Londoners face six days of strikes next month as Underground unions take industrial action over jobs and working conditions.
The RMT union is to stage a 72-hour walkout at 6pm on September 3 with another following on September 10th after they were unable to get assurances from administrators of failed tube maintenance company Metronet that no jobs would be lost.
RMT members are expected to be joined by members of the Unite union for both walkouts. A third union, the TSSA, is to hold a two-day stoppage on September 4th and 5th..
RMT general secretary Bob Crow said his members would not “accept being made to pay for the failure of the PPP and the decision by Metronet’s fat-cat shareholders to walk away from the contract, and that means no job losses, no forced transfers and no cuts in pension entitlements.”
“Our members are the people who get out there and keep the Tube running seven days a week, and it is they who will deliver the improvement the network must have if it is to be up to the standard required by the 2012 Olympics.
“The PPP stands in the way of those improvements, and the time has come to return the work to the public sector where it belongs.”
Metronet collapsed after it failed to secure an increase of £551 million in the money paid to it by London Underground. Chris Bolt, the statutory Arbiter for the London Underground PPP Agreements, decided that the company was entitled to just £121 million extra.
TSSA general secretary Gerry Doherty said his members “are not renowned for their militancy, and striking for 48 hours is a big step for them” but added “they have very real concerns that they will be made to pay for the failure of the PPP in the hands of Metronet and they do not feel that their employer or the administrator are listening to them.”
A spokesman for Transport for London said “threatening Londoners with two three-day strikes on the Tube when no action is being taken to disadvantage any employees is wrong.”
“Mr Livingstone is totally committed to protecting all Metronet staff pensions, and TfL has already agreed to fund any deficiency in pension payments during the period of administration.”