Tube strike mis­ery next week

Com­muters on Pic­cadilly and Ham­mer­smith & City lines face ac­tion

Ruislip & Eastcote & Northwood Gazette - - News - By Goolis­tan Cooper goolis­tan.cooper@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

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.”

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