(Adds confirmation of Monday talks)
LONDON, April 27 Millions of commuters face
transport chaos this week as workers on the London Underground
rail network plan to hold a two-day strike in a dispute over
planned job cuts.
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport workers' union
(RMT) are due to stage a 48-hour walkout beginning at 2000 GMT
on April 28 after talks aimed at resolving the row over plans to
close manned ticket offices broke down earlier this month.
Fresh talks will be held on Monday in a last ditch effort to
prevent the strike going ahead, a spokesman for Transport for
London (TfL) said on Sunday.
A similar strike in February brought the network, used by
some three million people most days, to a virtual standstill.
A second planned February walkout was averted to allow talks to
The strike action follows the March 11 death of RMT leader
Bob Crow, whose success in extracting concessions from employers
through hard talk and industrial disruption has set the mould
for those vying to replace him, trade union experts say.
Another three-day strike has been called from May 5.
TfL, which argues that less than three percent of journeys
on the 151-year-old tube network now involve passengers using
ticket offices, has said it will run a limited service on some
lines, with some stations closed. Extra bus and river boat
services will also be added.
"A lot of people are going to be late," said 25-year-old
architect Stefan Wilson, who is able to walk to work in the City
of London from his home in Wapping.
"If you work in an office job it will have less impact. It
is going to be worst for people like nurses who cannot do their
job from home."
TfL says its modernisation plans, including cutting 953
station jobs, can be achieved without compulsory redundancies or
any loss of pay to workers and with the promise stations would
remain staffed at all times.
The union says the cuts risk safety and would damage quality
of service, and has blamed rail management for the failure of
eight weeks of talks. It said it hoped the strikes would lead
them to engage in "meaningful and serious talks".
British Prime Minister David Cameron last week called the
strike "unjustified and unacceptable", saying it would hit
millions of families and cause chaos for businesses.
Business lobbies have said previous tube strikes have cost
London's economy up to 50 million pounds ($84 million) a day.
($1 = 0.5948 British Pounds)
(Reporting by Kylie MacLellan; Editing by Lynne O'Donnell and