Unions have warned that a planned walkout by power workers on the Tube could cause travel disruption for more than a week and have an impact on commuters when the Tour de Francecycle race visits the capital on July 7th.
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union and Unite are due to walk out for eight days from 8pm this evening after the failure of last-ditch talks to resolve a row over pensions and working conditions.
London Underground (LU) has insisted the action will have no impact on Tube services, despite claims of potential disruption by the unions involved.
Mick Cash, RMT acting general secretary, said: “This dispute is over an all-out attack on the power control grade that would hit pensions, length of service and working conditions and damage the futures of this key group of Tube workers.”
“Management’s claim that they can run the system without them is both provocative and dangerous.”
“These staff are effectively the national grid for London Underground and this action will have the most severe consequences for Tube operations but has been forced on us by management wrecking the earlier talks.”
Cash said there was still time to head off the strike.
A Unite spokesman said: “The blame for any disruption will lie with the management because this dispute should have been resolved weeks ago.
“The travelling public faces the very real prospect of their journeys being disrupted because of the irresponsibility of the management.”
Richard Jones, London Underground’s head of command and control, said: “Due to detailed planning there will be no visible impact on the network should the strike action go ahead.
“We remain committed to discussions with Unite, TSSA and RMT representatives around working terms and conditions for staff in our power control team. I urge them to continue with constructive discussions rather than threaten pointless industrial action.”
A previous strike was called off to allow talks, but unions said these have now broken down.