Talks begin over 72-hour Metronet strike over job security and pensions

London Underground’s largest union is to have talks with rail contractor, Metronet, its administrator and Transport for London this afternoon in an attempt to end the current strike.

Around 2,300 members of the Rail Maritime and Transport union (RMT) have begun a 72-hour strike in a dispute over jobs and pensions.

Employees of collapsed contractor Metronet walked out at 6pm last night after the rail operator’s administrator would not provide the guarantees on jobs, transfers and pensions that the union is seeking.

A second 72-hour strike is scheduled to start at the same time next Monday, 10 September.

Bob Crow, RMT general secretary, said: “We have been seeking simple, unqualified guarantees from Metronet and its administrator that there will be no job losses, forced transfers or pensions cuts, and we have not had them.

“It is astonishing that the administrator can decide all sorts of things, including who will take over the PPP [public-private partnership] contracts, but is unable to give an unequivocal guarantee that the jobs of the people who will actually deliver the Tube’s upgrades will be safe,” added Crow.

He continued: “It is the employer’s duty to ensure that pension provision will be no less favourable than before the PPP, as promised by the deputy prime minister, and what we need from the employer is the simple guarantee that there will be no reduction in pension rights, past, present or future.”

Commuters are expected to pay a heavy price this week as the Bakerloo, Central, Victoria, Circle, District, East London, Hammersmith & City, Metropolitan, Waterloo & City and Piccadilly lines have all been affected.

The Metronet PPP was designed to boost private investment in the London Underground, but the company failed to deliver on its renewal programme, and collapsed after claiming it had £2bn of extra costs.

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