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London Underground passengers face significant disruption later this month after the RMT union announced five days of strikes.
The transport union on Thursday said it would launch industrial action in the last week in July in a long-running dispute with Transport for London over pensions and working conditions.
RMT members across different parts of the network will take part in “rolling strike action” for five days between Sunday July 23 and Friday July 28, with no walkouts planned on Monday July 24, the union said.
Mick Lynch, general secretary of the RMT, pledged to “shut down the London Underground . . . [to] show just how important the work of our members is”.
The renewed action on London Underground comes as the union is also continuing its dispute with train operators on the national rail network, with its members scheduled to walk out on July 20, July 22 and July 29.
Train drivers’ union Aslef is also in dispute with the rail industry, and has this month launched two weeks of overtime bans to disrupt timetables. The disputes are part of wider industrial action across the public and private sectors by workers who are demanding pay rises amid the cost of living crisis.
TfL has called on the RMT to work with Acas, the arbitration and conciliation service, to help broker a settlement and stop the strikes.
The dispute with the union comes amid wider funding problems at TfL, caused by a fall in ridership and revenue during the pandemic.
Sadiq Khan, the Labour mayor of London, was forced to make budget cuts in return for repeated bailouts from central government during the crisis, including submitting proposals to reform TfL pensions.
The RMT said 600 jobs are due to be lost and claimed London Underground staff would “be poorer in retirement if TfL’s proposed changes go through”.
Lynch added: “We are aware that mayor of London Sadiq Khan has had the TfL budget cut. However, he needs to align himself with our union and his London Underground staff in pushing back against the Tory government.”
But Glynn Barton, TfL chief operating officer, said there were no “current” proposals to reform pensions.
“Although we are discussing with union colleagues a range of proposals to improve how London Underground operates, no employee will lose their job or be asked to work additional hours,” Barton said.
“We are disappointed that the RMT has announced strike action on this range of issues that we have been attempting to discuss with them openly and co-operatively,” he said.