UK - Metronet staff have voted in favour of strike action, over a lack of certainty about future pension arrangements once the business is transferred to Transport for London (TfL).

The national union of Rail, Maritime and Transport workers (RMT) said it is currently seeking guarantees its 2,500 Metronet members will be allowed to join the TfL pension scheme, they will not be transferred to other employers and will also receive the same travel facilities as other TfL staff.

But Bob Crow, general secretary of RMT, said despite "detailed talks with the company and its administrators" over several months and "positive discussions" with the Mayor, the union has not yet received the "unequivocal written guarantees we are seeking for our members".

Following this lack of uncertainty, RMT confirmed in March it intended to ballot Metronet staff for industrial action and has revealed members voted in favour of strike action by a majority of four to one.

Crow claimed because the transfer of the contracts is "highly complex" the union needs "simple guarantees on the security of our members' jobs and their pensions", however he suggested the "solution to this dispute is only a letter away".
"It is one thing to be told that there are intentions, but intentions are not guarantees and we have already made it clear that it would be unthinkable for the transfer of Metronet back to the public sector to be used as a Trojan horse for a two-tier workforce," he warned.

RMT claimed in March the company had failed to provide a guarantee that Metronet staff not already members of the £4.7bn (€5.9bn) TfL pension fund would be allowed to join it, and said the ballot on strike action had been called to "protect the interests of our members".

Following the result of the ballot, Crow revealed the RMT executive would be consulting with the union's Metronet representatives to "consider developments as a matter of urgency".

Metronet was the firm previously tasked with the maintainence and upgrade engineering on several routes of the London Underground train network, however the company went into administration last year and its service are now being taken over by Transport for London (TfL).

If you have any comments you would like to add to this or any other story, contact Nyree Stewart on + 44 (0)20 7261 4618 or email