The Tube dispute

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A collapse in talks with London Underground made tomorrow's planned tube strike almost inevitable, the rail unions said last night.

The Aslef and RMT unions accused the management of "indifference and incompetence" after a further afternoon's negotiations at the independent conciliation service, Acas, failed to produce a breakthrough.

With no prospect of new talks, London Underground announced it intended to ask the Wages Board to arbitrate on the dispute, which can be done without the participation of the unions, although any decision reached would not be binding.

A spokeswoman said: "There are no plans to meet. Going to the Wages Board is at least a move in a different direction." The strike is expected to bring the Tube to a virtual standstill.