Tuesday 28 September 2021 10:51 am

Consultancy ads for driverless Tube trains prompt unions to issue strike threat

A range of adverts for a consultancy contract to explore the introduction of driverless trains on London Underground has prompted a leading rail workers union to raise the threat of industrial action.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport union said the move was part of Government-driven spending cuts on the Tube.

General secretary Mick Lynch said this morning: “The news that the Government is pressing ahead with wasting money on a consultancy project on driverless trains on London Underground when there are massive challenges facing the transport network shows their twisted set of priorities.”

“This is all part of the Government-driven cuts assault on transport in London and RMT is pledged to fight it with every tool at our disposal including the use of industrial action,” he added.

“They are dangerous nonsense and just another dead cat lobbed on the table to distract from what’s going on in the real world.”

Mick Lynch

Response from the government

A Department for Transport spokesman said: “The £1.08bn financial package agreed with Transport for London in June ensures we can support the capital’s transport network through the pandemic, and that it is modernised to meet the needs of Londoners for the future.

“As part of the package, the Mayor was asked to work with Government to implement higher levels of automatic train operation on the London Underground, as is the case on many metro systems worldwide. This appointment forms part of that agreement.”

A spokesman for Mayor of London Sadiq Khan said: “It’s disappointing that the Government is doggedly pursuing the introduction of driverless trains despite TfL estimating that a full conversion across the network would cost £10bn.”

“Sadiq is clear that this money would be much better spent on properly funding vital TfL services and on new signalling on the Piccadilly line, replacing aging trains on the Bakerloo and Central lines and electrifying our bus fleet.”