London Evening Standard London
Police community support officers on the Tube have threatened strike action over a new 1am finishing time.
They claim the new shift hours mean they cannot get home at night by public transport and stand to lose up to £1,000 in allowances.
The changes by British Transport Police mean one in three shifts will now finish at 1am. Unlike the police, PCSOs can take part in industrial action. The strike move threatens to leave large parts of the Tube network unprotected without PCSO patrols.
BTP employs 330 PCSOs, almost half in London stations. But many depend on trains in the Home Counties for the commute to work because of the high cost of housing in London.
Manuel Cortes, leader of TSSA, representing the officers, said: “Are they supposed to sleep at the station? No employer should turf their staff out at 1am onto the streets of London with no way to get home.
“But that’s exactly what the BTP, the very people charged with ensuring the public travel safety, are now doing to their own staff.”
Cortes called on Mayor Sadiq Kahn to intervene and “bang heads together if necessary”. He claimed the new clock-off time is being imposed from next month as part of BTP cost-cutting to reduce night-shift allowance payments by 5% — meaning PCSOs could lose about £1,000 a year.
A mayor’s office spokesman said: “The mayor is urging the TSSA to work with BTP to resolve this dispute, so passengers don’t face any disruption.”
BTP deputy chief constable Adrian Hanstock said: “It is disappointing to learn of this proposal by TSSA to ballot our PCSOs on industrial action, which feels somewhat premature and excessive when we are still in discussions with those few employees affected by our planned shift changes.”
He also denied the shift changes were to save money, saying they reflected new demands on the force.
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