Strike threat could shutdown Tube network over Bank Holiday weekend
14:36 19 May 2014
Transport workers are threatening to shutdown the Tube network for the entire Bank Holiday weekend over a dispute about pay differentials.
The 40 technicians, mostly members of union Unite, are based at a control room in Blackfriars Road, where they provide the power for the 270 station underground network.
If industrial action does take place they will be no power for the 270 station underground network.
The dispute has arisen following changes to some of the workforce’s contracts which resulting in a difference in their level of pensions and other entitlements.
Some workers were previously tuped - Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 - to other organisations some years ago, and then coming back under London Underground management, but with different conditions.
Talks are being held today between the unions and the management of the London Underground at conciliation organisation Acas to resolve the dispute before the strike is due to start at 12.01 on Saturday ending at 8am on Tuesday.
Because of health and safety concerns and to prevent passengers from being standard on trains with no power, the underground will begin to close down on Friday evening.
Unite is also asking for more money for its members to do the training of new recruits, but claim the management wants the staff to take on this additional responsibility for no extra cash.
Unite regional officer Hugh Roberts said: “There is a real possibility that the underground could close down over the bank holiday weekend. Unite is working very hard to achieve a fair settlement for our members – and to avoid the industrial action. The ball is very much in the management’s court.
“The issue here is broken promises, unfair treatment over differentials and worsening conditions. London Underground management’s penny pinching attitude is not being driven by common sense, but by the background agenda of budget cuts in the Treasury’s funding.
“The management has had a long-time to resolve this dispute and we urge them to do so very quickly, so Londoners and domestic and foreign visitors can enjoy the many delights of the capital over the late spring bank holiday.”
Richard Jones, LU’s Head of Command and Control, said: “Unite, TSSA and RMT have raised a number of issues with us around workplace and terms and conditions relating to staff in our power control team, all of which are either being addressed or we are happy to discuss.
“We are disappointed that the unions have chosen to call strike action and we would urge all unions involved in this dispute to continue discussions to resolve this matter without the threat of industrial action.”
A spokesman for Transport for London added they did not expect the action to have an impact on passenger services and they plan to operate a normal service.