No Elizabeth Line trains will run from Woolwich or Abbey Wood this Thursday because of a strike by managers over pay and pensions.
Members of the TSSA union voted before Christmas to walk out. Transport for London announced today that the new line’s central section – from Paddington to Abbey Wood – will be closed on Thursday because of the dispute, with reduced services on the other sections.
TSSA members will also be working to rule for six weeks from Thursday – carrying out their duties to the letter and doing no more – meaning that there will be a greater risk of disruption on other days too.
The Paddington to Abbey Wood section of London’s newest railway has escaped the worst of the industrial unrest that has paralysed the rest of the national network because it is controlled by a TfL subsidiary, Rail for London, rather than Network Rail.
But the TSSA is objecting to a 4 per cent pay offer for this year and 4.4 per cent for next year, saying that staff on the outsourced parts of the Elizabeth Line have received 8.2 per cent this year and the Docklands Light Railway 9.25 per cent.
Mel Taylor, a TSSA organiser, said when the results of the ballot were announced: “We have been left with little option because we know workers at Rail for London Infrastructure are being paid significantly less than equivalent colleagues across the TfL network.
“That is simply not good enough. Our members have the power to bring the Elizabeth Line to a standstill and the company must now wake up to that fact and get back round the table.
“We are always open to talks, but only if there’s a much-improved deal in the offing, one which puts our members on a par with those in the outsourced parts of the Elizabeth Line.”
Members of the Prospect union are also walking out. Rush-hour services will also be disrupted on Friday morning, with no trains before 7.30am.
“Strikes are bad news for everyone, and we urge the TSSA and Prospect to work with us and avoid the need for industrial action,” TfL’s Elizabeth Line director Howard Smith said.
“These strikes will have a detrimental effect during a time where we are encouraging customers back on to trains into central London, in which the Elizabeth Line has played a leading role.”
Southeastern and Thameslink services are due to run as normal on Thursday, as are Docklands Light Railway trains. Some buses in south, central and west London run by Abellio are due to be affected by strike action: the closest affected areas will be New Cross Gate and Canada Water.
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