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London Subway Drivers Plan Strike

January 23, 2002

LONDON (AP) _ Unions for the London Underground’s two main drivers’ unions plan to vote over the next few weeks on whether to strike over wages, officials said Wednesday.

Drivers from the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen and the Rail, Maritime and Transport unions are voting on conducting a series of 48-hour strikes.

The unions accuse London Underground management of reneging on a deal sealed last year to avert industrial action, a claim the management denies.

The dispute centers on differences in pay between drivers of passenger trains and engineering trains.

London Underground accused the unions of acting prematurely and being overly aggressive in threatening to strike.

Workers staged two one-day walkouts last year and canceled others at the last minute.

Paul Godier, managing director of London Underground, said the unions’ decision was a ``backward step.″

``Where is the logic in RMT and ASLEF balloting their members for strike action when we are still willing to talk, to find a way to resolve the issue and to offer a fair deal to our drivers?″ Godier asked.

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