Two days of disruption planned by staff in first week of March
Union concerned about lack of assurances on pensions. Picture: RMT
The RMT have said that it is proceeding with strike action on London Underground (LU) while blaming the Mayor of London for blocking progress in talks at ACAS.
The talks at the industrial arbitration service broke down this Wednesday (23 February) with the union saying that management were dragging their heels and that it had been left with the impression that staff are being used as pawns in a funding battle between TFL and the government.
The RMT did not get the reassurances on jobs, pensions and conditions that they wanted from Sadiq Khan and fear that TfL may bow to government pressure to make cost reductions in these areas.
A recent ballot of over ten thousand members across all grades of LU staff saw a 94% of members who participated in the ballot voting to strike vote in favour of a strike although TfL says less that 50% of RMT members have voted in favour.
All tube staff who are members of the RMT will not book on for shifts on Tuesday 1 March and Thursday 3 March. TfL is anticipating the possibility of no service on the tube on these days, This is likely to lead to some disruption on Wednesday and Friday as well particularly in the morning peak.
RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said, “Our members will be taking strike action next week because a financial crisis at LUL has been deliberately engineered by the Government to drive a cuts’ agenda which would savage jobs, services, safety and threaten their working conditions and pensions. The sheer scale of that threat was confirmed in talks yesterday.
“These are the very same transport staff praised as heroes for carrying London through COVID for nearly two years, often at serious personal risk, who now have no option but to strike to defend their livelihoods.
“The politicians need to wake up to the fact that transport staff will not pay the price for this cynically engineered crisis. In addition to the strike action RMT is coordinating a campaign of resistance with colleagues from other unions impacted by this threat.”
TfL categorically denies there are any proposals tabled to change pensions or working condition and says that no job losses are planned. There will be an independent review of its pension arrangements in response to government conditions for funding. Sir Brendan Barber, with the support of pensions expert Joanne Segars, is leading the review. TfL says Sir Brendan is committed to fully involving stakeholders throughout the review process, including all TfL’s recognised trade unions. The review remains ongoing and no recommendations have yet been made.
Andy Lord, TfL’s Chief Operating Officer, said, “It is extremely disappointing that the RMT is planning to go ahead with this action. We haven’t proposed any changes to pensions or terms and conditions, and nobody has or will lose their jobs because of the proposals we have set out. I hope the RMT will get around the table with us, continue talks and call off this disruptive action, which will cause huge frustration for our customers and further financial damage to TfL and London’s economy when we should be working together to rebuild following the pandemic.
“If the RMT does go ahead with this action, then anyone who needs to travel on 1 and 3 March should check before they make their journey, consider whether they are able to work from home and use alternative modes of transport where possible. I understand the frustration this proposed strike action will inevitably cause, and can assure customers that we are doing everything we can to mitigate the impacts. Making journeys will be more difficult if the RMT’s strike goes ahead, so I urge any customers to please be considerate towards each other and TfL staff.”
London’s bus services will continue to run throughout the planned strike action although are expected to be busier than normal, as will London Overground, DLR, TfL Rail and London Trams.
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February 24, 2022