19 Days Remaining

Monday 9th
posted by Conrad Landin in Britain

DOZENS of Tube stations will not open today after rail unions rejected a revised offer on staffing levels.

The unions have accused London Underground of axing over 800 jobs in its Fit for the Future programme, under which every ticket office on the Tube network was closed.

Conciliation talks with RMT broke down on Saturday. A new offer was then rejected by the TSSA, the other union involved in the dispute.

RMT said that bosses had only agreed to reinstate 150 of the axed posts and were refusing to reopen booking offices.

Management said 600 new recruits would be taken on this year, but the union said most of these were to fill current vacancies and staff turnover.

Last night, Transport for London (TfL) warned that many Tube stations would stay closed, with a limited number opening between 7am and 7pm. The Piccadilly line connection to Heathrow will face a total shutdown, along with the Victoria and Waterloo and City lines.

TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes said: “Whilst [members] accept the offer of more staff is a step in the right direction to restoring Tube safety standards, they do not believe the offer will return those standards with the urgency that is now needed.

“We remain committed to taking part in further talks to seek a resolution to this dispute.”

An RMT members’ circular said the union had “demanded that [management] guarantee the staffing of all stations’ control rooms” and that “the current offer of 150 additional jobs be significantly improved and guaranteed to not be lowered under any circumstances.”

But bosses “repeat[ed] their offer of yesterday,” reps reported back.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan branded the strike “pointless,” claiming that there was a “good deal sitting on the table” that would ensure safe adequate station staffing.

“I have instructed Transport for London to continue negotiating and we will be available around the clock to resolve this dispute,” he said.

“This historic dispute has nothing to do with the millions of Londoners this strike is punishing. It must be called off.”

Tube operations chief Steve Griffiths said bosses “had always intended to review staffing levels and have had constructive discussions with the unions.”

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