Will there be a tube strike next week? Talks aimed at averting strikes on London Underground over Tube ticket office closures are being held today (Wednesday).
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union are due to walk out for two days from next Monday evening and again for three days the following Monday evening in protest at the loss of hundreds of jobs. Source: PA.
Passengers have been told that modernisation plans will "radically improve" customer service. London Underground (LU) managing director Mike Brown has written an open letter to Tube users setting out plans to improve customer service while bearing down on fares.
He said that, under LU's proposals, the public areas of stations - ticket halls, gate lines and platforms - will become "personalised customer service centres", replicating standards during the London 2012 Games.
"Staff will be brought out from behind glass screens and hidden back offices to serve customers better.
"Everything that customers can do at a ticket office window will be available to them more readily, with LU staff helping, at ticket machines, online or by telephone.
The plans affect 950 jobs, but LU said 650 employees have already applied for voluntary redundancy, while an additional 200 staff will be needed for a new 24- hour Tube service at weekends.
With existing vacancies and natural staff turnover, no-one is being forced to leave, said LU.
Mr Brown said: "Our proposals mean radically improved customer service while allowing us to bear down on the cost of transport fares.
"We will be emulating the levels of face-to-face customer service we gave during the 2012 Games, with more staff available in the public areas of stations to help and advise passengers and keep everyone safe.
"We recognise that the strikes the RMT propose from next week will be hugely disruptive. I hope that they can be averted - but that is up to the RMT. The sensible thing to do is keep talking.
"If the strikes go ahead, we will work hard to provide the best service we possibly can. Many of our staff will come in to work and we will also have our travel ambassadors out in force to offer help and advice."
RMT members at Transport for London, who work in admin roles, will strike for 48 hours from 9pm on April 28 in a separate dispute over pensions.
The union is also staging a strike at the Heathrow Express train service for 48 hours from 0300 on April 29 in a row over jobs, pay and cuts.
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