Tube workers to strike over jobs, pensions and working conditions | Industrial action

Tube workers are going on strike for two days next month over fears over jobs, pensions and working conditions, threatening widespread disruption across London.

The RMT union announced that its members in the metro would leave on March 1 and 3.

The union said it had no guarantees as Transport for London continues to look for ways to balance its finances after passenger numbers and revenues fell sharply during the pandemic, and the central government refused to confirm emergency funding will continue.

A vote of more than 10,000 members resulted in 94% backing the industrial action, although TfL said only around 50% of staff had voted.

Mick Lynch, the general secretary of RMT, said: “Our members will strike next month because the government has deliberately engineered a financial crisis on the London Underground (LUL) to push through an agenda of cuts, which would destroy jobs, services, safety and threaten their working conditions and pensions.

“These are the same transport staff lauded as heroes for carrying London through Covid for almost two years. Staff will not pay the price for this cynically engineered crisis.”

TfL said it would be open to talks and urged the RMT to “do the right thing for London and cancel this unnecessary action”.

Andy Lord said the strike call was “extremely disappointing”. TfL’s chief operating officer said no proposals on pensions or terms and conditions had been tabled, and no one would lose their job.

He said: “The devastating impact of the pandemic on TfL’s finances has made a program of change urgently needed and we need the RMT to work with us, rather than disrupt London’s recovery.”

TfL has commissioned an independent review of staff pension arrangements, as a condition for funding released by the central government last year. It has also said that it will not fill around 250 vacant customer service positions or replace around 250-350 more when staff leave or retire, which will reduce the overall numbers by about 10%-12%.

Meanwhile, the TSSA union said it would act if Network Rail tried to forcefully lay off staff at the national rail. Network Rail plans to cut more than 900 additional jobs, which the union says were “predominantly professional and technical staff who ensure the safe operation of our railways.”

Manuel Cortés, the leader of TSSA, said: “Conservative cuts are sweeping through our rail industry. Your so-called leveling is a fallacy. Unfortunately, the message to passengers is that they are paying more for less.”

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