Strike misery could soon return to the London Underground after the RMT union announced it was balloting staff for strike action over jobs, subcontracting and pensions.
The union will “strongly recommend” 1,800 employees at Metronet, the company which maintains the Tube network, go on strike over claims that Metronet refused to negotiate over subcontracting services, cuts in frontline services and “inferior pensions arrangements” for new employees.
Metronet maintains the Bakerloo, Central, Victoria, Waterloo and City, District, Circle, Metropolitan, East London and Hammersmith and City Lines, and parts of the Piccadilly line. Strike action would severely disrupt services.
RMT general secretary, Bob Crow, said plans to subcontract work and “further fragment the Tube’s infrastructure” were unacceptable, particularly after recent brake failures on the Northern Line.
“It is scandalous that Metronet should at the same time insist on making experienced front-line maintenance staff redundant, especially when that is in clear breach of the code of conduct it is supposed to abide by,” he said. “Metronet is also attempting to create a two-tier workforce by refusing new employees entry into the LRTC final-salary pension scheme,” he said.