Thousands of workers on London's underground rail system will start a series of strikes next Monday after talks aimed at ending a dispute over job cuts broke down, a union said on Thursday.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union said the talks failed because London Underground would not drop plans to cut the number of staff working in ticket offices and stations.
The strikes, scheduled for dates between September 6 and November 28, are expected to cause widespread disruption across the network, which carries about three million passengers a day.
Bob Crow, RMT general secretary, said plans to cut 800 station staff and to close some ticket offices would jeopardise safety on the Tube.
We could sit back and wait for a major disaster while safety cuts are bulldozed through, turning the Tube into a death-trap or we can stand up and fight for passenger and staff safety, he said in a statement. On Monday, we will be making a stand on safety and safe staffing levels.
London Underground said the talks failed because the RMT imposed unreasonable preconditions on them.
Howard Collins, London Underground's chief operating officer, said fewer ticket hall staff are needed because more passengers are using self-service machines. Safety will not be compromised and there will be no compulsory redundancies, he said.
All stations with a ticket office will continue to have one, and all stations will be staffed at all times, he said in a statement. This threatened strike is therefore completely unnecessary. It will do nothing but disrupt Londoners, and lose those who strike a day's pay.
(Reporting by Peter Griffiths; Editing by Elizabeth Fullerton)