Strikes by London Underground (LU) workers are to go ahead next week after talks failed to resolve a dispute over jobs, pensions and conditions.
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union will walk out next Tuesday and Thursday (March 1 and 3), threatening disruption to Tube services across the capital.
The RMT said during talks at conciliation service Acas that it set out a framework which could have enabled the union’s executive to consider a suspension of the action.
The union claimed LU “dragged their heels“ and blocked a route to progress.
During the talks, the RMT said LU confirmed its worst fears that “nothing is off the table” in terms of the threat to jobs, pensions, conditions and safety.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “Our members will be taking strike action next week because a financial crisis at LU has been deliberately engineered by the Government to drive a cuts agenda which would savage jobs, services, safety and threaten working conditions and pensions.
“The sheer scale of that threat was confirmed in talks.
“These are the very same transport staff praised as heroes for carrying London through Covid for nearly two years, often at serious personal risk, who now have no option but to strike to defend their livelihoods.
“The politicians need to wake up to the fact that transport staff will not pay the price for this cynically engineered crisis.
“In addition to the strike action RMT is co-ordinating a campaign of resistance with colleagues from other unions impacted by this threat.”
Acas said it remained in contact with the parties.
Andy Lord, Transport for London’s chief operating officer, said: “It is extremely disappointing that the RMT is planning to go ahead with this action. TfL haven’t proposed any changes to pensions or terms and conditions, and nobody has or will lose their jobs because of the proposals we have set out.
“I hope the RMT will get around the table with us, continue talks and call off this disruptive action, which will cause huge frustration for our customers and further financial damage to TfL and London’s economy when we should be working together to rebuild following the pandemic.
“If the RMT does go ahead with this action, then anyone who needs to travel on March 1 and 3 should check before they make their journey, consider whether they are able to work from home and use alternative modes of transport where possible.
“I understand the frustration this proposed strike action will inevitably cause, and can assure customers that we are doing everything we can to mitigate the impacts. Making journeys will be more difficult if the RMT’s strike goes ahead, so I urge any customers to please be considerate towards each other and TfL staff.”
Halfords is offering commuters the free use of an ebike for next week to help them travel during the strike.
Paul Tomlinson, cycling director at Halfords, said: “With much of central London now well-served by safe cycling lanes, there has never been a better time to try something different to the traditional day-to-day mode of transport.”