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Tube 'death trap' warning by unions

London Tube stations could be turned into "death traps" under proposed changes to train operations and staffing cuts, union leaders warned today.

The Rail Maritime and Transport union said proposals submitted by London Underground would lead to unsafe working practices being "bulldozed through."

LU strongly denied the claims and stressed that safety was its top priority.

The union claimed that under the plans, drivers would be forced to use trains with defective mirrors and monitors and evacuate stalled trains without the help of station staff.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said the union had been warning that plans to cut 800 station staff would have "lethal consequences" across the Underground, adding: "These plans to try and force drivers to accept unsafe working practices ram that point home loud and clear. RMT will fight these proposals all the way."

A Transport for London spokesman said: "The safety of our staff and customers remains our top priority and the RMT leadership should end their constant efforts to unsettle our employees and alarm our passengers without any cause.

"The changes we are proposing will mean we can respond to incidents more quickly and cut unnecessary delays.

"They will do nothing to compromise safety. As we have consistently made clear, our stations will be staffed at all times while trains are running.

"London Underground has an exemplary and improving safety record and we would do nothing to jeopardise that."