02/06/2004

RMT tube strike to start June 10

Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) members working on the London Underground have today "voted overwhelmingly" to strike action on June 10 - a date which coincides with the European and London mayoral elections.

The union said that action had been taken following the employers’ "failure to negotiate seriously on pay and conditions". The total of votes cast in favour of strike action was 2,614, with 643 against.

"This result will send a clear message to LUL, Tubelines and Metronet that our members are not prepared to be strung along or messed around, and will not stand attempts to impose a settlement," RMT general secretary Bob Crow said today.

"This pay round should have been signed and sealed on April 1, yet here we are, two months later, having to announce the result of a strike ballot."

Mr Crow said that if employers were sincere in wanting to avoid strike action, they should "negotiate seriously".

RMT said that its pay claim for London Underground includes: a "substantial pay rise"; a 32-hour, four-day week; restoration of paid meal breaks (taken away in 1996), and a minimum starting salary of £22,000 (from the current level of £19,000 for station assistants).

Following the decision by RMT workers on London Underground to strike, Liberal Democrat London Mayoral candidate, Simon Hughes, today renewed his calls for Bob Crow to be removed from the Transport for London Board.

The Lib Dems' mayoral candidate Simon Hughes reacted angrily to the news, saying that, if elected, he would remove the RMT union representative from the Transport for London Board. Mr Hughes said that he would replace the RMT candidate with a representative from the TGWU, the union which represents London’s bus drivers.

In so doing, people who owe their allegiance to Londoners rather than the unions would be represented - therefore stopping Londoners from "yet again being held to ransom".

"This sort of industrial action does nobody in London any good. It is no good for passengers, no good for London Underground and no good for the unions," he said.

"Of course employees are justified in raising concerns over any number of issues with their employers, but to threaten strike action every time they are dissatisfied with negotiations is bad for business, bad for the traveling public and bad for London. The right to strike is a sound principle when used correctly, but the RMT threat to strike at the drop of a hat abuses this right."

(gmcg)

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