The RMT has today confirmed 72 hours of strike action following yesterday’s four to one vote in a ballot of Tube Lines staff in support of a dispute over pensions and benefits justice.
Following a decision of the union’s executive all RMT members have been instructed to take strike action as follows: to stop work at 16:00hrs on Tuesday 24 April 2012 and return to work for shifts starting after 16:00hrs on Friday 27 April 2012.
RMT has been demanding that all Tube Lines staff, including ex-Alstom staff at Stratford Market depot and the Emergency Response Unit, be allowed to join the TfL Pension Scheme and receive the same travel concessions as those who work for LUL, including former Metronet staff. The union call for justice has been on the agenda ever since London Underground took over Tube Lines as part of the rescue operation after the failure of the tube privatisation project
Parity would bring Tube Lines staff free travel within London and 75 per cent of the cost of travel on the mainline railway – the concession that all Tube staff, including ex-Metronet people, already get.
Tube Lines staff are responsible for both maintenance and upgrade work on the Jubilee line, Northern line and Piccadilly line. They also provide a number of services across the network including the Emergency Response Unit (ERU), Distribution Services and Trans Plant meaning that the action by staff will have a serious and widespread impact across the system as well as raising serious safety concerns if management attempt to run services without proper emergency cover. RMT reps will be closely monitoring the safety environment.
RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “RMT members have delivered a massive mandate for action following a straightforward demand for parity with other Tube staff. This dispute is about justice and about ensuring that all groups of staff under the umbrella of London Underground receive the same rights and benefits and our members have no choice but to strike to secure those basic rights.
“We have gone through all the negotiating channels but Tube Lines has refused to budge and have refused to engage in meaningful talks and that pig-headed approach has raised the temperature on the shop floor and has resulted in this strike action being called.
“Former Metronet employees have been allowed back into the TfL Pension Fund (TfLPF) and now also have the same travel facilities as other LUL employees.
“Tube Lines is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Transport for London and there is simply no excuse for refusing to give equal pension and pass rights.
“The union remains ready to talk, and the strong mandate for this industrial action shows Tube Lines and TfL the depth of anger there is over this blatant lack of fairness and justice.”