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RMT to Ballot London Underground Staff on Job Cuts

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers said it will ballot London Underground staff for strike action over proposals to cut station and platform jobs.

The ballot will start on July 20 and close on Aug. 11, the RMT said in an e-mailed statement today. Staff will also be balloted for action short of a strike, the union said. More than 140 ticket offices may face closure by London Underground and 800 posts are “under threat,” the RMT said in the statement.

“We said that we would fight the jobs assault on the tube, and the undermining of staff and public safety, and we meant it,” RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said in the statement. “London Underground appear to be willing to rip up the safety rule book when it comes to staffing levels.”

The proposed changes to subway staffing would not affect tube drivers, London Underground said in a separate statement. Most of the jobs that may be affected are in ticket offices, it said.

“Consultation continues with the unions on proposed changes to how and where staff work on stations,” Howard Collins, London Underground’s chief operating officer, said in the statement.

The proposals will not lead to compulsory redundancies and safety will remain a “top” priority, London Underground said.

The RMT also said yesterday that 24-hour strikes for members employed on the Docklands Light Railway will take place on July 23, July 27 and Aug. 6. The action against Serco Group Plc, which operates the railway in east London, is related to a dispute about compensation and workloads following the introduction of a third carriage to DLR trains, the RMT said.

The union said on July 13 that it suspended a planned two-day strike among London’s subway staff, giving them time to vote on a pay offer. The action, involving about 1,000 workers, was scheduled to start on July 14.

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