Tube strike to take place on 15 March after Aslef members voted in favour of industrial action
London will grind to a halt on 15 March after tube workers voted in favour of strike action, as Sadiq Khan warned there are “no proposed changes to pensions”, at the heart of the dispute.
Train drivers who are member of the uion Aslef voted to down tools for 24 hours next month with 99 per cent of a 77 per cent turnout backing the action.
Drivers are in a dispute with the government over working arrangements and pensions.
As well as drivers, Aslef union members working on test trains and engineering also backed the action.
Nick Dent, Director of Customer Operations at TfL, said: “We have not proposed changes to anyone’s pensions, and instead have been working with our trade unions to see how we can make London Underground a fairer and more sustainable place.
“We want to make London Underground a better place to work so we urge ASLEF to call off this damaging strike and continue working with us.”
A spokesperson for the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “The Mayor made it repeatedly clear to Government that the inclusion of a review into pension reform in subsequent TfL funding deals was unwelcome and had the potential to cause industrial action.
“Nobody wants to see strike action or disruption for Londoners.”
He added however “there are currently no proposed changes to pensions.”
Finn Brennan, Aslef’s full-time organiser on the Underground, said: “The size of these “Yes” votes, and the large turnouts, show that our members are not prepared to put up any longer with the threats to their working conditions and pensions. We understand that TfL faces financial challenges, post-pandemic, but our members are simply not prepared to pay the price for the government’s failure to properly fund London’s public transport system.
“Cuts to safety training have already been forced through and management is open that they plan to remove all current working agreements under the guise of “modernisation” and “flexibility” and to replace the agreed attendance and discipline policies. Proposals to slash pension benefits are due to be announced in the next week.
“We are always prepared to discuss and negotiate on changes, but our members want an unequivocal commitment from TfL that management will not continue to force through detrimental changes without agreement.
“Unless they are prepared to work with us, and accept that changes have to come by agreement, and bring real benefits to staff, rather than just cuts and cost savings, this will be only the first day of action in a protracted dispute.”
This comes as many hospitality industry bodies, including pub and restaurant organisations, have warned about the economic toll of strikes on their business.
Following the announcement, UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said it “reaffirms our fear that a resolution to this dispute is looking further and further away.
“Ongoing strike action has already cost hospitality £2.5 billion in lost sales and will continue to inflict pain upon a sector already struggling with enormous cost challenges.”
“As we approach the valuable Easter season and head towards the summer, it’s essential that all sides continue negotiations as a matter of urgency and reach a resolution that avoids even more disruption that impacts workers, consumers and businesses.”