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Three stations in Brent will be closed if 48-hour Tube strike goes ahead tomorrow

PUBLISHED: 18:39 03 February 2014 | UPDATED: 09:31 04 February 2014

Staff are striking over plans to close ticket offices (Picture: Nick Ansell)

Staff are striking over plans to close ticket offices (Picture: Nick Ansell)

PA Wire/Press Association Images

Commuters in Brent are set to be affected by industrial action scheduled to start tomorrow on the Tube.

Workers are a step closer to staging a walkout after talks to avert strike action have ended without any agreement, with union bosses offering to meet Boris Johnson “anytime, anywhere” to try to reach a deal.

It means members of the Rail Maritime and Transport union (RMT) and the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) could strike from around 9.30pm, until Friday morning, and then again at the same time next week.

The last ditch talks aimed at preventing the strike, a response by the unions to plans to close more than 260 ticket offices across the Tube network, were held today at the conciliation service Acas, but there was no breakthrough.

Transport bosses have vowed to run a service but it will be severely reduced with trains failing to stop in Brent at Kilburn Park on the Bakerloo Line and Northwick Park and Preston Road on the Metropolitan Line.

TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes offered to meet London Mayor Boris Johnson “anytime, anywhere” in the next 24 hours to try and reach a face to face deal to halt the strike.

He said: “It became increasingly clear over the past six days that Boris has been refusing to allow his negotiating team to enter into serious talks over his wholesale ticket office closure programme.

“We now want to sit down with the organ grinder himself and reach a deal that will keep our Tube services running.

“We will suspend the action if he suspends the threat to 953 jobs. He is determined to pick a fight with us to further his long term political career regardless of the damage to our Tube network. He should put the travelling public ahead of desire to become Tory party leader,” said Mr Cortes.

The news comes after days of fraught talks, during which the unions have accused Boris Johnson and Transport for London of holding “a gun” to their head over ticket office closures, which they say would lead to almost 1,000 job losses.

The Mayor, Boris Johnson, has accused the unions of “trying to hold the capital to ransom” and said he would only meet them if the strikes were called off.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow today told a news conference: “We are prepared to suspend the industrial action if the Mayor is prepared to suspend the job losses.

“In the meantime, the action remains on. These cuts will be followed by more and more cuts unless we do something about it.”

“All a strike will achieve is lose those who take part four days’ pay.

“Should the strike go ahead, we’ll do all we can to keep our customers informed and ensure we keep London moving and open for business.”

TSSA general secretary Manuel Cortes: “It is now time for Boris to sit down with his staff representatives and negotiate a sensible deal which will protect the safety and security of the travelling public as well as the long term interests of our members.

“We think he is too ready to gamble with safety by abolishing permanent station supervisors in this closure plan, a plan which stands on its head his promise in 2008 to keep open every ticket office.”


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