London’s businesses have urged unions to end their dispute with the rail industry and TfL “once and for all” in the wake of losses caused by damaging strikes.
Disruption over the summer led to an estimated £52 million loss for the capital’s businesses, which are warning of a “devastating ripple effect” on the London economy.
Three more 24-hour rail walkouts were planned this week, to leave trains in and out of London facing significant disruption.
A further scheduled strike is set to leave London with little or no service on the Tube and Overground on November 10 as the RMT continues its separate dispute with TfL over potential cuts to jobs and pensions.
Richard Burge, Chief Executive of the London Chamber of Commerce and Industry, told the Standard businesses are “hugely frustrated” at the RMT’s decision to embark on further strike action.
He said: “It must decide once and for all if it wants to be part of the shared endeavour to help our global city to recover from COVID and Brexit, and to face the global pressures triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”
He warned that many London businesses “are already fighting for survival in a torrid economic climate”.
TfL has warned passengers to check before they travel and have stressed that Elizabeth line services will be disrupted.
Dee Corsi, Chief Operating Officer of the New West End Company, said the strikes will be “hugely detrimental” to stores in the run-up to Christmas. But the RMT said members “will not tolerate pay freezes or threats to their jobs.”
The TSSA union will not join the RMT rail strikes after progress in their talks.
A spokesperson for RMT said: “It’s a bit rich for a business group to blame RMT for London’s economic woes, when their friends in the privatised rail industry are extracting millions of pounds worth of profit for shareholders and taking wealth out of the country and dumping it in offshore dividends. This dispute is continuing because the rail industry backed up by Government has so far not offered a deal that addresses job security, a cost of living pay rise or working conditions.
“We regret any disruption caused by strike action, but our members will not tolerate pay freezes or threats to their jobs and working conditions. And we are seeking a negotiated settlement to the situation.”