As millions of rail travelers experienced interruption for a fourth straight day today as a result of the nationwide rail strikes, London Underground workers threatened to strike once more in a dispute over jobs, wages, pensions, and conditions.
In recent weeks, members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union have gone on strike on the Tube, including Tuesday’s 24-hour walkout.
The RMT strike against Network Rail and 13 train operators throughout the UK, which took place separately on Tuesday and yesterday, was added to this. A further walkout is scheduled for tomorrow.
The RMT reported a “decisive” result in favor after being required by law to reballot its members on the Underground. On a 53.1 percent turnout, more than 90% of voters supported industrial action.
Although no fresh strike dates have been set, the union executive will decide on them in due course, raising the potential of service disruption over the summer due to escalating disagreements throughout the industry.
The Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA), another union, has given notice to poll its members at Greater Anglia for strike action and non-strike related action on salary, conditions, and job security. Today also:
Following the second strike day yesterday, only 60% of the 20,000 regular weekday services were offered today. Leaders of more than 100 international transport unions urge Grant Shapps to meet with unions to resolve the conflict.
British Airways employees based at London Heathrow Airport have now voted to strike in a pay dispute. Britons traveling abroad again today faced lengthy lines at UK airports like Heathrow and Manchester. Today’s morning rush hour traffic congestion on London’s roads was at its lowest level of the week.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said the union will “take a pause next week and review everything,” and that if managers connected to the TSSA went on strike, it may cause additional workers to join the conflict.
After four walkouts in the last three months, there were dim hopes today that more Tube strikes could be avoided when Sadiq Khan appeared to accept the union’s requests not to reduce pensions.
The London Mayor stated that he was “not persuaded” that the benefits of Transport for London’s “final pay” pension plan, which cost the operator £401 million in contributions last year, should be changed.
Along with pay increases and the elimination of 600 station personnel positions, the pensions problem is of great concern to the RMT. The union has previously staged Tube strikes on March 1 and 3, June 6, and this past Tuesday.
“I’m absolutely sure that changing their terms and conditions unilaterally is not the way to recognize the hard work of our transport workers—the many thousands who have kept our city functioning.
Keith Prince, a Conservative member of the London Assembly, however, stated that it would be shameful if Sadiq Khan chose to reduce bus lines and other TfL services rather than saving £182 million annually by changing TfL pensions.
It comes after TfL’s current Government Covid bailout was extended for three weeks, despite the fact that Transport Secretary Grant Shapps indicated he wanted a “reset of the relationship” with City Hall, which is in chaos.
Regarding the likelihood of future Tube strikes and the most recent vote, Mr. Lynch said: “This is a fantastic result for our members and proves that the arguments RMT has been making is backed by Tube employees.”
“Transport for London (TfL) and the Mayor of London need to radically re-evaluate their plans for hundreds of job cutbacks and seeking to remove hard-earned pensions from workers who serve the people of London on a daily basis.” We are well aware of the funding reductions the Westminster government is imposing on TfL.
To obtain the capital city the funds it deserves for its public transportation, Mayor Sadiq Khan must launch a genuine effort on behalf of the people of London. He shouldn’t be attempting to compromise the salaries and pensions of our members in order to adhere to the budgetary constraints set by (Prime Minister) Boris Johnson.
The RMT has obtained a mandate for additional strike action, however Andy Lord, the chief operating officer of TfL, expressed disappointment. We must become more effective due to the pandemic and its effects on TfL’s financial situation.
“Over the past year, we have worked with trade unions and personnel to build measures to adapt to these problems in order to continue serving London and helping our staff.
According to our plans, any decrease in employment will be accomplished through vacancy management, in accordance with our no compulsory redundancy agreement.
“There are no proposals to reduce pensions or terms and conditions. The RMT is being urged to continue collaborating with us.
The TSSA, which is located in London like the RMT, is requesting a guarantee that no mandatory layoffs would occur in 2022, as well as an increase in salary that takes into account the rising cost of living.
The earliest a strike might begin is July 27, as voting begins on June 29 and the results are expected in mid-July.
Along with Network Rail, CrossCountry, East Midlands Railway, West Midlands Trains, Avanti West Coast, Northern, LNER, C2C, Great Western Railway (GWR), and TransPennine Express, the TSSA is also conducting votes among its members.
Yesterday, the nationwide RMT strike and a 24-hour walkout by drivers’ union Aslef members both caused delays for Greater Anglia services.
In London, between 8 and 10 on Tuesday morning, there was 98 percent congestion, the highest level this week.
Since the RMT strike on March 1, when the amount of congestion reached an all-time high of 119%, this was the capital’s worst congestion.
Additionally, it implies that fewer people have been using the city’s roads this week compared to the week of the March strike.
Mr. Lynch said of the nationwide strikes that have caused chaos this week: “Our members are leading the way in standing up for all working people wanting to get a salary raise and some job security.
‘In a modern economy, workers need to be properly rewarded for their work, enjoy good conditions and have the peace of mind that their job will not be taken away from them.
‘Grant Shapps (Transport Secretary) needs to get in the room or get out of the way so we can negotiate with these companies who we have successfully struck dozens of deals with previously.
‘What we cannot accept is thousands of railway workers being thrown on the scrapheap after being praised as heroes during Covid. RMT will continue its industrial campaign until a negotiated settlement is reached.’
Talks have been held throughout the week and will continue in the coming days, but there is little sign of a breakthrough.
Tomorrow’s services will be a similar picture to the other strike days on Tuesday and yesterday. Around 20 per cent of services will run and just half of lines will be open, and only between 7.30am and 6.30pm.
Speaking on the BBC’s Question Time, Mr Lynch said: ‘The companies have told me face to face they could achieve a guarantee of no compulsory redundancies’, but added they ‘are not being allowed to’.
‘They won’t write it down on a piece of paper and give it to us as a commitment,’ he said, to which Conservative MP Rachel Maclean replied: ‘No organisation can give that guarantee.’
The strikes, according to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, are a “bad idea,” and there is “no use” in maintaining railroads that are “so uneconomic” that ticket costs are out of reach for most customers.
He also defended delivering real-term pay cuts to public sector employees while raising pensions in pace with skyrocketing inflation.
He said: “We’ve got to make the trains run profitably for the very benefit of the railway workers themselves and their families.” while addressing reporters who were traveling with him in Rwanda.
There is no use in having a railway system in this nation that is so unprofitable that you have to continually raising ticket costs and displacing more and more passengers.
‘You can’t continue with methods like walking distances and ticket booths with low ticket sales. Modernization is required.
According to Downing Street, the legislative instruments that would alter the law to let companies to use skilled agency workers to fill staffing gaps during strike action will be introduced on Friday and Monday.