TRADE UNIONS have downplayed the threat of potential strike action on the day of the royal wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton.
Threats to ruin celebrations on 29 April incensed the city, after fears unions could bring London to a grinding halt, as millions the world over turn their focus on the capital for the royal wedding.
Mayor of London Boris Johnson hit out, calling for the public to bombard Tube drivers’ union Aslef’s website to protest against any strike action.
He wrote on Twitter: “Can’t have a strike ruining the royal wedding. Please tell ASLEF what you think. Bombard their website now!”
Aslef had suggested it could walk out on the royal day in a row over pay, though yesterday said the issue of a strike on 29 April had not been discussed.
General secretary Keith Norman said details for any potential strike action over the coming months were “very premature to say the least”.
The RMT union, headed by Bob Crow, which also represents tube workers, currently has a mandate from its members to strike over job cuts, though a source said no discussions were currently underway to strike on the royal wedding day.
The chief of Britain’s biggest union Unite, Len McCluskey, yesterday defended the use of strike action as a workers “right”.
However, he told the Today programme there was “no likelihood” of a BA strike on the royal wedding day.
Yet transport secretary Philip Hammond hit out at unions for attempting to drag Britain “back to the 1970s”.
He called on Labour leader Ed Miliband to condemn any strike action over public events, such as the royal wedding or the 2012 Olympics, saying he needed to “show some leadership and call off his union paymasters.”
He said: “These events of national celebration should be off limits to damaging political strikes. If Ed Miliband can’t deliver that, then many people will question whether he is fit to be the leader of the national opposition party.”
London Underground yesterday defended the pay of tube drivers and accused unions of demanding more money after “tearing up” long-standing agreements that cover pay and annual leave.