Maintenance staff from Tube Lines began a 72 hour London Underground strike from 4pm on 24th April 2012 in a row over parity of pensions & other benefits. However, RMT leader, Bob Crow, believes he knows the reason why London Underground are not giving Tube Lines staff (who worked for a once privatised organisation) the same benefits as their Transport for London colleagues.
In a short but emotive statement he said: "The inexplicable refusal of London Underground to agree to equalise
pensions and benefits rights for our maintenance members is deeply
suspect and points clearly to a secret plan to reprivatise this work in
an action replay of the PPP disaster.
"We understand there
are already vulture companies hovering in the wings for another shot at
robbing London blind through PPP2 and reducing the network to chaos.
of playing these political and ideological games with our members
pensions and benefits Tube bosses should be getting round the table and
resolving this straightforward dispute."
At time of writing TfL have made no response to Crow's statement and are playing down the effect of the strike with just two sentences on the home page of their website. "Some Tube Lines maintenance staff on the Jubilee, Northern and
Piccadilly lines, plan to strike from 16:00 on 24 April to 16:00 on 27
April. We expect all lines will be running with no significant impact on
Crow had said previously “Former Metronet employees have been allowed back into the TfL
Pension Fund (TfLPF) and now also have the same travel facilities as
other LUL employees. Tube Lines is now a wholly owned subsidiary of
Transport for London and there is simply no excuse for refusing to give
equal pension and pass rights." Tube Lines staff voted in favour of strike action in very clear majority.
While Crow tends to have a persecution complex, and I like the image of the "vulture companies hovering in the wings", it will be interesting to see whether & how TfL will respond to his claims. In the meantime keep an eye on TfL's website and status updates. While the Tube is running normally, as commuters we may not notice the strike. The picture will be very different if/when there are problems on the Northern, Piccadilly & Jubilee Lines in this strike period.
Update - I've just received an email from TfL's press office who said the following: "there are no plans to repeat the PPP structures of the past. We’ve recently taken the maintenance of the Jubilee fleet of trains back under our direct control, so our actions speak for themselves.
We’re committed to proper discussions on the future of Tube Lines and that includes all our staff. Since Tube Lines transferred to TfL in June 2010, we have been fully focused on the upgrade of the Jubilee line, which the PPP totally failed to deliver. It has now been delivered, with faster, more frequent services for Tube customers."