The RMT union is protesting outside Tottenham Court Road station on the opening day of the Elizabeth line. The group is calling for London transport workers’ pay and pensions to be protected from proposed cuts. A banner, erected outside the station, read: “Hands off our pay and pensions! No cuts to London’s Transport Workforce.”
Posters with more information about their protests are being handed out to passers by, stating “some 600 station staff jobs which are earmarked to go”. It comes after an announcement on Monday (May 23) that 4,000 station Tube staff are set to walk out on June 6 following what they claim is the threat of 600 job losses. TfL says nobody will lose their jobs and pensions will not be affected.
RMT representative Marie Harrington said that if the plans go ahead then the impact on the public will be huge. She said: “TFL have had a big drive on women’s safety, particularly after the murder of Sarah Everard but the cuts mean women customers will be coming off the train and walking through an empty station with no member of staff to be seen. Disabled people and people with mobility issues won’t be able to find a member of staff. There’s simply not enough of us there.”
She added that the cuts would also mean that staff kept on would be working more extreme shifts with some starting at 4am and finishing at 1am the next morning. A planned strike over the Jubilee bank holiday weekend is set to cause chaos across the city with two Underground stations set to close – Green Park and Euston.
The June 6 strike will see thousands of staff walk out while a ban on overtime among its members has been put in place by the RMT for the bank holiday weekend. Andy Lord, TfL’s chief operating officer, said: “We are extremely disappointed that the RMT has announced unnecessary strike action on June 6 and share Londoners’ frustrations that this, and the linked action short of strike, has been designed to disrupt the Jubilee weekend.
“It is particularly surprising that the RMT has threatened to spoil this moment when the nation is coming together as nobody has or will lose their jobs as a result of the proposals we have set out and there have been no proposals on pension changes. If the RMT chooses to go ahead with this unnecessary action, we will do everything we can to minimise any disruption and ensure everyone can still make the most of the capital throughout the Jubilee weekend.”