LONDON UNDERGROUND plans to close 144 ticket offices and wipe out 1,200 jobs, according to a leaked document now in the hands of the RMT union.
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“It is clear from these plans that LU bosses are pushing towards unmanned operation of stations regardless of the risks,” said RMT leader Bob Crowe.
“The job cuts planned for stations would leave passengers dangerously exposed in an emergency and would ratchet up the dangers for the public, particularly women, travelling late at night.”
In the plans seen by the RMT, only the bigger stations would keep ticket office staff on a full-time basis, medium-sized stations would get staff for peak hours and 144 smaller stations would be left with just ticket machines.
“RMT will mobilise a campaign to stop these cuts and this union will take whatever action is required to defend our members jobs and a safe and efficient service for the travelling public,” said Crowe.
Transport for London, which oversees the Tube network, issued a vague rebuttal of RMT’s claims, saying, “we are fully committed to staffing our stations to assist passengers,” but also confirmed that it was “looking at options for how we can be best organised in future to provide the best possible service to our customers.”
If the RMT’s leak is on the money, there are embarrasssing ramifiations for Boris Johnson.
In his election campaign, the London Mayor campaigned to, “ensure there is always a manned ticket office at every station”. But in office, Johnson has demanded £5B in cuts to the Tube budget, cuts which could lie behind the ticket office closure scheme.
“The pressure is now on Boris Johnson to stick to his word and ensure that this plan is ditched,” added Crowe.