TUBE staff are to be balloted for industrial action in a dispute over job cuts, meaning commuters could be faced with severe disruption.

Thousands of Tube workers from the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union could walk out if strikes go ahead over plans to axe up to 800 jobs.

The RMT’s general secretary Bob Crow said the job cuts could turn Tube stations into "a muggers' paradise".

Earlier this month, LU said it needed to save £16m a year, but said there would be no compulsory redundancies and that it would examine redeploying staff.

It said job cuts would include 100 managers, 450 ticket office jobs and as many as 200 other positions, but station ticket offices would not be closed.

The RMT has said it is to hold a public meeting about the planned cuts today.

It is expected about 10,000 Tube workers, who are RMT members, will vote on strike action.

Mr Crow said: "It is only a matter of time now before TfL and Boris Johnson have a tragedy on their hands."

He added that the union believes staff on the travel network would be at “dangerously low levels” following the cutbacks.

London Uunderground (LU) director Richard Parry said: "The changes we are proposing are vital to ensure we can deliver a safer, more frequent Tube service in future.

"The threat of strike action by the RMT is unjustified and knee-jerk at this very early stage of the consultation process.”

He added: "Like any public service we have to be as efficient as we can, particularly in the present difficult economic times, to deliver value for money for the fare-payers and taxpayers who fund the Tube."