Londoners advised to work from home to prepare for Tube strike

Londoners are advised to work from home on Monday, with the return to work after the Jubilee bank holiday set to be derailed by a Tube strike.

Transport for London (TfL) has said people should avoid traveling on the network, with business groups saying employers should introduce more flexible working policies as 4,000 station workers prepare to head off go on strike.

Large parts of the Metro will be idle after the RMT union called a strike over job losses and fears pension rights could be watered down by TfL, which is under government pressure to find savings after the Covid pandemic.

TfL said some services would operate but many stations, particularly in central and south London, would be closed, while others could only open for limited periods. Other services including DLR, London Overground and trams are unaffected and will operate, but will be busier.

Anneka Hendrick, Director of the CBI Group of Companies, said: “The strike is particularly regrettable at a time when the economy is under such strain, so constructive dialogue to avoid industrial action continues to be a priority.

“While many workplaces have already found a balance between working from home and in the office, those reliant on the metro network will need to show even greater flexibility in the short term.”

‘It will only hurt London’s economy’

Richard Burge, chief executive of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the business community was “hugely disappointed that the RMT had called for a massive walkout”.

He added: “This strike now puts TfL in a position where it has to recommend that Londoners work from home. Ultimately, this will only hurt London’s economy.

Hospitals, including the Royal Free, have warned staff and patients they may need to leave their homes earlier than usual to arrive on time. Schools and universities are also concerned that students will face difficulties at the start of exam season.

A parent complained online that the strike coincided with his 18-year-old son’s A-level exams and wrote: ‘I’m trying to figure out how he will get to his A-level exam on Monday and Tuesday morning with the TFL Tube strike Taxis cost £40 but none available either.

Call for more holidays

The RMT said it sought “job security with a guarantee of no forced dismissal; that any changes to structures, working practices or conditions should be agreed with our union, not imposed.” He said “members deserve a negotiated salary increase that responds to the rising cost of living.”

On Sunday, the TUC said England and Wales should have four more bank holidays because workers deserve more breaks. England and Wales generally have eight annual bank holidays, but the TUC said EU countries have an average of 12.8 days a year.

Frances O’Grady, the general secretary, said: “It’s not fair for British workers to have so few public holidays. They work as hard as people from other countries who earn much more.

Maria D. Ervin