Thousands of London Underground workers are to start voting on whether to strike in a dispute over jobs.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union are being balloted from Wednesday over claims that cuts are being “smuggled in” under a so-called transformation programme.

Around 2,000 staff will be balloted, including those working in engineering, signals, electrical, track and control centres. The result will be known in mid-July.

Speaking from the union’s annual conference in Manchester, RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Staff across London Underground are furious at the attempts to smuggle in a creeping programme of cuts and privatisation under the cloak of the transformation programme.

“RMT on London Underground is now on a war footing and it’s about time the management, and the London Mayor, woke up and took notice.

“If we are forced by their inaction to escalate the dispute then that is exactly we will do.”

The union has also warned of industrial action against train operators in a dispute over pensions.

A Transport for London spokesman said: “Over the next three years we will continue to reduce our operating costs whilst delivering improvements to our service, and we are consulting fully with our staff and trade unions before any changes are confirmed.

“None of this will compromise the safety of customers or staff, which will always remain our top priority. We hope that the RMT will engage with us in this consultation process.”