Transport for London (TfL) has warned of “severe disruption” beginning tomorrow, as 4,000 Tube staff walk out and commercial leaders warn of “damaging” impacts to London’s recovery.
Tube services are expected to be crippled well into Tuesday morning, TfL has cautioned, amid planned industrial action from the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT).
Many stations – particularly those in the centre – will be closed off to the public and the few that will be open, could be shuttered with little notice depending on how many staff are available to keep stations open safely.
“The tube strike is a major blow to the capital and with so many visitors still in the city after the incredible Jubilee celebrations, this not the way to start the summer’s tourist season,” London First managing director of policy, Muniya Barua told City A.M. today.
“Further talks must start now to avoid this happening again, as smooth-running tubes are a critical part of keeping the capital’s recovery on track.”
Other transport options, such as buses, rail, DLR, London Overground and Tram services are anticipated to be busier than usual, which has left TfL advising commuters to avoid travelling on Monday “unless necessary”.
Andy Lord, TfL’s chief operating officer, called the industrial action “damaging” to London and the UK’s wider economy at a time when “public transport is playing a crucial role in the capital’s recovery.”
While Richard Burge, chief executive of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: “The last two years hit London disproportionately hard and the capital is desperately trying to claw back some sense of normality after a tumultuous two years.
“Ultimately, this will only harm London’s economy and it is time for TfL to sort out their dispute with the RMT so we can get back to building prosperity and showing the world that London is open business.”
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan further warned that the “extremely frustrating” strike will have “a serious impact on London’s businesses and commuters.”
“TfL hasn’t proposed any changes to pensions, and nobody has or will lose their jobs because of the proposals TfL has set out,” he added.
Unionised tube workers had demanded urgent talks the Mayor last week, in a bid to put a stop to alleged job cuts, as well as the threat of industrial action.
Under current proposals to remedy TfL’s so-called funding ‘black hole’, which it amassed over the course of the pandemic, the transport network is not looking to recruit into around 500 to 600 jobs as and when they become vacant.
It forms part of a previous funding agreement with the Government to achieve financial sustainability across TfL operations by April next year.
In a statement last week, RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “There’s no point in our union continuing to sit opposite management representatives who have neither the inclination nor the authority to negotiate a settlement, when the power lies with the Mayor.
“Mayor Khan must choose either the take on the Tory government and demand a just funding deal for Londoners or attack loyal tube workers who keep the capital moving day in day out.”