TUBE UNION RMT confirmed this morning that members across London Underground have delivered a rock solid mandate for strike action and action short of a strike in a fight over planned cuts to safety-critical jobs that the union have warned would turn the network into a death trap.
RMT members have voted by 76% for strike action and by 88% for action short of a strike. RMT will now begin an extensive consultation with members, and with sister tube union TSSA who will announce their ballot result next week, over the tactical use of industrial action, alongside a political and public campaign, to stop the attack on jobs and safety.
RMT revealed within the past week that it was only the vigilance and experience of station-based staff spotting smoke from an escalator at Euston and an air-conditioning unit at Oxford Circus that ensured safe evacuation of both stations and averted potential disasters. It is exactly those staff grades that are under threat in the cull of 800 jobs, and the decimation of ticket offices, that TfL are attempting to bulldoze through.
RMT also revealed this week that safety-critical inspection frequencies to train brakes and other equipment are to be doubled from fortnightly to monthly as the pressure for cuts reaches crisis point on London Underground and as existing safety standards are ripped to shreds.
RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:
“Less than two weeks after the Potters Bar inquest delivered the damning verdict that cuts to maintenance works, staffing and inspection frequencies create the lethal conditions that lead to avoidable loss of life, LU management have clearly learnt nothing and are burning up safety agreements almost by the day in the dash for cuts.
“RMT members have sent a clear message in this ballot that they will not sit by while the tracks are turned into a death trap and our tube stations and platforms are left unstaffed and at the mercy of muggers, vandals and other criminal elements.
“Boris Johnson cannot wash his hands of the crisis that is unfolding on London Underground on his watch. While his managers are ripping up the safety regulations the Mayor himself is ripping up his promises to Londoners on safe staffing levels and no amount of bluster can get him off that hook. We will now use this mandate for action to build up a campaign of industrial, political and public pressure to block the all out assault on tube jobs and safety.”