London Underground
RMT members plan to take strike action for 48-hours on 14 OctoberReuters

Talks are underway in a bid to avoid a 48-hour strike on the London Underground, which could cause travel chaos across the capital.

A spokesperson for the mediation service Acas told IBTimes UK that discussions between London Underground managers and the RMT Union started at 10:00 on 8 October.

The talks come after the RMT said its members would stage a 48-hour strike between 21:00 on 14 October through to 20:59 on 16 October in a "fight against the Mayor's onslaught on jobs, working conditions and safety".

"RMT negotiators have made every effort in the long-running talks to resolve a range of issues that impact on our members jobs, their pay and working conditions and the safety of the services that they provide to the travelling public," said Mick Cash, the newly elected general secretary of the RMT.

"The cuts, currently being bulldozed through, would de-staff whole areas of the tube system at a time of surging passenger demand and would make evacuation and other basic safety procedures a physical impossibility."

The move, which will coincide with strikes by public sector workers over pay and jobs, will come after Transport for London announced that the underground will run a 24 hour weekend service on selected lines next year.

The plan also involves closing ticked offices throughout the network and the loss of around 900 jobs.

But Phil Hufton, London Underground's chief operating officer, said RMT's planned strike action was "pointless".

"This is yet more pointless strike action called by the RMT leadership following our plans to modernise and improve the London Underground for our customers," Hufton said.

"We have been in consultation with the RMT and the other trade unions now for 11 months involving over 80 meetings on the details.

"We have adhered to every single one of the commitments we made to our staff, including delivering on our guarantee of no compulsory redundancies and offering a job for anyone who wants to stay with us with no loss of pay.

"This action and the timing of it, to coincide with public sector strikes that have nothing to do with London Underground, is cynical in the extreme. It will only lose RMT members pay and disrupt Londoners."