|RMT Asked to Halt “Ludicrous” Strike Threats
London Underground calls for union to stop continuous walkout warnings
London Underground (LU) has called on the RMT leadership to put a stop to the continued threat of strike action.
The call came after RMT accused LU management of 'unilaterally ripping up agreements' and 'bulldozing through shift patterns' and threatened strike action from 750 members of maintenance staff.
In a continued war of words, LU said that the RMT believes tax and farepayers' money should be used to cover maintenance shifts by increasing overtime payments and that their members’ jobs are at risk from external contractors 'even though this arrangement to address emergencies has been in place for some time'.
RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said, “This overwhelming vote for action has shown LUL management that if they think that they can ride roughshod over our terms and conditions then they need to think again. It’s their bully-boy management style which has forced us into this dispute and our members have sent out the clearest possible message that they are not prepared to be beaten into submission.”
In line with existing agreements with its unions LU say they have proposed revised rosters for members of its Stations Comms and Electrical team, to ensure planned engineering staff are always available.
The RMT’s leadership has rejected these proposals claiming that LU is obliged to cover any gaps in rosters with overtime. This has never been the case and LU will continue to use overtime based solely on business needs.
Phil Hufton, LU’s Chief Maintenance Officer, said, “It is absolutely ludicrous that the RMT’s leadership is prepared to jeopardise the journeys of thousands of Londoners over this issue. We are planning to introduce a roster covering 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to ensure planned engineering staff are always available. That agreement already exists, but the RMT is trying to tear it up.
“We have consulted fully with staff and unions on the proposed changes and we are prepared to continue discussions with the RMT. They should stop threatening industrial action at every opportunity, when all that will do is lose their members more pay.”
January 20, 2010