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Tube strike action 'could escalate'

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Tube strike action could escalate after the Christmas period, union chiefs said

Strikes by London Underground workers could be escalated in the new year with walkouts lasting up to three days considered, union leaders have warned.

But officials of the Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union and the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) said they would not be recommending any walkouts over the festive season.

The move appeared to rule out any more strikes before January 10, giving a respite to travellers in London.

It came as Tube services were disrupted on Monday by a 24-hour walkout in protest against job losses.

Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT, said: “We are moving towards an escalation of the action in the New Year. I don’t think it will be appropriate to have action over Christmas.”

Mr Crow said his executive will consider the next move later this week, adding this could lead to two or three-day strikes or action in an entire week by different groups of Tube workers.

“I will not be recommending any action this side of January 2, but come 2011 we will have to consider escalating strikes to more than one day.”

Earlier, Transport for London was accused by Mr Crow of “misleading” travellers over the impact of a strike by thousands of Tube workers which has disrupted services for the fourth time in recent months. The company said Tube services were running on nearly all lines on Monday morning, adding that “some stations may be currently closed”.

The RMT said the walkout had had the greatest impact yet, claiming that “ghost” trains were running as a “PR stunt”.

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