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Tube drivers in 'safety' row action

London Underground drivers will refuse to follow new instructions after voting in favour of industrial action in a row over safety, it was announced today.

The Rail Maritime and Transport union said that from Friday, its driver members will continue to use "proven" safety procedures on the Tube, including reversing trains.

The union is also in dispute over drivers being "forced" to self-dispatch trains, which the RMT said was being introduced because of cuts in station staff.

General secretary Bob Crow said: "London Underground is attempting to impose dangerous operational changes that are cost-led, will undermine established safety procedures and will put our members and the travelling public in potential danger.

"It is nothing short of reckless to expect drivers to over-ride door failsafe systems after a potentially fatal incident in which a passenger jumped from a moving train and another was caught in its open doors.

"These unsafe procedures are being bulldozed through in a dash for cuts, and to cover up the impact of reductions in station staff - and LU has the gall to call it operational effectiveness."

Howard Collins, London Underground's Chief Operating Officer, said: "The fact that 70% of those balloted chose to reject the RMT's call for action short of a strike or not vote at all only shows that the RMT leadership is out of step with its members, and I would urge them to reconsider their plans to take industrial action.

"These procedural changes have no impact whatsoever on our high safety standards but will significantly help our response to incidents, reducing unnecessary delay and crowding and improving customer service.

"The changes, which have already been in place for a couple of weeks and delivering real benefits, have been exhaustively consulted upon with union representatives over the last two years and do not compromise any aspect of the Underground's stringent safety procedures."