Tube strike: Londoners face chaos as ‘98 per cent’ of drivers vote in favour of action

8 November 2021, 20:36

Almost 99 per cent of union staff voted in favour of strike action
Almost 99 per cent of union staff voted in favour of strike action. Picture: Alamy

By Megan Hinton

London Underground drivers have voted in favour of taking strike action over disagreements over potential changes.

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ASLEF union said members will go on strike if management make changes to pensions and working conditions without negotiations.

It comes after 98.8 per cent of union members voted in favour of strike action, with nearly 1,400 Tube drivers involved in voting.

Finn Brennan, the union's organiser on the Tube, said: "98.8 per cent of our Tube train drivers on London Underground have voted in favour of strike action.

"That's an extraordinary figure and 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.

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"Management and Government now want to plug that funding gap by slashing staff pensions and tearing up our agreed working conditions. But 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."

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Mick Whelan, general secretary of ASLEF, said: "The funding gap on the Underground is not the fault of the men and women who, every day, help passengers move around the capital.

So there is no reason why the terms on which they are employed should be ripped up.

"Pensions, for which we pay, are deferred wages. And we are not prepared to have our pensions looted."

Mick 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."