London tube workers are set to walk out at the start of January for a week-long strike after a dispute between union members and Transport for London over pay.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport Union posted an update about the strike on their website in December which was confirmed in a statement released by the union’s leader Mike Lynch.
When will the Tube strike be?
Union members will walk out from January 5 at 6pm until January 12 with different workers striking on different days so that all workers will not be walking out on the same day but still creating disruption to the London Underground for a sustained period of time.
Here’s a rundown of the strike action:
- January 5-6 – Engineering and maintenance will be walking out first on January 5 until 5:59pm on January 6 and will not be taking any no rest-day working or overtime until 12 January.
- January 7 – tube services will end earlier than normal when the London Underground Control Centre and Power/Control members will strike. Customers have been advised by TfL to complete their tube journeys by 5:30pm.
- January 8 – there will be a full RMT London Underground staff strike with little to no service expected across the whole network until January 12.
- January 9 – Signallers and Service Controller members will be striking.
- January 10 – there will be a full RMT London Underground staff strike.
- January 11- Signallers and Service Controller members will be striking.
- January 12 – tube services will start later than usual and resume back to normal service at midday.
Whilst the Elizabeth Line, London Overground, DLR, and London Trams are scheduled to operate as normal, the strikes and station closures may affect these services and are likely to be busier than usual.
What was the dispute?
The five per cent pay rise offered by TfL was overwhelmingly rejected by union members and on Tuesday (December 19) a ballot revealed that the union voted 90.5 per cent in favour of taking strike action. Out of the 9723 that were entitled to vote, 5334 did and 4827 members voted to strike with 505 voting no.
A meeting on Wednesday (December 20) was held between the union chiefs in order to decide when strike action should be taken.
What has RMT said?
Mike Lynch, general secretary of RMT, said to RMT’s members, “On Friday last week, before the ballot had even closed, LUL advised us that it was ignoring any of your wishes and that the pay offer would be imposed in January.
“This has understandably been met with a furious response from you and your colleagues and your Reps have reported overwhelming support for a significant and immediate response. I urge you to support the strike action to demand an improved offer that addresses the inflation of pay bands and protects the lower paid grades.”
Addressing TfL in a statement on Friday, Lynch said, “The refusal of TfL to restore staff travel facilities and create a two-tier workforce is also unacceptable. Our members have made it clear that they are prepared to take action and we urge TfL to improve their offer to avert disruption in the capital.”
What has been TfL’s response?
A TfL spokesperson said: “We are disappointed that RMT has announced strike action based on our full and final pay offer. We have been clear throughout our productive discussions with our trade unions that this offer is the most we can afford whilst ensuring that we can operate safely, reliably and sustainably. We encourage the RMT to engage with us to avoid disruption for Londoners at the start of next year.”
In October, RMT called off two planned weekday tube strikes after progress was made during discussions.
Transport Secretary Mark Harper has called on Mayor Sadiq Khan to use ‘minimum service levels’ legislation in an effort to reduce the impact of the tube strikes. However, the mayor has said that introducing the law would be “a slap in the face to our heroic transport workers, nurses, ambulance workers, junior doctors, teachers, firefighters and others” in an answer to Conservative party politician Keith Prince. During Thursday’s Mayor’s Question Time, the mayor further pointed out “isn’t fit for purpose for TfL in relation to safety requirements” on the Tube.