Commuters face the prospect of a further Tube strike next week after talks between unions and Transport for London broke down
The 24-hour strike is set to begin at 6.30pm on Sunday, setting the scene for widespread disruption as Londoners return to work on Monday morning.
Tube workers are unhappy at plans to reduce ticket office opening hours with the loss of 800 jobs and say the changes could lead to security and safety problems with less staff at stations.
TfL say the changes are necessary because increased popularity of Oyster means there are fewer counter transactions and insist that half of the job losses have already been achieved by “150 management and administrative staff taking voluntary redundancy and 300 vacant posts which will not be filled.”
The changes are being made despite an election pledge by Mayor of London Boris Johnson to oppose almost identical plans by predecessor Ken Livingstone.
After talks broke down Howard Collins, Chief Operating Officer of LU, said: “We yesterday offered a further six weeks to discuss our plans and to see if there are any local issues which need to be addressed.
“Despite this offer, the leaders of the TSSA and RMT have demonstrated once again that their only interest is in disrupting Londoners – despite the fact that over half of the post reductions have already been achieved through voluntary redundancy and natural wastage.
In a statement London Underground said it would “be running as many services as possible” while TfL would lay on addition buses to help Londoners get to work.
In the statement Mayor Johnson said: “I feel sure that the defiance and contempt Londoners have shown for the previous futile strike action will be evident once more. The leaderships of the TSSA and RMT may well cause inconvenience through their stubborn refusal to face facts, but we are determined to keep the Capital moving by all means available to us. London will not be beaten.”
Responding to news of the talks breakdown Val Shawcross, A Labour member of the London Assembly, commented: “I have leaflets Boris Johnson handed out when he was trying to get elected two years ago saying he had a plan to end strikes once and for all but it seems things are just getting worse. He needs to end his stubborn, childish attitude of not talking to the unions, get around the table and sort this out.”
TfL is advising passengers to check for potential disruption and delays before travelling by visiting www.tfl.gov.uk