Tube strike 2014: London Underground and RMT union meet for last-ditch talks

The strikes following a two-day walk-out last week

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The Independent Online

London Underground and Rail Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union representatives are to hold last-minute talks on Monday, in an attempt to avert a three-day strike planned to begin in the evening.

Union members plan to walk out at 9pm in protest over ticket office closures in the capital.

The industrial action comes a week after a two-day strike which caused widespread travel disruption as people used alternative forms of transport.

The two organisations will be negotiating via conciliation service Acas, after it requested the two sides meet on Monday.

An Acas spokesman said: “In view of the impending three day strike action by RMT members, Acas has invited the Chief Operating Officer of London Underground and the acting General Secretary of RMT to attend a meeting at our offices. Both have accepted our invitation.”

RMT spokesman John Leach told London Live that the union will attend the talks in "good faith".

"They need to remove this ridiculous demand to abandon our campaign and withdraw from the dispute. We need to a cast iron commitment that these booking office reviews will be done properly," he added.

Meanwhile, London Underground called the talks a "two way process".

"We are working hard to get this resolved, the best way is to keep on talking," said spokesman Phil Hufton.

"It's a two way process, we will have detailed discussions to get this resolved.

"Everyone is guaranteed a job, we want to modernise the tube, those want voluntary severance can take voluntary severance, nobody at all is going to lose money," he said.

Read more: Which lines and stations are affected?

A minicab app has asked London Mayor Boris Johnson to allow taxis to use bus lanes, if the strike action goes ahead as planned.

Justin Peters, chief executive of Kabbee, said: “We understand the need for industrial strike action in certain situations, but it's then up to Transport for London to help passengers get from A to B easily.

”Opening up the bus lanes to licensed minicabs during strikes would be a simple solution.“

But TfL has argued that the idea would put further strain on London buses.

Leon Daniels, managing director for TfL's surface transport, said: "During the recent RMT strike the largest number of buses ever were deployed on London's streets, carrying around an extra million passengers and playing a crucial role in keeping London moving.

"To allow additional traffic to use our bus lanes, including private hire vehicles, would only cause disruption to these services which would make no sense at all.”

The latest round of talks come after RMT acting general secretary Mick Cash accused Mr Johnson of intervening to “wreck” talks with London Underground officials - a claim but Mr Johnson countered saying RMT is “holding London to ransom."

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