Travel to and from World Travel Market next week faces disruption due to a 48-hour strike on the Docklands Light Railway.
The DLR serves the ExCel Centre which stages WTM from Monday to Thursday next week.
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers’ Union plan to walk out between Tuesday morning and Thursday morning in a move that is expected to bring the entire network to a halt.
Although the network runs automatically, “captains” are needed on every train for safety reasons.
The union is arguing with service operator Keolis Amey over working conditions and the use of agency staff.
In a statement on its site, the union wrote that negotiations with Keolis Amey had “broken down”.
“Although it is the case that as always we remain available for talks with the company to resolve this dispute, we now have no alternative but to act on the huge strike action mandate,” it added.
RMT general secretary, Mick Cash, told the London Evening Standard: “Our members on the DLR are furious at the way Keolis Amey are trying to bulldoze through some of the worst working practices and conditions that we associate with the operations of the most cheapskate and anti-union companies in the transport sector.
“The company should not have underestimated the anger of the workforce. KAD’s abject failure to address these issues left us with no option but to ballot for action and that ballot registered a massive 92% in favour.
“Despite strenuous efforts by RMT negotiators in talks since the ballot was confirmed the company have dug their heels in and have failed to make progress in a number of key areas at the heart of the dispute.
“As a result, RMT has no option but to confirm 48 hours of strike action for next week. The union remains available for further talks.”
Kevin Thomas, managing director of Keolis Amey Docklands, alleged RMT was “intent on proceeding with strike action rather than seeking resolution to the issues”.
“We have held a number of meetings with RMT representatives in recent weeks,” he said, “and it is clear that all of the issues they have raised can be resolved, or, in some cases, removed from the dispute and managed through the established appropriate channels.
“It is extremely frustrating that RMT appear intent on proceeding with strike action rather than seeking resolution to the issues. Such action will cause unnecessary disruption for our passengers, which I believe is avoidable.
“As always, we continue to seek meaningful and reasonable discussion with the union, with a view to achieving resolution and preventing disruption for our passengers.”
A WTM spokesman claimed that travel to the exhibition will see “minimal distribution” from the industrial action on the Dockland Light Railway.
“WTM London, Docklands Light Railway, Transport for London and ExCeL are working together on a contingency transport plan for the two days of the event affected by the strike action,” he added.
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