The "clock is ticking" for London Underground (LU) to find a resolution to its job cuts dispute ahead of a 48-hour-long strike from 6 February, the RMT has warned. The union has urged Tube bosses not to "drag their heels" as the parties hold private talks over the Fit for Future Stations programme, which has also seen ticket offices close across the network.
Mick Cash, the general secretary of the RMT, said he would escalate the dispute by holding negotiations at mitigation service Acas as the industrial action from station staff looms.
"With surging Tube demand, against a background of chronic overcrowding, the union cannot and will not sit back while safety-critical jobs, that are the eye and ears of the service, are ripped away from our stations," the union chief declared.
Steve Griffiths, the chief operating officer of London Underground, argued the Fit for Future Station programme has improved customer service on the network. "Ticket offices that customers were using in ever dwindling numbers have already closed with more staff than ever now moved into ticket halls, gate lines and platforms where they can help customers more effectively," he said.
"As a result, we are seeing big increases in customer satisfaction, particularly in the helpfulness of staff. The only thing a strike will do is badly hit hard-working Londoners and lose staff two days' pay and a £500 bonus."
The RMT, along with the TSSA, Unite and Aslef, is also in dispute with LU over the proposed Night Tube. The union recently suspended its planned strike action over pay and work conditions relating to the service.