Johnson to RMT: 'Huge' implications of driverless Tube

Mayor of London Boris Johnson has raised the prospect of driverless trains as the future of the London Underground network.

The mayor has been in dispute with the RMT and TSSA unions over 800 jobs due to go in ticket offices.

Four walkouts have been held with another minor strike on Friday night.

In his 'State of London' speech, Mr Johnson discussed automatic trains and warned against more strikes. RMT said it showed "utter contempt" for staff.

Mr Johnson said: "When the Jubilee Line is complete there will be three lines in London which operate on an automated system.

"It is a fact that as we speak most of the Jubilee Line runs under automatic operation.

"The driving of the train is done by computer, rather than manually."

Mr Johnson said trains still needed one member of staff aboard, as on the Docklands Light Railway.

But he continued: "It is a fact that anybody in this room could in a matter of a few weeks acquire the qualifications to supervise an Underground train.

"The huge implications of that change will be obvious to all of us.

"I hope they [the unions] will recognise the patience of Londoners is not endless. They should abandon the recent pattern of strikes."

'Fierce resistance' vow

Bob Crow, RMT general secretary, said: "Boris Johnson's comments show he has complete and utter contempt for the tens of thousands of staff who ensure safe transport for millions of Londoners every day of the week.

"It is clear he is planning to sack thousands of Tube drivers and that act of provocation will be met with fierce resistance.

"Suggesting that drunken bankers and grandees can drive Tube trains is a disgrace."

Mr Crow added: "Next week RMT will have a two day strike on DLR that will shut it entirely."

A TfL spokesman said: "There are no plans to introduce driverless trains on the Tube.

"But the mayor felt it was important to point out the potential implications of technological advances and invite his audience to reflect upon them."

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