London Underground bosses have vowed to “keep London moving” despite strike action by members of the RMT and TSSA unions set to start at 7pm on Tuesday.
A 24-hour strike by maintenance staff is set to begin at 7pm with station staff, drivers and signalling staff striking from 9pm. LU are warning passengers that normal services will not be resumed until Thursday morning.
Tuesday’s strikes will be the third to take place over plans to reduce opening hours at ticket offices, a move Mayor of London Boris Johnson and Transport for London say is needed because of the success of Oyster has seen a decline in the demand for the offices.
During 2008’s Mayoral elections Mayor Johnson opposed a similar proposal from then-Mayor Ken Livingstone, signing a petition against cuts to ticket offices and writing in his manifesto:
“Ken Livingstone plans to close a large number of ticket offices at Tube stations, predominantly in outer London because he claims that the increase in Oyster use has made them surplus to requirements. However, what he has not taken into account is that local people feel it is important there is a manned ticket office at their station, as often there are not enough Oyster outlets in the local area.
There has been little consultation with local residents, and I think it is wrong that some local stations could lose this service. I will stop the planned ticket office closures, and focus on increasing the number of Oyster outlets in outer London so local people have greater access to Oyster.”
RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said his union were calling on the Mayor “to the pledge he made during his election campaign, when he too recognised that people wanted to see stations staffed properly.”
Gerry Doherty, TSSA General Secretary, said the Mayor had “broken his word on keeping full staffed ticket offices open” and called on Johnson “to work out a fair solution to this dispute which no one wants.”
Describing the planned changes as “essential”, Transport Commissioner Peter Hendy said TfL was making “every effort” to avoid a strike and was “available for discussions at any time with the union leaderships.”
“We are doing everything possible to limit the impact of the 800 post reductions – 150 management and administrative staff have already taken voluntary severance and LU has identified 300 vacant posts which will simply not be filled.”
In a statement issued Monday the Mayor said the planned industrial action “may cause some inconvenience but we are determined to keep the capital moving by providing a plethora of alternatives so that people can get around.”