Workers of the London Underground (LU) went on a strike, which began at 9pm on April 28 and will last for 48 hours. The strike was done in protest of the plans to close the Tube’s ticket offices. The closure will cause hundreds of Tube workers to lose their jobs, as well as threaten the safety of commuters.
According to the administrators of the London Underground, the staff would be better employed on station concourses instead of ticket offices, because according to their data, only 3% of tube tickets are obtained through the ticket offices anyway.
The April 28 strike will be followed by another on the Heathrow Express on April 29 starting 3am in a separate conflict over worker compensation and job cuts. The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union is planning yet another strike, which will run for 72 hours starting 9 pm on Monday, May 5.
Commuters are advised to seek alternative routes, such as walking, cycling, taking the buses, and riding the black cabs.
Union leaders held a last-ditch negotiation meeting with the London Underground administrators in an attempt to resolve the dispute over the closure of the ticket offices; however, the gathering ended after only two hours without the issue getting resolved.
RMT leaders stated that the union had given the company some proposals that could have stopped the strike from happening, if only LU responded positively to their ideas.
According to Mick Cash, the union’s acting general secretary, the company leaders “have dug themselves into an entrenched position” and have expressed their refusal to reconsider their stance regarding the closure of the Tube ticket offices. He said that this breaches the agreement they reached before through the conciliation service known as Acas, which allowed them to suspend the round of action previously done.
RMT believes that contrary to what the LU is proposing, the closure of the ticket offices have nothing to do with modernization, and is more about the substantial austerity cuts driven by the Prime Minister David Cameron and implemented by London Mayor Boris Johnson.
London Underground: A Brief History
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