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Tube Strike: Why we are forced to take action

31 January 2014

We work to keep London moving day in, day out. We’re often already at work by 5am or helping passengers get home safely until the early hours. We cope with an ever-increasing numbers of passengers – 100 million more in just the last five years – but now the Mayor plans to cut almost 1,000 of our jobs, creating a worse service for Londoners and putting safety at risk.

We still hope that negotiations that negotiations succeed and the strike can be averted. Boris Johnson has refused to meet the unions representing his own workforce ever since he was elected and it seems he’s tied the hands of his negotiators so they are unable to give us the assurances that our members expect.

Boris Johnson could give us the guarantees that would avert this strike. The question is whether he’s more interested in creating a tough image to boost his chances of leading the Conservative Party, or whether he’ll do the sensible thing and talk to us.

Why are we taking action?

  • 953 planned job losses
  • All 278 Underground ticket offices – which serve over 30 million passengers a year – to shut.
  • With 953 fewer staff and no ticket offices, a growing number of stops will become ‘ghost stations’, feeling unsafe, especially to older or more vulnerable customers.
  • Supervisors, who ensure the safety of passengers to be cut by 45% and will now over-see multiple stations. In the many emergencies where trains can’t move the supervisors may be stuck several stops away.

What action are we taking?

After months of campaigning for the Mayor to see the folly of his plans, holding demonstrations, lobbying the London Assembly and working with groups representing disabled and older London travellers, we balloted our members on whether they supported industrial action.

A majority of our members voted (much higher than the 38% who voted in the last Mayoral election) and a majority backed both strike action and action short of a strike.

Our action short of a strike will see staff fail to undertake ticket and revenue related duties during periods in both the morning and evening. This will mean ticket barrier will have to remain open.

These actions will take place from 9:30am to 11:30am and again from 6:30pm to 8:30pm on Friday 7th, Monday 10th and Friday 14th February.

Strike action will mean staff won’t start shifts from 9pm on Tuesday 4th February until 9pm on Thursday 6th February. A second strike will run from 9pm on Tuesday 11 February 2014 until 9pm on Thursday 13 February.

What kind of tube do we want to see?

A safe, properly staffed system that works for all passengers. As part of our Better London Transport campaign, we’ve proposed a Passenger Charter with four main rights:

  • The ability for all passengers, young and old, disabled and not to be able to turn up and travel (access for disabled passengers is greatly impacted by staff shortages)
  • A friendly face and a helping hand with a visible staff presence throughout all stations – including on platforms, in ticket halls and on gate lines - throughout tube opening hours.
  • A safe and secure tube with well maintained stations and trains, plus sufficient well trained staff to cope with any incidents.
  • Clear communication and updates, with people you can ask, not just automated announcements.

Find out more about our Passenger Charter.


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