An “Operational Strategy” paper from London Underground management, leaked by tube union RMT, has revealed plans for a radical restructuring of the tube that could see 1,500 jobs axed.
The plan, based on across-the-board financial cuts of 20%, would move the tube towards greater automation, with drivers replaced by train attendants. It would also see every single ticket office on the entire network close, with 30 “travel centres” set up to replace them. Recruitment would be frozen, and the existing de-staffing programme escalated to leave dozens of stations across the network effectively unstaffed.
Coupled with the news that tube fares will rise by 7% in 2012, the plan represents tube bosses to make passengers and workers take the hit for the financial crisis. And this is despite figures from Ken Livingstone (hardly a friend of tube workers) claiming that Transport for London is sitting on a “cash mountain” of over £700 million.
RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said: “This document tells us everything we need to know about the operational strategy of London Underground — massive increase in fares alongside an unprecedented attack on jobs and safety.
“Every single ticket office would be closed, stations left unstaffed and drivers would be thrown out of their cabs without a single thought for passenger safety.
“This ill-conceived and finance-led document ignores reality in favour of austerity and would impact on every single staff member on London Underground.”
Resisting the bosses’ plan is not enough; tube unions and passengers’ groups should work together to produce a workers’ and passengers’ plan for restructuring the Tube on the basis of public service and workers’ rights.
•For more on tube workers’ struggles, including the campaigns for justice for victimised drivers Jayesh Patel and James Masango and the battle for workers’ rights during the Olympics, see workersliberty.org/