Tube strike suspended after safety guarantees won

Three days of strikes by more than 7,000 RMT station staff, signallers and drivers have been suspended by the union after lengthy talks this week yielded guarantees on a raft of safety and staffing issues.

Submitted by Steven. on April 9, 2008

Faced with the prospect of three days of strike action from 18:30 on Sunday, London Underground has abandoned plans that the union had described as a fundamental attack on Tube safety standards and casualisation of safety critical work.

The company has dropped its plan to retain the use of agency staff and 'mobile station supervisors', has frozen plans to close or reduce opening times of ticket offices and has accepted that all safety critical duties at Heathrow T5 will be undertaken by LUL staff.

It has also pledged to ensure that all station staff are directly employed and fully trained to LUL safety standards, and to honour an agreement that will ensure that existing skilled signallers are offered jobs at new service control centres.

The offer would also end a long-running dispute with station staff on the Bakerloo Line who will no longer be asked to detrain passengers while working alone.

"We were told that agency and security staff and the crazy concept of mobile station supervisors were models for the future, but we now have a guarantee that there will be proper supervision and that the current use of agency and security staff during traffic hours will be brought to an end," RMT general secretary Bob Crow said today.

"Our members have blocked changes that would have undermined the Tube's excellent safety standards, and despite the usual media vilification I hope Tube users will recognise that we have successfully defended their safety," Bob Crow said.

RMT members voted by a margin of five to one for industrial action, and three days of strike action had been scheduled to begin at 18:30 on Sunday April 6.