London Underground maintenance workers have voted in favour of strike action in a long-running row over jobs, pay and conditions, it was announced today.
The Rail Maritime and Transport union said its members employed by the Tube Lines consortium had backed industrial action by a margin of nine to one.
The union said that even though Transport for London is taking over the maintenance and upgrade work carried out by Tube Lines, the threat to jobs, conditions and pay remained in place, leaving staff with an uncertain future.
RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: "Once again RMT members have shown their determination to stand up and be counted when it comes to defending jobs, pay and working conditions.
"We have made it perfectly clear to Transport for London that we do not expect our members to take the hit for the final collapse of the disastrous tube privatisation experiment.
"Those responsible for the fiasco have creamed off vast amounts of Londoners' cash in profits and are even getting a further £310 million pay-off in what is a reward for failure on a massive scale.
"We have sought concrete assurances that staff will not be expected to pay off the Tube Line's exit costs in job losses, attacks on safe working conditions and an undermining of pay rates. Now that we have this massive mandate for action it's essential that those assurances are forthcoming as a matter of urgency."
The union's executive will meet in the next few days to decide the next move.
A Transport for London spokesman said: "This action by the RMT relates to an existing dispute with Tube Lines, over which Transport for London does not have control.
"We would urge the RMT leadership to resolve their dispute in a way that does not needlessly inconvenience Londoners."