TUBE UNION RMT is to leaflet rush-hour passengers at Euston station this Wednesday morning over cuts to safety and safety-critical jobs following revelations that fire detection systems at the station failed last month creating the potential for a major disaster that was only avoided by the actions of a vigilant member of station staff.
RMT also confirmed today that it has written to London Underground requesting that all fire detection equipment at sub-surface stations be inspected within the next 72 hours under Section 12 Fire Regulations which were introduced after Kings Cross.
The Euston fire, which has close parallels with the Kings Cross disaster in 1987 one stop up the line, was caused by mechanical friction in the closed chamber underneath an escalator igniting accumulated dust and grease.
Fire detection systems failed and the smoke was spotted by staff members who activated the manual evacuation procedure and closed the station averting a potential disaster. RMT is pointing out that it’s those very staff who are among the 800 jobs that are currently under threat from Boris Johnson’s cuts and which are subject to a current ballot for industrial action which closes on Wednesday – 11th August.
Another fire alert was again raised by tube station staff last Friday in the morning rush hour at Oxford Circus where an air conditioning unit ignited and was spotted by staff members who safely evacuated the station.
RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:
“The two recent fire incidents at Euston and Oxford Circus show once again that it is vigilant and trained staff at station level who are critical when it comes to spotting potential danger and activating emergency evacuation procedures – yet these are the very staff that TfL are looking to axe in a cull of 800 tube station posts.
“If anyone wanted a clear example of why we are currently balloting for action over the axing of safety-critical tube jobs they need look no further than the role played by staff at Euston and Oxford Circus. If those station staff hadn’t been on duty we could have had major disasters on our hands.”