Thousands of London Underground workers have launched a 48 hour strike against pay and job cuts.
Talks took place today, Tuesday 9 June, to avert industrial action but a proposed deal was withdrawn:
"RMT negotiators spent all afternoon and early evening at ACAS putting together a deal which could have settled the dispute only for London Undergound to bring in lawyers at the last minute who pulled the rug from under a workable agreement. The strike goes ahead and we know that it will receive solid support from RMT members across the tube network," said Bob Crow RMT general secretary.
"The RMT doesn’t resort to industrial action lightly, that’s just a myth peddled by some sections of the media. The fact is that Tube workers have been driven into walking out today.
Tube bosses have deliberately provoked this confrontation and RMT wants the issues at the heart of the dispute to be resolved so that our members can get back to delivering a first class transport service.
On London Underground, bosses are threatening to tear up an agreement aimed at safeguarding jobs, and have refused to rule out compulsory redundancies. Up to 4000 jobs are at risk as part of a multi billion pound cuts package that can be traced directly back to the collapse of Metronet and the failure of the PPP.
RMT have made it clear we expect managers to abide by agreements and we would simply not be doing our job as a union if we allowed the tube to treat our members as cannon fodder who can be hired at fired at will.
On pay, we have asked for the usual single year agreement. Tube chiefs attempted to impose a five year deal which would have meant real terms pay cuts into the next decade. We will not be bullied into accepting that our members should be forced to pay for an economic crisis that was cooked up by the bankers and the politicians.
RMT has exposed the hypocrisy of senior tube managers on pay when 123 of the top TFL bosses are paid over £100,000 plus bonuses. It is those same managers who are attacking, bullying and victimising RMT members over our campaign for job security and a living wage.
RMT is committed to a modern and safe public transport system for Londoners. That cannot be achieved by axing jobs, slashing rates of pay and imposing massive cutbacks on the Tube."
It is estimated that one day of strike action by underground workers costs the London economy around £100 million.