Tube strike 2014: London Underground enters last-minute talks with RMT in bid to stop walkout
Cameron criticises industrial action as Transport for London enters eleventh-hour talks with rail union bosses to avert commuter chaos
Transport for London (TfL) will engage in last-minute talks with rail union bosses tomorrow morning in a bid to call off the planned 48-hour tube strike.
David Cameron has called the walkout “unjustified and unacceptable” as millions of commuters brace themselves for two days of transport chaos.
Speaking to the Evening Standard, the Prime Minister called on members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport workers’ union (RMT) to call off the 48-hour strike, which begins tomorrow at 9pm.
He said the walkout organised by workers on the London Underground would “hit millions of hard-working families across the capital and cause chaos for businesses” and urged Labour leader Ed Miliband to “make it clear that he condemns this strike without reservation”.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson agreed with the Prime Minister, adding that the RMT treats its passengers with “contempt”.
“Its leadership is demonstrating once again its utter contempt for commuters and business alike”, he said.
The strikes were called after eight weeks of talks aimed at resolving the row over plans to close manned ticket offices broke down earlier this month.
The union claims that Transport for London’s (TfL) modernisation plans, which would see 953 station jobs cut, risks safety and will damage the quality of service.
But TfL believe that the plans can be achieved without compulsory redundancies or any loss of pay to workers. They also promise stations would remained staffed at all times.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson told the Evening Standard: “No one will be forced out of a job, no one will lose pay. Fewer than three per cent of journeys start at a ticket office, at a cost of £50 million. By saving that we can help keep fares down”.
Ed Miliband has criticised the strikes as “wrong”, but laid responsibility on both sides.
And an RMT spokesman has said it hopes the strikes will lead them to engage in “meaningful and serious talks”.
The last strike in February brought the network, which is used by three million people most days, to a virtual standstill. After next week’s 48-hour strike, RMT are planning another three-day walkout from May 5.
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