Tube drivers on the Piccadilly and Hammersmith and City lines are to hold a 24-hour strike next month.
The RMT announced its members will walk out on December 6 and 7 in two separate disputes over a breakdown in industrial relations, breaches of procedures and bullying and harassment of staff.
The statement was made on Thursday (November 24) a day before the Piccadilly line was partially closed due to shortage of trains, causing severe delays and disruption during the Friday morning rush hour.
It will hamper a vast chunk of Underground lines in west London, with service to Heathrow also affected.
The union says industrial action on the Hammersmith and City line “is over heavy handed and aggressive management and a flagrant disregard for agreed policies and procedures”, and blames the Piccadilly line dispute, which will see 400 drivers go on strike, on a combination of issues including:
- Failure to properly administer London Underground policy with continued threats to our members’ role as drivers
- Failure to respond to members concerns regarding the quality of training with management refusing machinery meetings and reneging on previous commitments
- The assertion from the Director of Employee Relations stating that staff other than the driver have the final say on the serviceability and safety of a train, going against agreed instructions
- Continued breaches and misuse of a number of London Underground policies to the detriment of members, including but not exclusive to the Attendance at Work Policy and the Harassment and Bullying Policy
The action in both disputes will run from between 9.30pm on December 6 to 9.29pm on December 7.
RMT general secretary, Mick Cash, said: “This dispute on the Hammersmith and City Line is about the basic issues of protecting working conditions of our members and defending agreements from attempts to drive a coach and horses through them.
"The management are out of control and the anger at their failure to follow procedures has boiled over.
“This breakdown in industrial relations should never have been allowed to happen and if agreements and processes had been adhered to from the off the package of issues at the heart of the dispute could have been resolved through the joint machinery.
“In the separate dispute involving drivers on the Piccadilly Line, safety is again a major factor and is tied in with the ripping up of policies and procedures and ignoring warnings from staff.
"Our members have been left exposed and vulnerable and we have no choice but to blow the whistle before lasting damage is done.
“The union remains available for talks in both disputes.”
Steve Griffiths, London Underground’s chief operating officer, said: “We urge the RMT leadership to work with us constructively on the issues it has raised rather than disrupt our customers with strikes.
“The announcement of strike dates is premature given that we have pre-arranged talks taking place at ACAS today (November 25) to discuss the RMT’s concerns on the Piccadilly line, and on the Hammersmith & City line we are waiting for the RMT’s response to our proposals to end that dispute.”
But Conservatives say the industrial action is another promise broken by the Labour London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
Minister for London, Gavin Barwell MP, said: “Sadiq Khan promised to be a Mayor for all Londoners, but just six months into the job he’s letting the RMT hold our city to ransom and it’s ordinary working Londoners who are paying the price.
“He’s letting Londoners down on this one – he needs to put them first, not Labour’s union paymasters.”
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