A strike by subway drivers and station staff will close the station London underground on Wednesday, causing massive disruptions in the capital.
Trains will continue to run as normal on the Elizabeth line and London Underground, but Transportation for London has warned that these services, as well as buses, will be significantly busier and may experience some disruptions and delays.
Members of Aslef and the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers’ Union (RMT) to hit in 24 hours on Budget Day in a dispute over pensions and planned changes to the Metro network’s staffing schedule.
TfL said there were no plans to cut pensions, but it had agreed to a review as part of an emergency funding settlement with central government to stem losses from the pandemic. Offers are expected later this week.
The Aslef drivers strike this is the first underground-wide union action since 2015.
Finn Brennan, Aslef organizer in the metro, said: “This is not a strike over pay or more holiday. It is about making changes and “modernization” happen by agreement.
“Central government has used the fallout from the pandemic to insist that TfL focus on staff pensions and working conditions. The government wants London Underground staff to fill the hole he made in TfL’s budget by agreeing to huge cuts to their pensions and changes to working conditions that will destroy [their] work-life balance and reduce your retirement income.’
Around 10,000 RMT members will also strike in London for a seventh time from March 2022.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch has called on London Mayor Sadiq Khan to reverse the pension review and stop the job cuts, which are expected to cut 600 staff at the station.
In a letter to Khan on Tuesday, Lynch said: “These disputes are the result of a failed funding model for London’s transport system. TfL’s need for emergency funding from the government has led to a dependency on deals with a malicious administration in order to reduce the living standards of transporters.’
He said the mayor should “change course and join the RMT in campaigning for the funding TfL needs to keep the jobs, pensions and conditions of its workforce and the services it provides to people travelling”.
Khan said the strikes were “bad news for many metropolitan businesses struggling with inflation and the cost of doing business crisis”.
“It’s no secret that the London Underground protests are driven by the conditions the government has attached to the funding agreement … TfL have done everything in their power to avoid strikes taking place on the Underground and will continue to work with their unions, to avoid further action.”
Glyn Barton, TfL’s chief operating officer, said: “I apologize to our customers for any disruption caused by industrial action on Wednesday. I call on the unions to call off this action and continue to engage with us to avoid disruption to our customers.”
TfL warned that disruption to the Tube network would continue into the following morning. Some other London-bound trains, including outer sections of the Elizabeth line, will also be severely disrupted on Thursday due to strike action by RMT members at most of the major national rail operators.