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Thatcher's grandchildren walk ahead of the coffin

Pall-bearers carry the coffin into St Paul's Cathedral. Credit: ITV News

The eight pall-bearers who carried the casket into the Cathedral were drawn from Army units, Royal Navy ships and RAF stations with links to the Falklands war, commanded by Major Nick Mott of the Welsh Guards who served in the 1982 conflict.

Lady Thatcher's grandchildren Michael and Amanda walked ahead of the coffin. Credit: ITV News

Lady Thatcher's grandchildren Michael and Amanda walked ahead of the coffin as it entered the cathedral, carrying cushions bearing the insignia of the Order of the Garter and Order of Merit, which were laid on the altar.

  1. National

MPs: 'Short, dignified, moving service' for Thatcher

Conservative MPs Conor Burns and Andrew Percy were among those who took part in a service for Lady Thatcher inside a chapel in Parliament ahead of tomorrow's funeral:

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RMT outlines reasons for strike

The RMT union said that it was holding a strike ballot "in response to London Underground riding roughshod over agreements and abusing a range of agreed policies and procedures".

They are unhappy with plans to split a depot in Acton Town into two - claiming that that tube bosses are "ripping up rosters and booking times" and "refusing perfectly reasonable requests for decent staff facilities".

RMT General Secretary Bob Crow said:

"Driver and instructor members on the Piccadilly Line are furious at this unilateral attack by the company on working conditions, agreements and procedures and we are moving forwards with plans for a ballot for strike action.

"We will of course be in talks with our sister drivers union ASLEF and London Underground should be in no doubt about the unions determination to protect working conditions and to stop the abuse of procedures."

Union boss: 'Tories have over-dosed on post-Thatcher adulation'

RMT General secretary Bob Crow. Credit: Phil Noble / Reuters

RMT General secretary Bob Crow said: "One of the first things fascist dictators like Hitler, Mussolini and Pinochet did when they seized power was to ban transport workers from taking strike action so the Tory group on the London Assembly find themselves in some high profile company on this one.

"This crowd have obviously over-dosed on their post-Thatcher adulation and are looking to ramp up the anti-union rhetoric in advance of the publicly financed funeral on Wednesday.

"Of course, banning the fundamental human right to withdraw your labour, a right that distinguishes a free workforce from forced labour, is all the rage on the far right and anyone stupid enough to try and embark on such a policy is doomed to failure."

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Nearly half of Londoners support tube strike ban

The Conservative report included an opinion poll, which found that 48% of Londoners support some kind of ban on strike action.

A complete ban - which would see workers sacked for withdrawing their labour - was backed by 16%.

Another 15% supported the introduction of rules used on the New York subway, which bansstrike action but give unions a right to binding arbitration. And a further 16% favoured pendulum arbitration in which a judge cannot compromise but has to choose between either the employers or unions position.

The survey also found that:

  • 59% think it is too easy for Tube workers to go on strike.
  • Only 14% of Londoners back the status quo on strike law and 6% want to make it easier to strike.

Tube strikes 'cost £48m per day'

The report says that strikes cost the UK economy £48 million pounds per day of industrial action - adding up to £1bn between 2005 and 2009.

Richard Tracey, GLA Conservative Spokesmanfor Transport, said:

“Seven in ten rail journeys in the UK begin or end in the capital.

"For too long London’s Tube unions have been holding the travelling public hostage, demanding ever greater pay deals and calling strikes at the drop of a hat.

"We need to urgently readdress this imbalance.

"Our research shows six in ten Londoners feel it is too easy for Underground staff to go on strike. Almost half would favour a ban on industrial action.

"Banning strikes tied to a wider package of compulsory arbitration will protect commuters and the UK’s economy.

"It will also ensure Tube drivers and staff do get a fair hearing from London Underground management when seeking to secure wage and benefit improvements.

"And there is no reason why we cannot curb strikes and implement compulsory settlements on other forms of transport in London and across the UK.”

Tories call for ban on tube strikes

Commuters queue for buses during a tube strike. Credit: Stephen Hird, Reuters

Conservative politicians are calling for a ban on tube strikes - arguing that they should be replaced with a compulsory mediation process.

A report, published by Conservative members of the Greater London Authority, claims that strikes have an "immense" impact on the UK economy - and should therefore be "outlawed".

Instead, an impartial judge would decide on a settlement.

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