London Underground strikes, which had threatened to cripple the capital with extensive disruptions, have been averted following productive talks. The RMT and Aslef unions decided to suspend their planned four-day industrial action that would have caused significant tube service shutdowns from Monday to Saturday.
The strikes were scheduled as a result of a dispute over changes to working conditions, including staffing reductions and pension reviews, stemming from Transport for London’s post-Covid financial settlement with the government. However, progress was made during talks mediated by the conciliation service, Acas, leading to the suspension of the strikes.
The RMT’s general secretary, Mick Lynch, acknowledged the “significant progress” made during negotiations but emphasized that the dispute was not entirely resolved, and discussions would continue as the strike mandate remained in place. The union secured some concessions, including longer guarantees on earnings, a postponement of pension changes for at least three years, and a halt to potentially detrimental productivity proposals affecting RMT members’ terms and conditions.
Aslef’s organiser on the underground, Finn Brennan, echoed the sentiment of progress, stating that they had protected their members’ working conditions and pensions from the impact of the government’s cuts to TfL funding. Agreements included no changes to pension benefits until after the next general election and that any alterations to working conditions would only be made through negotiation.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan expressed relief at the suspension of strikes, welcoming the news as a positive outcome for Londoners. He praised the power of negotiation and collaboration with trade unions in achieving this resolution, despite the challenging funding conditions imposed by the government.
While the threat of London Underground strikes has been averted, RMT members’ national rail strikes are still set to proceed on Saturday and 29 July. This separate dispute, involving 14 train operators and the government in England, is likely to bring widespread disruption to train services across Britain.