The RMT union has announced a tube strike for two dates at the beginning of next month in a dispute over jobs and pensions.

The RMT says that it will be taking strike action next month over “LU’s continuing refusal to give assurances on jobs, pensions and working conditions in the midst of an on-going financial crisis driven by central Government”

The RMT strike covers all staff who are members of the RMT, so that’s drivers and station staff, which could lead to stations being closed as well as lines having to operate with fewer trains.

The strike will last all day on Tuesday 1st March and Thursday 3rd March 2022. Although there won’t be a strike on the Wednesday, it’s likely that there will be some disruption in the early morning.

RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said: “Our members will be taking strike action next month because a financial crisis at LUL has been deliberately engineered by the Government to drive a cuts’ agenda which would savage jobs, services, safety and threaten their working conditions and pensions.”

Andy Lord, TfL’s Chief Operating Officer, said: “It is extremely disappointing that the RMT has today announced strike action, as no proposals have been tabled on pensions or terms and conditions, and nobody has or will lose their jobs as a result of the proposals we have set out. The devastating impact of the pandemic on TfL finances has made a programme of change urgently necessary and we need the RMT to work with us, rather than disrupting London’s recovery. We’re urging them to do the right thing for London, talk to us and call off this unnecessary action.”

TfL hasn’t announced any job cuts yet, by means of redundancies, but it is cutting by not replacing staff who leave.

TfL’s current proposal is to not recruit around 250 Customer Services vacancies that are currently unfilled, as well as placing controls on future recruitment, with the aim of reducing posts by a further 250-350 as people retire or move on from TfL. This would mean a gradual reduction of around 500-600 posts compared to pre-pandemic staffing levels – although the precise number is still to be agreed upon with staff and unions.

That would still leave around 4,500 staff across the London Underground.

The difficulty that TfL faces is that it is unable to offer the guarantees that the RMT is seeking until it knows what its funding settlement will be like, and to a degree, how soon travel will recover to a level that doesn’t require job cuts due to a lack of demand for the services. In addition, some of the changes the RMT objects to were imposed on TfL as a condition of the funding package, such as the pensions review, so it’s not possible for TfL to offer guarantees of the sort the RMT is seeking at the moment.

TfL’s current funding deal expires tonight, and TfL is still in discussions about what sort of funding package it will receive. Depending on how the new deal is worded, if there’s no wiggle room for TfL to offer the guarantees the union is demanding, there could be a summer of disruption on the tubes.

Although 94% of RMT members who responded to the ballot voted in favour of strike action (4,900), that was fewer than half of all RMT members on the London Underground (10,084).

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23 comments
  1. Brian Butterworth says:

    I’ll never get why the RMT hates us Londoners so much and why TfL hasn’t’ got the backbone to tell them where to get off (Mornington Crescent).

    • AZ says:

      People like u who pass comments without knowing the whole truth are just so ignorant. Did u also know that while TFL complains about not having money to run London underground and talks about cutting down pensions amd projects have decided to give top Bosses 12(yes TWELVE) Million pounds as bonuses for their exemplary work during covid(Working from home), while frontline station staff and drivers were working putting their health and life at risk,and now these bosses and Government wants to cut our pensions. RMT’s strike are against such policies. Our beliefs are that every person no matter what profession they are in should get the deserved benefits, whether it be a Doctor, nurse, police, solidier or for that matter any frontline staff who puts their health and safety at risk to run this country. Fortunately we have RMT and the rest dont have a proper and strong union.

    • ianVisits says:

      Please keep the debate civil and don’t start by calling people ignorant. Thanks

    • Jude says:

      Unions are a necessary part of a railway. If TfL ‘told the RMT where to get off’ they’d be in a lot of trouble.

      To AZ, TfL’s £12 million bonus for execs is reliant on them not jumping ship and TfL becoming self sufficient. It’s an incentive to stop knowledge drain at a crucial point. That doesn’t mean the treatment of frontline workers isn’t bad though, however; managers bailing right now would put TfL on bad footing in their negotiations with the government and even worse afterwards.

  2. Bob says:

    The RMT really are a bunch of thick-sculled morons. The Tory government WANT them to strike and cause more disruption. This will feed into their narrative of Kahn failing London and justify even more cuts. How do these thunder-goons not realise that?

    • Ricky says:

      It starts to make sense if you remember that the RMT hates Sadiq Khan even more than they hate Tories.

  3. Aled says:

    Frankly, I read this and realised that TFL’s bargaining position is basically out of the Donald Trump playbook.

    Go in shouting and demanding. Refuse to negotiate.

    In this case, the union is ignoring reality. A 50% reduction in income must be allied with a moderate reduction in staff or costs. It would be one thing if the affected staff were impoverished or vulnerable, but frankly they earn nearly triple the average wage and have benefits I am jealous of. When in practice, you can train to be a TFL driver in 3 months and get paid more than twice as much as a JUNIOR DOCTOR (!!!!) who trained for 7 years.

  4. Chris says:

    £95,000 a year the drivers are getting. Nice gig if you know the right person.
    TFL are not firing anyone. Just not replacing those who leave.
    The unions are a cancer and need excising.

