Train guards working on the London Overground have voted for strike action in a row over job losses.
The threat of job cuts emerged after Transport for London asked London Overground Rail Operations, the company which runs Lodon Overground on its behalf, to convert two lines to Driver Only Operation.
The East London and Euston-Watford lines already operate without guards and TfL wants the same arrangements extended to the North and West London Lines.
However the RMT union claims the guard posts are “safety-critical” and says affected members have voted “around nine to one for both strike action and action short of strike”.
The union is blaming recent cuts in central Government funding for the job losses.
General Secretary Bob Crow said: “The fight to defend 130 safety-critical guards jobs on London Overground will be centre stage in RMT’s overall battle to defend jobs and safety on London’s transport services.
“RMT recognises that this lethal proposals has been brought about as result of the 12.5% cut in TfL funding announced in George Osborne’s Comprehensive Spending Review. RMT has made it crystal clear that those cuts will be resisted by this union with all means at our disposal, including industrial action.”
In a separate ballot security staff working for STM on a London Overground contract have also voted for action.
Mr Crow added: “The separate 100% ballot for action by STM safety and security staff on LOROL is a further indicator of the anger out there on the network.
“We can expect many more of these attacks on jobs and safety as TFL slash hundreds of millions from their budget at Government behest. They will be met with the fiercest possible resistance from RMT as we link up the groups of workers in the firing line.”
The union says it “will now consider the next course of action in light of this ballot result.”
Commenting on the threat of strike action, London Assembly Member Richard Tracey said: “Making trains completely ‘Driver Only’ on parts of the London Overground would save an expected £5 million every year and provide a faster, safer and more reliable service. This is a huge gain for Londoners as saved money could be used to bear down on fares.
“It is pointless to have trains on the London Overground operated by a driver and a guard, when there are no guards on the rest of the London Overground or on the vast majority of mainline railways in London. Why are we paying people to simply shut doors and bell the driver to move the train?”