Brent opposes plan to close ticket offices
- Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images
Unions are threatening to strike over controversial proposals to close ticket offices at every underground station, which would result in layoffs - with up to 750 jobs at risk.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers Union (RMT) has confirmed a member’s ballot over possible strike action concerning the loss of jobs.
RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said current proposals would have a “devastating” impact on passenger safety -the vulnerable in particular.
“RMT will work with the communities in the front line of the cuts plans, and with our sister unions, to fight the tube cuts through combined political, public and industrial campaigning designed to stop these lethal proposals in their tracks,” he said.
There has been a backlash to the Mayor’s plan in Brent.
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Cllr Mohammed Butt, Head of Brent Council has written a letter to Boris Johnston in opposition to the planned closure of ticket offices in the Borough by 2015.
“The Mayor’s reckless and irresponsible plans will make the daily commute more difficult for everyone in our borough,” the councillor said.
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The proposed plans do not consider how staff will cope on major event days at stations close to iconic venues such as Wembley Stadium and Arena, according to Cllr Butt.
“Ticket office staff help to ensure that our stations are safe for Brent residents travelling at night, and commuters will now have nowhere to turn when their oyster card is lost, stolen or faulty.”
“We will stand side-by-side with residents across our borough to oppose these plans,” he said.
Transport for London face a severe budget reduction of nearly £80m in the next financial year and claims plans could save up to £40m.
The Mayor of London announced plans to replace ticket offices with a 24 hour weekend service.
The proposed ‘Night Tube’ would provide services on the Piccadilly, Victoria, Central, Jubilee and Northern lines but not Metropolitan and Bakerloo lines which run through the Borough.
Public transport campaigner Neil Nerva is furious with current proposals and claims jobs cuts creates a safety issue.
He said “It is going to be an inconvenience to users, havoc for tourists and it is going to deter people from travelling because of the safety issue.”
“Where is the staff going to be? Staff presence is important in the safety of passengers.”
Responding to the criticism, the Mayor said there will be a “proper period of consultation” with staff over the changes and added he hopes employees would see the benefit of the proposals.
A spokesman for Transport for London added: “The Mayor is absolutely committed to ensuring that Underground staff are more visible and available to help customers buy the right tickets, plan their journey and keep them safe and secure.”
“We are now consulting with our unions and staff on our future vision, and I would urge the unions to work with us to shape our plans, rather than threaten hard-working Londoners with completely unnecessary strike action,” Phil Hufton, London Underground’s Chief Operating Officer, said.