Travel chaos looms as Tube strike going ahead on Thursday over TfL pension dispute

8 November 2022, 15:42

RMT secretary general Mick Lynch has criticised the pensions proposals ahead of the strike
RMT secretary general Mick Lynch has criticised the pensions proposals ahead of the strike. Picture: Getty

By Kit Heren

Commuters will face more chaos on Thursday, with a Tube strike going ahead as workers angle against changes to their pensions.

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Transport for London (TfL) told people not to use the Tube on November 10, as there will be "limited or no services running" on all lines because of the strike by members of the RMT union.

The Overground, Docklands Light Railway (DLR), trams and buses will all be running, although they may be "extremely busy" and timetables could change with little or no notice.

DLR and Overground services may not stop at stations that are also Tube stops.

Passengers wait on the platform at Victoria Underground...
Passengers wait on the platform at Victoria Underground... Picture: Getty
RMT union members are going on strike
RMT union members are going on strike. Picture: Getty
RMT boss Mick Lynch
RMT boss Mick Lynch. Picture: Getty

The central section of the Elizabeth Line between Whitechapel and Bond Street will not be running between 7.30am and 10.30pm.

Glynn Barton, TfL’s Interim Chief Operating Officer, said:  ”It’s highly disappointing that the RMT union is planning strike action on the London Underground and Overground on 10 November.

"We are encouraging them to withdraw this disruptive action and continue to engage with us and Arriva Rail London, operator of the London Overground, to avoid disruption to our customers.”

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The strike stems from the funding bailout deal between TfL and the government which requires TfL to review its pension scheme for staff.

TfL has offered three options - no change, moving pensions to the local government pension scheme, which would involve staff paying more, and moving to a scheme that would mean pensions are based on employee's average salaries rather than final.

Staff pension age would move to the UK standard of 65, rather than 60, in both changes.

DLR services are still running but may be very busy
DLR services are still running but may be very busy. Picture: Getty
The London Overground is still running
The London Overground is still running. Picture: Getty
London buses are still running
London buses are still running. Picture: Getty

RMT say this could result in a 30% cut to staff pensions and argue that the review is "unnecessary".

MT general secretary Mick Lynch said: "TfL’s latest pensions paper clearly shows the depths to which this government is prepared to stoop, demanding that our members take 30% cuts in their pensions in retirement in pursuit of a cut that TfL know is completely unnecessary. 

"It’s shameful that TfL continues to participate in this morally bankrupt process.

"Our members’ pensions have become bargaining chips in a one-sided negotiation with a spite-filled government and with no one else prepared to stand up and fight for working people, RMT members have to do it themselves.

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"This union will never accept such attacks on our membership and will continue its industrial campaign until we get a just deal."

The government has to respond to TfL's proposals by March next year, so this is when any changes to the pension scheme will become clear.

TfL has a hole of more than £1 billion in its budget, and its funding deal from the government has come with several strings attached alongside the pensions review.

The Tube strike comes after RMT called off industrial action on train services last week and this week - although railway operators said they were still unable to run a normal timetable because the strikes were cancelled at short notice.

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