London commuters hit by subway strike, trade unions target budget day for action

Millions of London commuters have been affected by tube strikes called by two major trade unions, ASLEF and the Union of Railways, Shipping and Transport (RMT).

The strike coincided with industrial action by up to 500,000 junior doctors, teachers, civil servants, lecturers, BBC journalists and Amazon employees.

ASLEF and RMT are fighting with Transport for London (TfL) over job cuts, pensions and conditions.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch wrote a letter to London Mayor Sadiq Khan protesting a new roster that would cut 600 jobs at a metro station in the capital.

Lynch said in the letter: Now so understaffed, it appears the manager is abusing the waiver to override the agreed minimum safe staffing levels at the metro station. “

“This means that stations are opening with very few or, in some cases, no staff. , the administration is proceeding with the use of the new roster,” he added.

ASLEF’s Finn Brennan said the government had failed to adequately fund public transport in the capital and blamed the government for the subway strike.

More Strikes ‘Inevitable’

Brennan said further attacks were “inevitable” unless a solution was found.

In a column on the ASLEF website, General Secretary Mick Whelan said: The Minister of Railways told the Transport Select Committee that the rail strike had cost him £1 billion (he believes the actual number is much higher and looks forward to an appeal being filed). ).

“This could have been resolved, but for this government it’s political, not industrial,” Whelan added.

TfL Chief Operating Officer Glynn Barton said:

According to the TfL website, all lines of the London Underground were shut down due to the strike, with only the new Elizabeth Line, the DLR and the London Overground providing service.

“We should expect some disruption to the subway network through Thursday morning,” Burton said.

Hundreds of pickets are being set up across the country as some union members take action and anger continues over issues such as wages, jobs, pensions and conditions.

In a statement Wednesday, Lynch said: This demonstrates our determination to reach a negotiated solution to this long-running dispute. “

Epoch Times photo
Athlef union members picket outside a London Underground station in Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire, 15 March 2023. (PA)

he said: We will continue our industrial campaigns as long as necessary. “

Khan’s spokesman said city ​​morning“TfL is doing everything in its power to prevent a strike from progressing on Tube and will continue to work with unions to avoid further action.”

He added: We take safety concerns very seriously and the mayor is working with his TfL to understand his RMT claims. “

Opposition Labor Party leader Sir Kiel Sturmer, who previously told MPs and members of the shadow cabinet not to join the picket line, did not comment on the subway strike, but tweeted: wrote. and possibility. Work will lead to a better life for all, not just some. “

Government condemns London mayor

A Department of Transportation spokesperson said: How the money is spent is the mayor’s decision. “

Khan is set to be re-elected mayor in May 2024, but he is already unpopular due to plans to extend the Ultra-Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) outside London.

Discussions have been held between unions and the government, but the public sector dispute has no solution.

Junior doctors in the British Medical Association launched a three-day strike on Monday over wages, and British teachers also stopped working Wednesday.

Mark Serwodka, general secretary of the Public Commerce Service Union, which represents civil servants, said the strike action could continue for the rest of the year if Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and the prime minister do not agree to raise wages in line with inflation. Stated.

Serwotka said:

he said: 40,000 civil servants use food banks and 45,000 are so poor that they claim service benefits. “

“Governments can stop these strikes today by providing funds for their members. If not, our actions will escalate. In that case, little progress has been made,” Serwodka added.

Members of the National Union of Journalists working for BBC Local across the UK have also been on strike for 24 hours straight over the cut of the show.

PA Media contributed to this report.