Tube workers to strike for two days in February, RMT announces

Tube roundel Image copyright PA
Image caption Two separate strikes will take place on 5 and 7 February

London Underground (LU) workers are to stage two strikes in February in a row over jobs and ticket office closures.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers Union (RMT) said Tube staff will walk out for 16 hours from 18:00 GMT on 5 February.

A 15-hour strike will then take place from 10:00 on 7 February.

Talks have been taking place between Tube bosses and the union at the conciliation service Acas but have failed to break the deadlock.

A 24-hour strike by the RMT and Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA) earlier this month over the same issues led to much of the Tube network being shut.

Image caption Most zone one stations shut during the 24-hour strike earlier in January

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said safety had been "compromised" by "cash-led cuts to staffing levels".

However, he said the union "remains available for further serious talks".

Image copyright PA
Image caption The walk out led to lengthy queues for buses in many parts of the capital...
Image copyright PA
Image caption .....and severe overcrowding in other stations like Clapham Junction

The TSSA has not said whether its members will join the walk out.

General secretary Manuel Cortes said the union would meet again with LU management on Monday and then "decide our next steps".

Steve Griffiths, London Underground's chief operating officer, called the strike "completely unnecessary" and added: "We are still in talks with the TSSA union but the RMT refused to join us today. We urge the RMT to continue talking to us so that we can reach a resolution."

Transport for London (TfL) has previously said it would address the recommendations of a recent report which found the closure of ticket offices had caused "significant issues" for Tube passengers.

Analysis by Tom Edwards, BBC London transport correspondent

The last Tube strike over the levels of staffing had a huge impact with many stations closed in zone one. Buses and overland rail stations couldn't cope.

You can expect a similar disruption in the week beginning Sunday 5 February. Unusually, the RMT will be striking in two blocks of 16 hours and 15 hours.

That means the disruption could easily stretch over four days, from the Sunday night through to the Wednesday, as trains and station staff will be all over the place.

But station staff on strike will not lose four days pay. It is designed to have maximum disruption.

LU admits the Tube needs more staff following ticket office closures, but so far the numbers being offered have not convinced the RMT.

Also the Mayor Sadiq Khan had promised "zero strikes" and said he would work closely with the unions. That promise is long gone.

There will be probably be talks next week.

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