Tube strike May 2014: Bank holiday weekend walk-out looms as talks continue

Members of Unite are in talks with London Underground over a pay dispute

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The Independent Online

The prospect of a crippling bank holiday Tube strike is looking ever more likely as a third day of talks continues.

Discussions between union members and London Underground managers failed to reach and agreement on Wednesday over pay for power supply controllers.

The strike is due to start at one minute past midnight on Saturday and last the entire weekend until 8am on Tuesday.

Unite claims that the network could be “completely shut down” if the workers walk out and leave no one to control the electricity for the lines.

But Transport for London insists that there will be little disruption if the strike goes ahead.

A spokesman said: “If the union members do try to take action we are confident that we will be able to run a good service.

“We have fully trained and safety-accredited staff in place to replace them.”

The 40 technicians, mostly members of the union, work in the control room that provides the electricity for the 270-station network.

AN42460319Crowds-wait-for-b.jpgAccording to the Unite, the “complex” dispute involves the workforce being transferred to other groups, then moved back to London Underground under different conditions.

The change sparked disputes over employees' length of service, affecting pensions and other entitlements.

Hugh Roberts, a regional officer, said: “There is a real possibility that the Underground could close down over the bank holiday weekend.

“Unite is working very hard to achieve a fair settlement for our members – and to avoid the industrial action. The ball is very much in the management’s court.”

Tube strikes in February and at the end of April caused misery for millions of Londoners and tourists.

Richard Jones, the head of command and control at London Underground, said the TSSA and RMT had also raised issues around workplace issues and conditions for the power control team.

He said London Underground was “happy to discuss£ anything not already being addressed.

Mr Jones added: "We are disappointed that the unions have chosen to call strike action and we would urge all unions involved in this dispute to continue discussions to resolve this matter."