Unite and sister unions TSSA, RMT and ASLEF walked out of talks with London Underground (LU) on Thursday, 9 January over its plans to close all ticket offices on the Tube.
The four unions have each registered a failure to agree with LU management. Their concerns over redeployment of staff and approaching 1,000 redundancies will now be referred to Acas.
“We are disgusted that LU has reduced the consultation process to a sham,” said Unite officer Hugh Roberts. “Tube management is not interested in hearing the views of its staff. Its only concern is to drive through the ticket office closures and get rid of staff.
“Transport for London (TfL) is busy sending out invitations for individuals to volunteer for redundancy. Yet they have not answered basic questions about the new job roles on offer to existing staff,” said Hugh Roberts.
All four unions have concerns over women, disabled, and black, Asian, and minority ethnic staff. LU’s own evidence shows these staff will suffer most from the effects of the ticket office closures. Issues include the risk of attacks – some 2,450 assaults on tube staff were reported in the year to March 2013 – and station safety.
“We are concerned for people,” said Unite’s Hugh Roberts, “TfL is only interested in cost reductions.”
The results of the RMT ballot will be announced on 10 January and TSSA is also to ballot is members. Unite will wait for the Acas process to conclude. The union has not ruled out action and is taking preparatory steps.
More than 5,700 tube station workers are affected by the proposed ticket office closures. TfL’s Fit for the Future proposals will lead to 953 job losses, although around 200 new jobs will be created by the new Night Tube service in 2015, which may mean roles for some station staff willing to work through the night.
For more information, contact: Hugh Roberts