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Sadiq Khan accused of ‘giving in to unions’ as Tube strike looms

unnamed (4)Sadiq Khan was accused of “giving in” to the unions today by dramatically scaling back plans to reduce the number of Tube station staff.

Transport for London announced it would be hiring 325 new workers after talks with the RMT union in an effort to avert more strike action at the weekend.

The long-running dispute is over the axing of up to 900 staff and the closure of ticket offices under Boris Johnson’s regime when Mayor.

London Assembly Tories accused Mr Khan of ignoring the advice of his own independent review into his predecessor’s decision to close the offices, which saved around £50 million a year.

They claimed the Mayor was reappointing more staff “against all the evidence” – TravelWatch did not call for them to be reopened – at a cost of £68 million over his first term.

London Assembly member Keith Prince said: “The Mayor has made big claims that he will cut waste at TfL, but he has hired 325 staff members proven to be unnecessary.

“The Mayor’s new solution to preventing future strikes is giving in to union demands. In this round of talks he has rolled over and given away £68 million of taxpayer’s money.”

 

However, City Hall rejected the figure – saying it was wrongly based on the assumption that all new staff would be full time, when in fact 200 would be, with the remainder a mix of part and full-time.

It also assumed they would all be in the highest salary band when that had yet to be decided.

A source close to the Mayor said: “This is total nonsense from the Tories . Sadiq will keep working around the clock to reduce the number of strikes because he is firmly on the side of commuters.”

The unions say the job cuts raise major safety issues in running the network used by more than four million people a day – claims London Underground denies.

LU had previously said it would hire 200 new staff this year but that by filling existing vacancies and accounting for natural turnover the figure would increase to 600 – an offer rejected by the unions.

More than 3,000 RMT staff are planning to walk out from 6pm this Sunday until 10am on the Monday; then again from 10am on Tuesday 7 February until 1am on Wednesday 8.

The union has warned of further strikes in March if an agreement is not reached when talks with London Underground resume.

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