London Underground strike: Commuters face chaos as train drivers vote to walk out

·2-min read
London Underground strike: Commuters face chaos as train drivers vote to walk out

London Underground commuters could face chaos after train drivers voted to strike over pensions.

Aslef union members have secured a 99 per cent yes vote in a ballot over protecting working conditions and pensions. The union said its members would take action if changes were forced through without negotiation.

Nearly £4bn in government bailouts has been paid to keep TfL services afloat during Covid.

Finn Brennan, ASLEF’s organiser on the Underground, said TFL management and government “now want to plug that funding gap by slashing staff pensions and tearing up our agreed working conditions”.

He hailed the vote as “extraordinary” and celebrated their members for showing “huge courage”. Nearly 1,400 Tube drivers were involved in voting in the ballot with only 16 drivers voting against strike action.

Tube train drivers were asked: “Are you prepared to take part in industrial action consisting of a strike?”

He said: “It’s a staggering mandate from our members that sends a clear message to Transport for London. Government cuts to its funding, together with a fall in passenger numbers since the Covid pandemic, have led to a financial crisis at TfL.

“This ballot result shows that our Tube train drivers aren’t prepared to let them get away with it.

“Management should be in no doubt that if they try to force through changes to our agreements, working conditions, or pensions, there will be hard-hitting and sustained industrial action across London Underground. Our members showed huge courage and determination in keeping Underground services operating throughout the pandemic. They do not deserve to be treated like this and are determined – as this vote shows – to protect their working conditions and pensions.”

Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, said: “Last year Boris Johnson stood on the steps of Downing Street and applauded essential workers. Now his government wants to cut our pensions and attack our working conditions.”

He added: “It’s up to Boris Johnson to step up and do the right thing to help keep the capital moving – he was, once, Mayor of London, and should understand how the capital works – rather than lead a government that hands out dodgy PPE contracts and backs ministers who break the rules on lobbying.”

A Transport for London spokesperson said: “This mandate relates to ongoing discussions with our trade unions. We urge ASLEF to continue working with us to resolve these matters without having to resort to industrial action."

The Standard has approached TFL for further comment.

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