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RMT sounds warning as Underground pay talks start

A NEW round of London Underground pay negotiations is due to begin tomorrow (5 June), and the RMT has prepared the way by making a ‘clear demand’ for ‘a deal that reflects the growing workload and pressures’ which it says affect the staff.

One point of contention, according to the RMT, is that the latest offer from Transport for London does not include 1,300 staff who had worked for the failed Public-Private Partnership contractor Tube Lines and are now employed directly by London Underground Ltd.

The union has also accused Transport for London of acting ‘in a bizarre manner’ by sending the details of the latest offer by post instead of presenting it face to face.

The RMT says the offer ‘says nothing about RMT’s claim for the lowest paid grades, nothing on the reduction of the shorter working week and nothing about equality over staff travel arrangements’.

The talks come at a critical time for TfL, whose budget has been challenged by the Mayor’s fares freeze and the overunning Crossrail project, which should have opened six months ago but may not now be launched before 2021. The delay has not only forced TfL to borrow around £2.5 billion to finish the job but also deprived it of expected fares revenue.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: ‘The company, the Mayor and his senior officials all need to be aware that RMT will fight for a fair deal for London’s tube workers that reflects their massive contribution to the wealth of the City. A failure to come up with a deal that meets that objective will result in action by this trade union.

‘It is frankly bizarre that the current offer, which fails to address key issues like pay for the lower grades, reduction in the working week and equality of transport provision, was received by post rather than face to face.

‘I also want to make it clear that RMT will not tolerate any attempts to marginalise and exclude the 1,300 former Tube Lines staff. We will not allow anyone to be left behind and LU need to wake up to that fact sharpish.’

TfL said: ‘We have made an offer to our unions following constructive discussions. We believe that this offer is fair, affordable and reflects feedback we have had from our unions. We look forward to these discussions continuing.’

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