One of the largest tube unions, RMT has planned indefinite industrial action over a dispute on the Piccadilly line .
The indefinite action is scheduled to start on July 25 but strike action has not been ruled out, pending talks with the Transport for London subsidiary managing company Tube Lines, which is responsible for infrastructure and maintenance.
The issue stems from 35 new members of staff being hired on temporary contracts to enable 24-hour work on Piccadilly line trains.
The work involves lifting of the trains to replace wheels damaged due to problems with rail head contamination from leaf fall and wheel flats on the line.
The fault resulted in the entire fleet being removed from service for emergency repairs in November 2016, with delays to regular service continuing for months.
RMT has decided to take action, accusing Tube Lines of "driving a coach and horses" through agreements made between the parties.
The transport union says Tube Lines ignored repeated warnings about the issue with the train wheels but that by hiring fixed term staff, they are opening the door to "wholesale casualisation of the workforce".
RMT's position is that all new posts should be recruited on a permanent basis and has put forward in talks a series of proposals that would allow that to happen, it claims.
From 7.30am on Thursday (July 25), staff at the Northfields and Cocksfosters depots will carry out indefinite industrial action.
In that time they will not work overtime, not carry out roles beyond their position or location, not deviate from current and approved instruction documents and risk assessments, not work unless a first aider is on duty, and not perform coaching and/or buddy duties.
RMT's National Executive Committee will consider strike action, pending talks with Tube Lines later this week.
Mick Cash, RMT general secretary, said: “RMT has made it clear that the union will not sit back and watch while Tube Lines rip up agreements and look to open the door to wholesale casualisation of the workforce.
“It was RMT members who raised the problems with the brakes and wheel sets on the Piccadilly line in the first place and it is appalling that the company have seized on these serious issues to try and threaten long-term job security.
“RMT has put forward a number of practical proposals that would enable us to move forwards without creating a two-tier workforce.
"We expect the company to take our proposals seriously.”
Transport for London, the parent company to Tube Lines, has been approached for comment.
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