LU bosses may take legal action over Tube dispute

London Underground is considering legal action to halt any industrial action of Tube workers in a dispute linked to the firefighters' strike, it was revealed today.

The company said that if it was told it had grounds, it would take legal action against the Rail Maritime and Transport union.

Bob Crow, the union's general secretary, said LU was trying to stop the union protecting its members' safety.

"Tube bosses have buckled under political pressure to keep London Underground running despite the dangerously inadequate emergency cover available during the firefighters' strike.

"They have cited the blessing of the Health and Safety Executive, but the HSE did not seek the views of the very workers who are now being coerced into working in dangerous conditions.

"This is the latest in a long line of HSE failures and decisions that call into question the agency's impartiality.

"RMT is seeking legal advice and will defend vigorously its right to take action to safeguard the safety of its members."

The union is due to start balloting thousands of Tube workers tomorrow on whether to take industrial action, with the result due on December 12.

The RMT is seeking an assurance from LU that there will be no disciplinary action against staff who refuse to work normally during the firefighters' strike because of safety fears.

Prime Minister Tony Blair told MPs today he believed the ballot was "totally unjustified".

Challendged by Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith to say whether the Government had advised London Underground to seek an injuction to prevent such action, Mr Blair said that a decision on whether such a stoppage was illegal or not was a matter for courts.

Accused by Mr Duncan Smith of giving "a green light" to secondary action, Mr Blair insisted: "There must indeed be no return to secondary action, secondary picketing or anything that is unlawful."

He added that it was up to London Underground to decide whether to use the law but "I am quite sure they will enforce the law in any way they need to".

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