Transport for London has distanced itself from a strike ballot involving RMT members working for the soon to be nationalised PPP contractor Tube Lines.
The union is set to ballot members for industrial action “over a continuing threat to jobs and safe working conditions and in support of a decent pay increase” and says TfL’s buy out of Tube Lines shareholders will leave staff “with an uncertain future.”
In a statement issued on Monday, RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said his union had “sought concrete assurances that staff will not be expected to pay off the Tube Line’s exit costs in job losses, attacks on safe working conditions and an undermining of pay rates. Those assurances have not been forthcoming so we have no option but to ballot for action in defence of our members.”
Mr Crow said, in light of the forthcoming takeover of Tube Lines, his union expects TfL “to take responsibility for maintaining the pay, jobs and conditions of the workforce that they will need in place if they are going to get the upgrade programme back on track in time for the Olympics.
“RMT remains available for talks and we repeat our call for a clear sign that TfL are taking seriously our perfectly reasonable request for assurances that lift the axe from over the heads of the Tube Lines workforce.”
Responding to news of the ballot, a TfL spokesperson said: “This is an existing dispute between Tube Lines and the RMT and we would urge both parties to work together to resolve this issue as soon as possible. Transport for London will not take control of Tube Lines until we have acquired Amey (Ferrovial) and Bechtel’s shares, with the deal expected to be concluded by the end of June.”