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Thursday, August 14, 2008

Tube Strike planned - 20th August 2008

There's nothing like getting a harsh bump back to the reality of real travel in London, after the delights of yesterday's
Orient Express trip. I returned that evening to find that about 1,000 maintenance workers from the London Underground will be going on strike next week over pay. The members of the RMT (Rail, Maritime and Transport) union at Tube Lines will "down tools" for 72 hours. This means from noon next Wednesday 20th August to noon on Saturday August 23. The second planned 72-hour strike will begin at noon on Wednesday September 3rd and end at noon on Saturday September 6th.

Tube Strike

I already know that it's going to be an unpopular strike with the public as I read Metro headlines about average pay rises yesterday morning. Inflation has jumped by 4.4% - average pay increases by around 3.8%. The government want to limit public sector pay rises to about 2.5% and yet the RMT reject a pay offer of 4.95%.

From Tube Lines "We believe that a pay offer of 4.95% is very competitive, especially when compared with the UK average rise of 3.7%. We are disappointed the RMT is taking this stance and passengers have every right to feel angry over the proposed action.

"The RMT's vote against the offer and the length of their proposed action defy reason and perhaps suggests there is an ulterior motive behind the rejection. They have made no secret of their desire for Tube maintenance to return to public ownership
."

Yet RMT say the package was an inferior deal to one accepted on behalf of staff who had contracts with Metronet. You'll remember that Metronet collapsed last year and has been taken over by Transport for London.

Bob Crow from the RMT said "Tube Lines has made enormous profits on the backs of our members' hard work, yet they seem to expect that they will accept an inferior deal on pay, pensions and conditions. Metronet workers can join a final salary pension scheme, but Tube Lines wants to keep the door closed on it, and Tube Lines members are also denied the travel facilities that Metronet staff enjoy."

Tube Lines maintains track and trains on the Jubilee, Piccadilly and the Misery, sorry, Northern lines and operates emergency response units across the Underground network so the strike, if it goes ahead, will have very widespread effect.

Tube Lines added "Despite RMT claims that the deal is not equal to that set at Metronet, Tube Lines believes its pay and conditions are very competitive and amongst the best in the rail industry. For example, employees get 29 days of annual leave as well as eight bank holidays and employees in operational grades receive an 80% subsidy on travel. The offer also compares favourably with other pay deals agreed elsewhere this year, such as 4.6% for London Underground, 2.5% for nurses and 1.9% for police."

Welcome back to the London Underground and watch this space and the press for more news.

UPDATE
- 19th August - Tube Strike still on and Tube Lines Chief Exec believes the strike is purely political and not about pay.


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