Tube strikes: Sadiq Khan says unions are letting the government off the hook by going on strike

Transport for London (TfL) has met the RMT at the conciliation service ACAS twice in the last two weeks but no progress was made on avoiding the strike action. No further talks have been planned.

Sadiq Khan has said that the RMT are “letting the government off the hook” by taking industrial action, with the biggest Tube strikes since 2017.

This comes as the RMT Union has called on the mayor to keep his promises he made to London Underground workers to protect their pensions.

London mayor Sadiq Khan said action was needed quickly to tackle London’s air quality issues (Photo: Dominic Lipinski/WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Transport for London (TfL) has met the RMT at the conciliation service ACAS twice in the last two weeks but no progress was made on avoiding the strike action.

An RMT source confirmed that there are no further talks planned at present.

“What I would say to the RMT in the most respectful and courteous way is to talk, talk to TfL about how we can resolve these differences,” the mayor told LondonWorld.

“The only reason there is a pensions review is a condition attached to the government in relation to the funding deal.

“The only reason we need the funding deal is because of the pandemic.

“The RMT are letting the government off the hook by going on strike and instead are punishing Londoners, our businesses and TfL, none of whom are responsible for the pensions review.”

This comes as TfL secured a short term funding deal with the government till the end of June.

This, the fourth funding package offered by the government, will contribute towards TfL’s revenue loss due to reduced passenger numbers during the pandemic.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch. Credit: RMT

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “Sadiq Khan should be standing up to Tory ministers who want to needlessly attack jobs, pensions and conditions of key transport workers.

“It is this political failure that has left tube workers with no choice but to strike this week.

“Our members have been left paying the price for a turf war between City Hall and the Government and they are not having it as can be seen right across London today.

“The Mayor knows the plan to attack our members’ pensions and conditions is wrong and would leave our union no choice but to take industrial action.

"However, only last week the Mayor agreed to submit proposals to the government that will result in detrimental changes to pensions.

"The Mayor has to decide if he is on the side of key workers who have kept London moving during the pandemic or Tory ministers hellbent on punishing tube workers.

"This dispute can be solved if  the Mayor meets the reasonable demands of his own workforce."