Londoners face Tube strike threat in new year after unions reject 5% pay rise offer

28 November 2023, 12:50

London faces the threat of Tube strikes in the new year.
London faces the threat of Tube strikes in the new year. Picture: Alamy

By Jenny Medlicott

Strike action could hit London Underground services in the new year after several unions have rejected TfL's five per cent pay offer.

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The Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT), which represents some 10,000 London Underground staff, is halfway through a strike ballot over possible industrial action.

If members vote to walk out that means strike action could be possible as early as January 3 - as at least two weeks’ notice must be given. The results of the ballot are due on December 19.

It comes after TfL made a “full and final” one-year offer to London Underground staff last month.

But the RMT said it was unhappy with the offer as it called for a mandate on strike action.

Meanwhile, Unite union has asked TfL to increase its pay offer to 6.1 per cent - but should TfL reject the request, it is likely to also hold a strike ballot.

It is also understood the TSSA, which represents Tube managers, has rejected a five per cent pay increase for the current financial year.

Aslef is yet to vote on the five per cent pay offer, with the referendum due to close on December 11.

But Aslef union leaders have recommended its members accept the latest offer from TfL after an 8.4 per cent increase last year - however, if members vote to reject the deal, this could create further chaos for TfL.

RMT branded the pay offer 'inadequate'.
RMT branded the pay offer 'inadequate'. Picture: Alamy

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It comes after TfL and the main Tube unions called off strikes in July and October at the 11th hour after striking deals on pensions and guarantees on station staffing.

However, the RMT’s Regional Organiser Jared Wood has branded TfL’s latest five per cent pay offer to members “inadequate”.

“The RPI rate in April, when this pay rise was due, was over 11 per cent. That means that we are six per cent down on the cost of living,” he said.

Unite union and the RMT want staff pay bands to be increased, otherwise, staff will not be able to receive the benefits of a pay deal as their salaries will be capped if they go over their pay band.

TfL said: “London’s Tube drivers have an important, safety-critical role in keeping London moving.

“London’s Tube drivers supported us through the pandemic and continue to play an important role in rebuilding our economy.

“For the safety-critical role they fill, they are paid a competitive salary which is in line with other train operators across the country.”

Tube drivers currently earn a fixed salary of £63,901 and instructors £66,649 - but it is also possible to boost this pay by working overtime.

New figures from TfL show that in 2022/2023, a total of 2,648 drivers and 46 instructors received a package between £70,000 and £80,000 - that is including salary, pension, overtime, allowances and bonuses, according to the Evening Standard.

While 235 drivers and 284 instructors received between £80,000 and £90,000. A further two drivers received between £90,000 and £100,000 - and one received over £100,000.

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