Tube Lines staff vote for strike action in pensions dispute

The RMT union says members working for the former London Underground contractor Tube Lines have voted “four to one” in favour of strike action in a row over pension and benefit parity.

Transport for London bought Tube Lines in 2010, ending the Tube PPP system, and converted the company into a wholly owned subsidiary of TfL.

The RMT says staff should be allowed to join TfL’s Pension Scheme and receive the same travel concessions as other London Underground staff, including those who previously worked for failed PPP contractor Metronet. Last month it announced plans to ballot members for strike action over the dispute.

The affected staff are responsible for maintenance and upgrade work on the Jubilee line, Northern line and Piccadilly line and operate the Emergency Response Unit (ERU).

The union says 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.

In a statement RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said: “This is 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.”

“We have gone through all the negotiating channels on both these issues 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 is reflected in this result.

“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.

Mr Crow said the union “remains ready to talk,” but added: “this strong mandate for industrial action shows Tube Lines and TfL the depth of anger there is over this blatant lack of fairness and justice.”