London Underground fleet maintenance staff have voted by 88% in favour of industrial action short of a strike over safety-critical cuts that have ripped up tube maintenance schedules leaving brakes and other equipment in a lethal state of disrepair.
The vote for action, on a turnout of over 50%, comes just days after a finance driven extension of maintenance schedules on the District Line led to the withdrawal of the entire fleet due to cracking of key parts. RMT released a series of pictures of brake blocks on both Bakerloo and District Line trains worn down to the metal shoe and in danger of welding to the wheel with horrific consequences.
Other cuts have included increasing the accepted tolerances on cracks on wheels that the union warns could led to a wheel collapse on a train in service, again with dire consequences for the travelling public.
RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said today:
"We have warned repeatedly that LU/TfL's cuts plans are playing fast and loose with safety and will turn the tube into a death trap. It is a scandal that the London Mayor, Boris Johnson, and his transport officials have chosen to ignore those warnings. The anger of our members who carry out the safety-critical function of maintaining the tube fleet at the cuts being imposed from above is reflected in this massive vote for action.
"Over the past two weeks we have released pictures which show what happens when you slash maintenance schedules and impose cutbacks on safety - you run trains without brake blocks and on cracked brackets and turn the journey to and from work into a lottery. The closure of District Line services has been a damning indictment of London Undeground's cuts plans which has rammed home the consequences of ripping up the rule book on fleet maintenance.
"We remain available for talks but the current cuts to tube safety must be halted before we have a tragedy on our hands. RMT members have been forced into a position where they have no choice but to take action on behalf of Londoners who depend daily on a safe transport system."
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