Mayor of London Boris Johnson has been told to “cut the waffle” and sort out the mess on the London Underground after commuters faced another difficult rush hour commute.
The Piccadilly line was hit with severe delays on Friday morning, while services were suspended on part of the Metropolitan line, causing major problems for passengers travelling into London from the north-west and west of the capital.
The disruption occurred on the same day it was announced London Underground drivers had voted to take industrial action in a row over safety. Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union voted by 4-1 to take action short of a strike after disagreements on a number of issues, including the proposed new procedures for reversing a train.
RMT general secretary Bob Crow has called for Johnson to take a more hands-on approach to the problems on the Tube. Crow said: “The Tube crisis of failing fleet and signals gets worse by the day and this cuts-led chaos cannot go on through to the Olympics. It is time for Boris Johnson to cut the waffle and the posturing and sort this mess out.”
Commuters have experienced disruption to the Tube on an almost daily basis in recent weeks, leading to Crow’s fears about how the system will work during next summer’s Olympic Games.
Meanwhile, London Underground has faced criticism from the RMT, which claims drivers will have to “self dispatch” trains due to cuts to the number of staff on platforms. However, London Underground argues that the changes have no impact on the network’s “high” safety standards.
Crow said: “RMT has demanded an end to the reckless policy of expecting drivers to over-ride door fail-safe systems after a potentially fatal incident in which a passenger jumped from a moving train and another was caught in its open doors.
“Despite that, the ‘sensitive edge’ procedures, along with a whole bunch of other unsafe procedures, are being bulldozed through in the dash for cuts, and to cover up the impact of reductions in station staff, under the guise of operational effectiveness.”
London Underground chief operating officer Howard Collins said: “The fact that 70 per cent of those balloted by the RMT chose to reject the RMT’s call for action short of a strike or not vote at all only shows that the RMT leadership is out of step with its members, and I would urge them to reconsider their plans to take industrial action.”
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