RMT union members working on the Piccadilly line have voted in favour of industrial action over a series of unresolved disputes.
Barely a week seems to go by without the seemingly ever-present rumble of discontent from the transport unions and this latest announcement is actually a Pandora's box of industrial action. Accompanying the Piccadilly line drivers in their strike, drivers on the Metropolitan, Hammersmith & City and Circle lines have also voted for industrial action. And it doesn't end there.
Cleaners on the underground who are employed by ISS have voted overwhelmingly for strike action in a dispute over pay and conditions. The RMT says LU has failed to pay the London Living Wage, abuse sickness and attendance procedures and have extended unpaid breaks. Meanwhile, electricians and engineers working for tube contractor Mitie have voted for strike action in a separate dispute over redundancies and working conditions. RMT general secretary Bob Crow said:
“Drivers across a whole swathe of the underground network have voted by massive majorities for industrial action in separate disputes which represent unilateral attacks by the company on working conditions, agreements and procedures.
“The outcome of these separate ballots will now be considered by RMT’s executive but the message could not be clearer – RMT is stepping up the fight to protect agreements, jobs and working conditions across the whole of London and to eliminate the scourge of poverty pay on cleaning contracts.”
No doubt this news will again fuel the debate over banning of tube strikes, which occupied the London Assembly Conservatives in April. A Jubilee line strike planned in March was called off a couple of days before it was due to go ahead. Just like the story, the last thing in the box is hope. Piccadilly Line manager Phil O'Hare said:
"We urge both parties to work together to resolve this matter through constructive discussions and without the threat of industrial action."
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