By David Stewart White
Workers on London's Underground (subway) plan two 48-hour walkouts in February. The union representing many Underground employees announced the strikes in a January 10 statement. According to the RMT union, the first strike will start at noon on February 4 and continue through midnight February 6. A second walkout follows at noon on February 11. In addition, Underground station workers will stop performing some duties during morning and evening hours on February 7, 10, and 14.
The walkout is in reaction to Transport for London's plans to reduce station staffing and all station ticket offices by 2015. The Underground also plans introduce 24-hour train service on weekends in 2015. The RMT union claims 1,000 jobs will be eliminated. Management claims that no workers will lose jobs.
The London Underground is one of the oldest and largest subway systems in the world. Underground serves the greater London area with 270 stations, nearly 250 miles of track, and an annual ridership of more than one billion passengers.