Tube workers vote to back more strikes after RMT re-ballots London members

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch on a picket line outside Euston station in London Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

Tube workers have reaffirmed their backing for industrial action in a dispute over jobs, pay, pensions and conditions.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) working for London Underground have taken strike action in recent weeks, including a 24-hour walkout on Tuesday.

By law, the RMT had to re-ballot its members, with the union saying there was a “decisive” result in favour.

More than 90% of those who voted backed industrial action on a 53.1% turnout.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “This is a fantastic result for our members and proves that the arguments RMT has been making is endorsed by Tube workers.

“Transport for London (TfL) and the Mayor of London need to seriously re-think their plans for hundreds of job cuts and trying to take hard-earned pensions from workers who serve the people of London on a daily basis.

“We are acutely aware of the funding cuts being foisted on TfL by the Westminster government.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan. Credit: PA

“However, Mayor Sadiq Khan needs to mount a serious campaign for the people of London, to get the capital city the funding it deserves for its public transport.

“He should not be trying to sacrifice our members’ pensions and jobs to fit within budget restraints laid down by Boris Johnson.”

No new strike dates have been set.

They will be decided by the union’s executive in due course.

The latest ballot result comes amid a week of crippling rail strikes nationwide.

Members of the RMT union on a picket line outside Victoria station in London Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA

Andy Lord, TfL’s chief operating officer, said: “We are disappointed that the RMT has achieved a mandate for further strike action. As a result of the pandemic and its impact on TfL finances, we have to become more efficient.

“To continue delivering for London and supporting our staff, we have worked with trade unions and staff over the past year to develop plans to adapt to these challenges.

“There are no proposals to change pensions or terms and conditions and our proposals will ensure any reduction in roles is achieved through vacancy management, in line with our no compulsory redundancy agreement. We’re calling on the RMT to continue working with us.”

Underground workers staged a Tube strike on Tuesday 21 June to coincide with the first day of a separate series of rail strikes.

The three days of rail strikes this week finish on Saturday 25 June, after days of rows between participating unions, rail operators and the government.

Critics have urged Transport Minister Grant Shapps to intervene and hold talks with union bosses as the summer of strikes deal a blow to transport across the UK.

Negotiations between the government and City Hall over TfL funding broke down on Thursday as the government's temporary bailout package comes to a close and Mr Shapps reportedly extended the funding only until mid-July.

The mayor warned that major Tube and bus cuts services are "imminent" without a long-term plan.

Mr Shapps wrote a letter to Mr Khan warning that a long-term funding package for the transport body would not be possible without a "relationship reset".

He criticised the mayor's move to cut services and said he was using the threat as a "political weapon" to secure long-term funding.

The Mayor warned that TfL had been left with no choice but to begin "imminent" preparations for a state of managed decline.

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