Transport secretary Grant Shapps expressed today its frustration at the today’s Tube strike, which has created havoc across the whole of London.
Shapps urged London mayor Sadiq Khan and Transport for London (TfL) to resolve the dispute with the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) as soon as possible, while calling on the union to “call off Thursday’s counterproductive strike.”
“Having funded TfL to the tune of £5bn to protect jobs and London’s transport system through Covid, it’s a kick in the teeth for Londoners to suffer from RMT’s strikes,” he tweeted.
More than 10,000 TfL members have decided to take industrial action over jobs, pensions and conditions, picketing at key locations around the capital.
According to the union, under the current plans London Underground will cut 600 frontline jobs in addition to scrapping the final salary pension scheme. The RMT today called on Khan to “make good on his promises” and sustain striking staff.
“The mayor knows the plan to attack our members’ pensions and conditions is wrong and would leave our union no choice but to take industrial action,” said RMT’s general secretary Mick Lynch. “This dispute can be solved if the mayor meets the reasonable demands of his own workforce.”
Strike-induced disruption is expected to hinder London also on Wednesday and Friday, in addition to Thursday’s closure of all tube stations.
TfL warned yesterday commuters asking to plan ahead of today and Thursday’s industrial action or work from home if possible, City A.M. reported.
“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, so this action is completely unnecessary.” said yesterday TfL’s chief operating officer Andy Lord.
“We know our customers deserve better than this and that is why we’re urging the RMT to talk to us so we can find a resolution to this dispute and call off this action, which is threatening London’s recovery from the pandemic.”
The strike comes as the government agreed to extend TfL’s funding deal to 24 June and provide the public body with an additional £200m, City A.M. reported.