LU condemns Tube staff strikes

Hundreds of London Underground maintenance workers are to stage a series of 24-hour strikes in a row over new rosters and outsourcing, it was announced today.

The Rail Maritime and Transport union said 700 of its members previously employed by maintenance consortium Metronet will walk out from 6.45am on 5 February, followed by a 24-hour stoppage from the same time on 14 February.

Strikes will be held from 6.45am on following Sundays until further notice until the dispute is resolved, the union said.

The RMT has accused LU ripping up agreements and "bulldozing" through new shift patterns and of threatening job security through increased use of outside contractors.

LU has strongly denied the claims.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: "LU have been hell-bent on confrontation through their tearing up of the signals framework agreement and through the unilateral introduction of new working practices which mean they can make people work what hours they like, when they like.

"RMT members have said enough is enough by voting overwhelmingly for action.

"Our members' job security is also being undermined by the handing over of work to external private contractors which could be done internally.

"If LU management think that they can ride roughshod over our terms and conditions then they need to think again.

"It's their bully-boy management style which has forced us into this action and it is up to them to now get back round the table and reach an agreement which respects agreed procedures and working practices."

Phil Hufton, LU's chief maintenance officer, said: "It is absolutely ludicrous that the RMT's leadership is prepared to jeopardise the journeys of thousands of Londoners over this issue.

"We are planning to introduce a roster covering 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to ensure planned engineering staff are always available. That agreement already exists, but the RMT is trying to tear it up.

"We have consulted fully with staff and unions on the proposed changes and we are prepared to continue discussions with the RMT.

"They should stop threatening industrial action at every opportunity, when all that will do is lose their members more pay."

LU said it was proposing alterations to the rosters of just 30 staff.



LU condemned the RMT's threat of strike action, claiming that the union's leadership believed the company should use farepayers' money to cover planned maintenance shifts by increasing overtime payments.



Mr Hufton said: "Londoners will share our disgust at the RMT's leadership's attempts to jeopardise the Tube's operation over this issue.



"We are planning to introduce a roster covering 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to ensure planned engineering staff are always available. That agreement already exists, but the RMT is trying to tear it up.



"We have consulted fully with staff and unions on the proposed changes and we are prepared to continue discussions with the RMT. They should stop threatening industrial action at every opportunity, when all that will do is lose their members more pay.



"Despite this unjustified threat, it is our intention to operate a good service across the network during any industrial action."

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