Hundreds of jobs set to be lost on LondonTube and Overground networks

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Hundreds of London Underground and London Overground staff are set to lose their jobs as government funding to the network was dramatically cut by 12.5%.

London Overground have already announced the cutting of 130 conductors to achieve an annual saving of £5 million as the RMT union threatened to ballot its members for possible industrial action if transport chiefs insisted on going ahead with the decision.

With ticket purchases for the London tube and underground networks becoming increasingly automated, Tube bosses are looking to replace staff with technology, reducing the potential of actually finding a human being to talk to in case of a problem and casting the spectre of susbstantial redundancies.

Mike Brown, London Underground’s managing director, compared the new strategy to self service tills in supermarkets and said that these plans had been on the cards even before the Chancellor, George Osborne lopped £222 million off their budget in last month’s Spending Review.

The implementation of the Oyster card system has seen a fall of 65% in the use of ticket offices at tube and overground stations over the last 10 years, and the impending introduction of contactless “wave and pay cards” this year seems set to reduce that figure even further. London Underground has already seen the loss of 2,300 staff members over the past three years of which 800 came directly from station teams. Tube bosses insist that stations will not become completely automated (despite the fact that some already show precious little sign of any staff) and maintain that the embrace of technology will allow staff to spend more time with passengers. They are apparently also considering equipping staff with tablet computers to increase their mobility and free them to cover the platforms

Every Tube station has at least one member of LU staff during train operating hours and there are no plans to change this say bosses

But RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “We can expect many more of these attacks on jobs and safety as TfL slash hundreds of millions from their budget at the Government’s behest. They will be met with the fiercest possible resistance from the RMT.”

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