A London Underground strike will halt virtually all tube services and slow down much of the capital on Thursday, in the ongoing dispute over jobs and pensions.
Some London Overground and Docklands Light Railway services could also be affected by the 24-hour walkout by RMT (Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers) union members, while buses are expected to be extremely busy and roads congested. Elizabeth Line trains will run as normal.
Around 10,000 RMT members working on the London Underground and Arriva Rail (London Overground) will be on strike. Disruptions will continue through Friday morning rush hour as staff return to work.
Transport for London (TfL) plans to cut the number of station workers it employs and has agreed to consult ‘develop options’ to reduce its pension obligations, as part of its central government funding deal . TfL has pledged no jobs will be made redundant as part of its cost-cutting plans, which will cut staff by around 600 people, and said no proposals to cut pensions had been made filed.
The union accused TfL of rejecting a last-ditch offer to call off the strike, if the transport authority agreed to suspend plans and pledge to protect workers’ pensions. RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said TfL had “missed a golden opportunity”, adding: “TfL need to start compromising and working with the union to reach a deal that works for staff and avoids further disrupt the lives of passengers.”
Glynn Barton, TfL’s chief operating officer, apologized to passengers. He said TfL had met with the RMT to urge them to call off ube’s strike, adding: “Unfortunately no agreement could be reached but we remain open to discussions as there is still time for unions to call off. this action.”
The metro strike comes after three 24-hour national railway strikes scheduled for this week were called off last Friday.
Some passengers on intercity trains will still face disruption on Wednesday, despite the advisory. Avanti West Coast, which operates fast trains on the line linking London, Birmingham, Manchester and Glasgow, said it hoped eventually to operate more services throughout the day and later in the evening, but on Tuesday it announced still its published strike day schedule. . Fewer trains were expected to run, starting later and finishing by mid-afternoon.
The suspension of nationwide railway strikes this week raised hopes of a breakthrough, with intensive talks resumed between Network Rail and the RMT – along with unions TSSA and Unite, who also called off the industrial action planned, but have fewer railway personnel and less power to stop trains.
Network Rail said no new pay offers were on the table, beyond its 8% rise over two years with a £500 bonus for the lowest paid and a 75% cut on travel unlimited trains – but it extended the period during which it does not guarantee compulsory layoffs until the end of January 2025. It also suspended consultation on the introduction of new working practices, which was continuing without a union agreement.
The RMT is voting members for a new six-month strike term, with the result expected next week. Financial support for the struggling railway could also be pressed by the government in Jeremy Hunt’s autumn statement on November 17, which could prompt all parties to reach an agreement sooner.
Formal talks between rail operating companies and unions are expected to follow any Network Rail deal.
The national executive committee of Aslef, the train drivers’ union, met yesterday but did not call for further strike action. He announced an overtime ban on LNER – a move that could impact main east coast intercity services, including trains between London, York, Newcastle and Edinburgh.
Most rail operators rely to some extent on rest day work, which remains voluntary. However, the ban is unlikely to see LNER experience the level of cancellations that have plagued the west coast of Avanti, which has been unable to persuade drivers to work overtime on the parallel mainline .
Mick Whelan, general secretary of Aslef, said LNER was “not respecting our working agreements”, adding: “It is clear to us that the company is working overtime and prefers to offer a full service rather than hire enough drivers. »
Whelan said the union remains open to talks.