Nearly three quarters of London businesses believe that trade unions should maintain a minimum level of service on the Tube during strikes.
A poll of more than 500 business leaders in the capital, conducted by ComRes and the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), showed 67 per cent thought strikes should be conditional on a judge agreeing that it is reasonable and appropriate.
The research follows a year of disruption for capital travellers on the London Underground and Southern Rail lines.
LCCI policy director Sean McKee said that the strikes were having a “detrimental impact on the city’s economy on a day-to-day basis” and was damaging its international business reputation.
“Of course Underground workers should have the right to strike but with rights come responsibilities,” McKee said. “If the London Underground was classed as an essential service, a minimum service would have to be provided by London Underground workers, like current rules around the fire service.”
Tube workers at the London Bridge and Waterloo stations are next planning to strike for 24 hours at 22:00 on 7 May after an employee was sacked and two others were given 52-week final warnings following an incident with a fare-dodger at London Bridge station.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said that it was “one of the most appalling abuses of the London Underground disciplinary procedure that RMT has ever come across”. Union members have also threatened to stop confronting fare dodgers following the sacking.
Phil O’Hare, general manager of the Jubilee line, said that its decision to sack the worker was upheld after reviewing CCTV footage.
London Underground Night Tube workers have, however, vote against striking on 29 April over complaints that they weren’t allowed to apply for full-time jobs and didn’t qualify for overtime.