Tube workers set for another 24-hour strike

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The Independent Online

Thousands of London Underground workers will start a 24-hour strike tonight, threatening travel disruption for commuters and other passengers.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union and the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association will walk out at 6.30pm in protest at 800 ticket office job cuts.

It will be the fourth stoppage in recent months in the bitter row which has been deadlocked for months.

Transport for London said it will run as many Tube services as possible, although it warned there will be disruption throughout the whole of Monday, with services returning to normal on Tuesday.

London Underground said it ran more than 40% of its normal services during the last strike and carried 50% of its normal passenger levels.

"Although there will be disruption and some planned station closures, trains are expected to run on nearly all Tube lines," said a spokesman.

Mike Brown, managing director of London Underground, said: "We will be doing everything we can to get as many Tube services as possible operating throughout Sunday evening and Monday, and to keep Londoners on the move with extra buses, river services, and other alternatives. Londoners will face some disruption, but we intend to run services on nearly all Tube lines, meaning that people will be able to get around".

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: "It is incredible that LU management would not agree to a 12-week suspension of the cuts to allow a thorough safety evaluation on the impact on each station of their cuts plans. That shows complete and utter contempt for the safety of both their passengers and their staff. They have thrown back in our faces a chance to suspend the action and have collapsed the talks and as a result the strike goes ahead."

TUC general secretary Brendan Barber said: "It should be remembered that tube staff are not striking over pay and conditions but over ticket office closures and the impact of cuts on passengers.

"They are sacrificing another day's pay in the interests of passenger safety.

"The unions have now taken a bold initiative in proposing independent binding arbitration on the issue at the heart of this dispute, staffing at ticket offices.

"The ball is now firmly in the Mayor's court, and Londoners will be hoping that he accepts the unions' fair and reasonable proposal to bring this dispute to an end."

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