Talks aimed at averting 24-hour London Underground strikes end

Talks aimed at averting two 24-hour &to=' target=_blank>London Underground strikes, including one on New Year's Eve, ended Friday without a deal.

"The talks have ended with no agreement, so at the moment the RMT (union) is still proposing to take industrial action that day," Transport for London said.

Union members had announced the walkouts _ one planned to start at noon on Dec. 31, the other on Jan. 8 _ after members voted by more than 5-1 for action in a dispute about hours and staffing levels.

A strike would paralyze the capital's subway network and cause chaos for hundreds of thousands of New Year's Eve partygoers, who take advantage of free services between 2345 GMT and 0430 GMT.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow had said before talks at the arbitration service ACAS began that the union welcomed the chance to meet with management.

A London Underground spokesman said the company is "dismayed that the RMT are once again proposing to hold London to ransom over the festive period."

London Mayor Ken Livingstone condemned the strikes, saying there was "no justification for the RMT now reneging" on a previous agreement.

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