  5. Chris says:

    The sooner the tube network is fully ATO, the sooner the RMT can be shut down.

    • ianVisits says:

      Even if you were to spend the billions it would cost to switch to say the DLR grade of automatic operation, you still have staff on the trains, who can still go on strike.

      Automatic train operation improves efficiency, it doesn’t reduce strikes.

    • Aoife says:

      Not only are the RMT leadership thoroughly vile and their followers cowardly selfish imbeciles, they are also hypocritical and dangerous, bleating on about safety and then creating calamitous overcrowding through their strike action, leading directly to more infection and increased risk of falling onto tracks.
      And causing hardship to the public trying to earn a living and enjoy life, while tube drivers take home pay packets most can only dream of.

    • Charles says:

      If only! How much are the drivers on average getting? I am sure still well above an average wage. As an architect I do not get as much as the figures suggested! It does not seem the most complicated of jobs!

  6. Terence Henry Understick says:

    The race to the bottom. My ‘incorrect’ replies refer to some info in the comments, and I confess a COI as I work for TfL. The industrial action is, I think, hasty and jumping the gun because nothing detrimental has happened yet, however, not filling 600 vacancies will put pressure on existing staff leading to potential safety issues and reduced customer service.

    The pension, which is one of the few benefits in what can be a tough, challenging job, is usually one of the reasons people join: the staff don’t benefit from it until after years, perhaps decades, of what can be dangerous, unpleasant and stressful work. Granted, there is only an imposed review taking place, however, it’s quite true from what I’ve been told that every so often TfL have been trying to get their claws in it.

    The suspicion is that the review is a precursor to changing it to make it inaccessible to new staff, therefore it would have a lesser value over a short period of time, leading it to becoming expensive to maintain: currently it is 98% funded by its members.

    Personally, I don’t want to make things more difficult for people who want and need to use the network. Withdrawal of labour is the only thing workers have to use when negotiations fail, and by its very nature it has to have an impact, otherwise it’s a case of ‘go away and protest where no-one can see or hear you’…as I said, the action is hasty but as a worker I support it because of the general principle.

    On a final note, the system and staff are too often abused and taken for granted. In a previous career I would ask my students who worked in offices to think what would happen if the lowly, ignored cleaners didn’t do their job for a day. Or two days. Or three. You’d soon notice.

    Nobody wants disputes, but lines have to be drawn. Ideally, a mutually satisfactory resolution is reached before long. Thanks for reading.

  7. Abadmanson says:

    Well let’s say the benefit that the Underground staff have are due because of the Union. As much people criticism towards it, maybe they be in better position with their own organisation, if they had an union.
    People joined the job as for their benefits. If it was that easy to become a train drivers as some call it and easy money, well why don’t they join as a driver and let see if they still have the same attitude.

  8. Mike says:

    Only one comment by the publisher of this report with regards to the verbal abuse meeted out and yet there are many abusive comments towards the union and staff by people who simply have no understanding of the job,as said above if you are one of those people who feel you deserve the same terms and conditions why have you never applied to be a tube driver? Its a simple question that none of those who simply choose to rude and abusive always refuse to answer.

    • ianVisits says:

      I am asking people not to resort to insults about fellow commentators on this website – that’s pretty obvious, but sometimes the obvious needs spelling out.

  9. Mike says:

    Tube drivers do not earn £90k a year.FACT.

  10. Down Mitcham says:

    The pandemic and the move to working from home has shown that office workers do not need to commute into London on a regular basis anymore which in turn has now reduced the power of the RMT to cause disruption. The bottom line is that private industry and the self employed have been hit badly by the pandemic with major job losses where industries like the railways have been subsidised and there have been no big job losses in the main. Sadly the striking workforce will get nowhere and both the RMT tube weekend strikes and any further RMT daytime action will be put up with by TFL management until it fizzled out probably by the late summer. Just Remember the RMT guards strikes on South Western Railway lasted for two years and in the end the RMT were defeated by SWR. The workforce lost a huge amount in wages and they had to accept change.

  11. LMonroe says:

    With WFH proving its worth, tube traffic far below its peak, and TfL having to beg the DfT for scraps, the unions have almost no negotiating power – and consequently they and their members are quite rationally bricking it.

    Their bloated pay, pensions, rotas and conditions will be salami sliced to shreds, and no amount of striking or working to rule will save them. Their dinosaur practices are heading the way of the dodo, and London will all be the better for it.

    When Sadiq Khan goes to the DfT, begging bowl in hand, to ask, “Please sir, can I have some more?”, he will quite rightly be told to cut staff costs first. Whilst his instinct is of course to take the easy way out and reduce staff numbers, soon he will have no recourse but to cut what the unions really care about: pay, pensions and conditions.

    If I were the Department of Transport, I would first insist on breaking the closed shop. It is widely known that only TfL staff can apply for certain jobs. And ridiculously, the RMT are responsible for aspects of driver training! With open competition for these jobs, we can get rid of the attitude of surly station staff who stand around chatting to themselves in a gaggle, ignoring any semblance of helping the farepayers who put bread on their table.

    Squeal, RMT. Squeal hard. Your time holding us to ransom is over. If you strike, I’ll just log in from home. You won’t be able to inconvenience me at all any more.

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