England

RMT to ballot London Midland staff over industrial action

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Media captionThe number of ticket inspectors on London Midland services is set to fall

London Midland workers could be balloted for industrial action by the end of the week if talks continue to fail, a union has warned.

The train operator announced proposals to shed 150 jobs in March.

RMT regional organiser Ken Usher said they wanted a guarantee there would be no compulsory redundancies.

London Midland spokesman Jed Burgess said the impact on individual posts was still out to consultation and no numbers had been fixed.

"We have a meeting planned for Wednesday and another one pencilled for Friday. If progress is not made by the end of the week it's likely we will be balloting for industrial action," said Mr Usher.

Clamping down

He said he was "extremely disappointed" there had been so little progress, adding it was like "hitting our heads against the wall."

Mr Usher said their figures suggested one in five people in the region were travelling without a ticket and this showed the importance of ticket inspectors in the region.

One inspector on the Cannock line collected more than £200,000 in one year in fines, he added.

But Mr Burgess disputed the figure for the number of fare dodgers, saying it was more like 7% in the central part of the region and 3% on the fringes.

He said they were clamping down on people travelling without paying and said 1,600 penalty fines had been issued in recent months.

"We don't expect the vast majority of honest fare paying passengers to subsidise people travelling without a ticket," he said.

"We do go out of our way to catch them and sooner or later we do."

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