squarely with London Underground management .

“They squandered the window of opportunity to resolve this dispute by refusing to move their position in the slightest for three months and then demanding that all four trade unions accept an offer in one afternoon. They have played foolish games of brinkmanship, taking their offer off the table then denying they had done so.

“Aslef members voted by over 97% on a turnout of more than 81% to take strike action to protect their work life balance and working conditions. Money has never been the key issue in this dispute – ensuring that change is negotiated rather than imposed and introduced in a fair way has.

“Attempts to brand it as political and using tired cliched attacks on trade unions are simply an effort to distract attention from London Underground’s inept handling of negotiations.

“We will be ready to return to the negotiating table on Friday morning to ensure that further action can be avoided.”

Published: Wednesday 8th July 2015 by The News Editor

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