Tube strike misery next week
Commuters on Piccadilly and Hammersmith & City lines face action
TUBE drivers on the Piccadilly and Hammersmith and City lines will hold a 24hour strike next week.
The RMT announced members will walk out on Tuesday, December 6 and Wednesday 7 in separate disputes over a breakdown in industrial relations, breaches of procedure and the bullying and harassment of staff.
The statement was made on Thursday, a day before the Piccadilly line was partially closed due to a shortage of trains, causing severe disruption during the Friday morning rush hour.
The strike will hamper a vast chunk of Underground lines in west London, with services to Heathrow also affected. The union says industrial action on the Hammersmith and City line “is over heavy-handed and aggressive man-agement and a flagrant disregard for agreed policies and procedures”, and blames the Piccadilly line dispute –which will see 400 drivers strike – on a combination of issues including:
Failure to administer London Underground policy with threats to members’ role as drivers;
Failure to respond to members’ concerns regarding the quality of training with management refusing machinery meetings and reneging on previous commitments;
The assertion from the director of employee relations that staff other than the driver have the final say on the serviceability and safety of a train; and
Breaches and misuse of London Underground policies to the detriment of members, including the attendance at work policy and the harassment and bullying policy.
The action in both disputes will run from 9.30pm on Tuesday until 9.29pm on Wednesday.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “This dispute on the Hammersmith and City line is about the basic issues of protecting working conditions of our members and defending agreements from attempts to drive a coach and horses through them. The management [is] out of control and the anger at [its] failure to follow procedures has boiled over.
“This breakdown in industrial relations should never have been allowed to happen and if agreements and processes had been adhered to from the off, the package of issues at the heart of the dispute could have been resolved.
“In the separate dispute involving drivers on the Piccadilly line, safety is again a major factor and tied in with the ripping up of policies and procedures and ignoring warnings from staff. Our members have been left exposed and vulnerable and we have no choice but to blow the whistle before lasting damage is done. The union remains available for talks in both disputes.”
Steve Griffiths, London Under-ground’s chief operating officer, said: “We urge the RMT leadership to work with us constructively on the issues it has raised rather than disrupt our customers with strikes.”
Minister for London, Gavin Barwell MP, said: “Sadiq Khan promised to be a mayor for all Londoners, but just six months into the job he’s letting the RMT hold our city to ransom.”