Thousands of London Underground staff have voted to go on strike over a dispute about staffing.
They say cuts have left safety on a “knife edge” with incidents at Canning Town and North Greenwich throwing the spotlight on dangers which are being worsened by the process. Nearly 900 front-line workers have been axed and tube ticket offices closed across the network.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) union said of the 3,000 station workers balloted 85% voted to walk out.
It had already called for action on overcrowding on train platforms after a woman caught her foot between a train and the platform during rush-hour at Canning Town on May 26.
And in October it called for the Government to reverse £700million of cuts made to TfL in the wake of the bomb scare at North Greenwich station.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “RMT members on the London Underground stations see day in and day out the toxic impact of the job cuts programme and they are reporting back that it is horrific. With the constant overcrowding on stations and platforms it is only a matter of time before there is a major tragedy if we don’t act decisively. Our dispute is about taking action to haul back the cuts machine and put safety back at the top of the agenda.”
Drivers on the Picadilly line also voted to strike over a “wholesale breakdown in industrial relations” which they say has been caused by breaches of policies, procedures and safety.
Both results will now be considered by the RMT’s executive.
Mr Cash said: “In the separate dispute involving drivers on the Piccadilly Line, safety is again a major factor and is tied in with the ripping up of policies and procedures and ignoring warnings from staff. Our members have been left exposed and vulnerable and we have no choice but to blow the whistle before lasting damage is done.
“RMT members have now voted overwhelmingly for action in both these disputes and the results will now be considered by the unions executive. The union remains available for talks.”
TfL has said safety of customers and staff is its "top priority" and more staff are available in public areas of stations than ever before.
Steve Griffiths, London Underground’s chief operating officer said: “We urge the RMT leadership and members to work with us constructively on the issues they have raised, rather than threaten to disrupt our customers with strikes.
"An independent review of the closure of ticket offices is being conducted by London TravelWatch to ensure that we continue to deliver high quality customer service, and we have talks planned at ACAS next week to discuss the RMT’s concerns on the Piccadilly line.”
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