The independent London newspaper

Underground train drivers back industrial action over tube noise

One driver said din levels between Kentish Town and Euston were “beyond anything I can describe”.

19 September, 2019 — By Samantha Booth

LONDON Underground drivers have voted overwhelmingly in favour of industrial action over tube track noise.

The RMT Union said drivers voted by more than 95 per cent for action on the Jubilee, Central, Northern and Victoria lines.

A New Journal investigation revealed earlier this year how some sections of the Northern line feeding Camden Town had noise levels similar to rock concert, leaving passengers desperately covering their ears.

Transport for London has been deluged with complaints and the RMT has begun campaigning on the issue amid concerns about damage to staff members’ hearing. TfL has been trying to get a handle on the noise with alternative technology but has previously admitted it had no current solution to silencing the racket between Euston and Tufnell Park.

General secretary Mick Cash said it was “appalling” they had to resort to a ballot.

He said: “We welcome the fact that union pressure has secured some progress but it has been too slow and our executive will be monitoring the situation and considering whatever further action may be required to ensure that the health of our members exposed to this barrage of noise night and day is given top priority.”

Earlier this year, TfL agreed to provide ear defenders after pressure from unions. Previous ear plugs had not been considered an adequate defence. One driver said the noise levels between Kentish Town and Euston were “beyond anything I can describe”.

TfL insist that Health and Safety Executive guidance suggests tube noise is highly unlikely to cause any long-term damage to hearing.

A TfL spokeswoman said: “The health and safety of our staff and customers is our first priority and we have met with our unions on several occasions to discuss the issue of noise.”

She added: “We have already agreed to provide a broader range of ear protection to those drivers who wish to use it, and have further meetings scheduled with union representatives. “We look forward to working together to make sure that drivers are as comfortable as possible.”

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