Union warns over tube overtime in pay row

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The Independent Online

Union leaders will today consider calling an overtime ban among engineering and electrical workers on London Underground in a row over pay, which they warned would disrupt services.

Officials from Unite will meet to decide their next move after the union's Tube members voted in favour of industrial action over LU's "final" two-year pay offer, worth 1.5 per cent this year and RPI inflation plus 0.5 per cent in 2010/11.

The workers voted against taking strike action.

John Morgan-Evans, regional officer of Unite, said today there was a "strong possibility" that a ban on overtime will be announced.

"That could start fairly quickly, and it would have an effect on services because our members are responsible for getting Tube trains ready for service, as well as maintenance and safety. It would have a particular effect at weekends.

"London Underground have chosen, through their failure to negotiate, to put the travelling public's journey to work at risk of disruption."

Steve Hart, the union's regional secretary, said: "London's public transport is facing a serious threat as industrial relations deteriorate on buses and now the Underground."

LU called on the Unite leadership to get back to discussions, saying that only one in four of the union's members had voted for industrial action because fewer than half took part in the ballot.

Managing director Richard Parry said: "This low turnout and the vote against strike action shows Unite members do not want to strike.

"The Unite leadership has failed in its bid to get a mandate for strike action, and I urge them to return to meaningful discussion now."

He went on: "There is absolutely nothing to be gained from taking more strike action in the current tough economic climate, at a time when many Londoners have seen their pay frozen or have lost their jobs this year.

"Our pay deal offers stability and security, and we urge all of our unions to recommend this fair and final offer to their members and urge all Tube staff to accept it."

The Rail Maritime and Transport Union is planning to ballot its Tube members for industrial action over the same pay dispute.

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