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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Yet another Tube Strike Threat (updated - Tube Strike on)

New Year Tube StrikeNew Year's London Underground Industrial Action

With more ridiculous predictability after the threats of the Christmas strike we now have threats of a New Year Tube strike. It's probably very unlikely to happen but you can learn more about it on the BBC site. "Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) members are expected to vote for industrial action which could take place on New Year's Eve. The RMT fears the planned closures of ticket offices, as more people adopt Oyster cards, could lead to job losses.

But Tube bosses said they were redeploying staff to more "visible positions" and there would be no cuts
."

The London Underground say that since the introduction of the Oystercard, one million fewer paper tickets are being sold every week. Although I can't say I've noticed any shorter queues since the Oystercard made its merry way into some commuters lives.

"Because of this reduced demand on our ticket office, we are deploying some staff to more visible positions on stations and platforms," said the spokesman.

Watch this space or Google News for further updates and the latest, but I have sneaking suspicion that it will be resolved fairly quickly and may not even reach ballot stage.

UPDATE - I was wrong. It has reached ballot stage and members voted in favour of the strike - check out the full story on Yahoo News and BBC News

"The strike is set to begin at midday on New Year's Eve and finish 24 hours later. The second one-day action will begin at 6:30 pm on January 8.

A spokesman for London Underground said they would run a service where "it was safe to do so," without elaborating
."

No Tubes on New Year's Eve - Evening Standard Front PageSo much for the free New Year's Eve travel sponsored by Nat West, if there's hardly any travel at all. Let's hope it does get averted by LU in the meantime.

UPDATE - Friday 23rd December - 8.30am - The talks are taking place between the RMT and the London Underground later today at Euston. Yesterday Ken Livingstone (the Mayor formally known as Red Ken) condemned the strikes saying that the RMT's plan conflicted with a "groundbreaking deal" it signed last year. The deal meant that RMT tube station staff would effectively work a 35-hour week.

Sheriff Ken said, "These moves have been agreed and safety validated for 40 out of the 44 station groups. London Underground have also given the unions categorical assurances that there will be no staff cuts.

"There can be no justification for the RMT now reneging on its agreement and trying to ruin New Year's Eve for thousands of Londoners."

UPDATE - Friday 23rd December - 3.40pm
Just heard on the radio that it looks as though there has been no resolution in the dispute, so unless some miracle happens it really looks like there will be no Tubes on New Year's Eve. This has been confirmed by BBC News.

I hope NatWest ask for their money back for sponsoring the free travel.


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