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Union chiefs call for urgent talks with Sadiq Khan in bid to avert Tube strike

London Underground (PA)
London Underground (PA)

Union leaders are calling for urgent talks with London Mayor Sadiq Khan in a bid to avert a 24-hour Tube strike.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union are set to walk out on Monday, threatening travel chaos immediately after the Jubilee weekend.

The union is protesting over job cuts and a “looming threat” to pensions.
There’s no point in our union continuing to sit opposite management representatives who have neither the inclination nor the authority to negotiate a settlement, when the power lies with the Mayor

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “We are demanding a direct face to face meeting with mayor Sadiq Khan to sort this mess out.

“There’s no point in our union continuing to sit opposite management representatives who have neither the inclination nor the authority to negotiate a settlement, when the power lies with the Mayor.

“The mayor of London has tax-raising powers. Just four banks made a profit of £34bn last year and are set to pay out over £4bn in bonuses to London traders. A windfall tax on those profits would more than adequately fund London’s transport network.

“Mayor Khan must choose either the take on the Tory government and demand a just funding deal for Londoners or attack loyal Tube workers who keep the capital moving day in day out.”

Transport for London (TfL) said it remains open to further talks and that strike action has been called despite there being no proposals to change pensions or agreements and no job losses.

Andy Lord, TfL’s chief operating officer, said: “We’re determined to make sure that people are able to travel around London and enjoy the Jubilee weekend, which is why we’re planning to run services across all transport modes and hope to keep all stations open.

“Action short of a strike being taken by the RMT may lead to some short notice station closures, so I’d encourage people to check their journeys before they travel.

“I want to apologise to our customers for the RMT’s disappointing strike action on Monday 6 June, which will have a significant impact on the Tube network, and we advise people to only travel if necessary on this day, as many stations may be closed.

“Alternatives to the Tube, including the bus and rail networks, are likely to be much busier than usual.

“We expect the severe disruption caused by this strike to continue into the morning of Tuesday 7 June.

“This strike is particularly frustrating as no changes have been proposed to pensions and nobody has or will lose their job as a result of the proposals we have set out.

“We’re urging the RMT to call off this strike and to work with us to find a resolution and avoid the disruption this strike will cause to people’s journeys and to the economy.”

A TfL spokesperson added: “We met the RMT union at the conciliation service Acas yesterday and, although no resolution was reached, we’re keen on further talks in the hope Monday’s strike can be called off.

“For many months, we’ve been engaging with our trade unions and staff to seek their views on how we can make London Underground more efficient and financially sustainable, while continuing to deliver the highest standards of safety, reliability and customer service.

“Unfortunately strike action has been called as part of a dispute over pensions, jobs and conditions – despite the fact no proposals have been tabled on pensions or terms and conditions, and nobody has or will lose their jobs because of the proposals we have set out on jobs.

“We’re urging the RMT to call this action off and continue talks.”

Ultra Low Emission Zone expansion
London Mayor Sadiq Khan has urged the RMT to call off strike action (Karis Pearson/PA)

A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said: “The Mayor is pleased the RMT are open to talks to avoid this weekend’s disruption. Transport for London have been clear they are available to meet.

“The Mayor urges the RMT to call off this strike action which will have a serious impact on London’s businesses and commuters, at a time when we are working to get more passengers back on to the network and boost the capital’s economic recovery.”

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