Call off next week’s Tube strikes, RMT urged as commuters warned of travel chaos

Call off next week’s Tube strikes, RMT urged as commuters warned of travel chaos

Transport for London issued a plea to union leaders on Friday to call off next week’s Tube strikes as passengers were warned they may need to find alternative ways to travel.

Talks were being held between TfL and RMT union negotiators on Friday in a bid to avert the strikes.

“Severe disruption” is expected on Wednesday and Friday next week when up to 10,000 RMT members are expected to walk out in protest at the axing of up to 600 station staff posts.

The staff reductions – which TfL say will be made through not back-filling vacancies rather than redundancies – are part of a TfL cost-cutting plan that has resulted from £5bn of Government covid bailouts.

Disruption is also expected on Thursday and Saturday mornings due to likely delays in stations reopening.

TfL is aiming to run some trains but a vast number of stations are likely to be closed, especially in central London. The Elizabeth line, London Overground and DLR will remain open.

TfL is seeking agreement on new rotas that will enable station staff to be “deployed more flexibly” to prevent stations having to be closed because of staff shortages.

Nick Dent, director of customer operations for London Underground, said: “We have been in ongoing discussions with our unions for some time to reach a resolution in the dispute over changes we are proposing to how our stations operate.

“We have made positive steps and made agreements on many points, but this planned strike action cause disruption for Londoners and the city if it goes ahead. We urge the RMT to continue engaging with us and to call off this action.”

An RMT spokesperson said: “It is positive that TfL have agreed with RMT that their cuts have had a detrimental impact on our members and the service we provide.

“However, we still have a long way to go to agree on solutions to these problems. We remain in talks with management today to try and make further progress.”

A week of strikes by the RMT and Aslef that were planned for July were averted when TfL safeguarded staff pensions until 2026.

However next week’s strikes are over the separate issue of station staffing – which has already resulted in six strikes last year and a walkout on Budget day in March this year.

The RMT has “safety concerns” about the job losses, which it says have meant staff facing “higher workloads, more lone working and increased fatigue”.

If the strikes go ahead, TfL has warned that the services it does run will be subject to last-minute changes and will be busier than usual.

Services may not stop at stations that are shared with London Underground, though TfL will aim to keep Tottenham Court Road and Bond Street Elizabeth line stations open.

The Night Tube will not operate on Friday. The Night Overground will operate but will not stop at Whitechapel and Canada Water stations.

TfL said it had made a commitment that no station staff would lose their job as part of the changes, nor have their working hours extended. All stations would be staffed wile trains were running.