Sadiq Khan calls on RMT union to call off Tube strike during Queen’s Platinum Jubilee celebrations
Sadiq Khan has condemned a proposed Tube strike during the Queen’s platinum jubilee celebrations as “sending the wrong message” and “good for nobody” as he appealed to the RMT union to call off the action.
The Mayor spoke out at City Hall on Thursday after being asked what he was doing to avert the localised strike, which could result in Euston and Green Park stations being closed on Friday June 3.
He said he did not want people who planned to travel to central London in the hope of seeing the Queen in person end up “heartbroken”.
The four-day celebrations start with bank holidays on Thursday June 2 and Friday June 3.
Mr Khan told Mayor’s Question Time: “I think the trade union should get back round the table. I’m against this strike. I think it sends all the wrong messages.
“I think at a time we are encouraging commuters back to central London, at a time we are encouraging people across the globe to celebrate Her Majesty’s Platinum Jubilee, these two stations potentially being closed because of industrial action is good for nobody.
“I would encourage the RMT to call off the industrial action.”
Crossrail Project: Elizabeth Line - In pictures
The RMT announced on Wednesday that 85 station staff would be going on strike at Euston and Green Park stations for 24 hours on June 3 unless action was taken in response to allegations of “bullying” and a “toxic” working environment.
TfL initially feared it may have to close both Underground stations – though Euston mainline rail station would be unaffected. However it now hopes to keep both stations open.
The closure of Green Park would have frustrated many people trying to get to Buckingham Palace. The walkout is planned to start just after midnight and last the entire day.
As Tube drivers are not striking, all Tube lines would be unaffected, though there were concerns that trains would not be able to stop at Euston and Green Park.
RMT sources said on Thursday that said it remained the union’s aim to close both stations unless the dispute was resolved.
It said it had been forced to take the unprecedented action due to the impact of an individual’s alleged behaviour over a long period.
The strike threat had been raised by Tony Devenish, a Tory member of the London Assembly, who accused the RMT of “disrespecting Her Majesty”.
Mr Khan said it was important for the TfL negotiators to lead peace talks but added: “I could not be clearer in relation to my views in relation to the RMT industrial action planned for Her Majesty’s celebrations.
Queen Elizabeth II at Paddington station in London, to mark the completion of London’s Crossrail project
“It’s really important the RMT understand the consequences of their actions in relation to people potentially being put off coming to celebrate, which would be heart-breaking for them.
“I don’t want people not to come for fear of industrial action, and not see her in person as well.”
The RMT said members at both stations had suffered “years of intimidation, bullying and unjustified sackings of colleagues” and there was a “toxic atmosphere in the workplace”.
There are still fears that the RMT may choose to call another network-wide strike in protest at feared changes to pensions and working conditions, akin to the two 24-hour walkouts that brought the Tube to a near standstill on March 1 and 3. It has to give TfL 14 days’ notice of any such action.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said on Wednesday: "Our strike on June 3 will cause significant disruption to people wishing to celebrate the Queen’s Jubilee.
“However, if Tube bosses do the right thing, and deal appropriately with the manager in question, we can find a just resolution to this dispute."
A TfL spokesperson said on Thursday: "We hold our people to high standards and ensure everyone is treated fairly. We’re aware of this dispute and are carrying out an urgent review in a bid to resolve it.
“We have had a number of meetings with the RMT and are urging them not to take strike action and to continue working with us to find a resolution.”