Sadiq Khan: Susan Hall says ‘political correctness has gone beserk’
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A walk-out by RMT union drivers crippled services on the Central and Piccadilly lines in a dispute over new rosters for Night Tube drivers. Transport for London reported that by 9am today services were running at 58 percent while passenger numbers were down by about 30 percent compared to last Friday.
This would mean it is likely that about 600,000 fewer journeys will have been made on London Underground throughout Friday, a total of two million in contrast with about 2.6m a week ago.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan told BBC Radio London: “It’s extremely disappointing that the RMT refused to attend talks yesterday with TfL to try to come to a resolution. I urge them to come back to the table.”
Mr Khan told LBC he was absolutely frustrated by the strike which fell on Black Friday when retailers kick-started sales to boost Christmas trade.
The action is set to last until 4.30am on Saturday with six more evening and overnight strikes planned.
Mr Khan said: “The Night Tube is crucial and not just for our night time economy, but for women and girls to feel safer going about our city.
“Our night time economy, after the last 18 months, desperately needs people back.”
Express.co.uk readers slammed both sides in the dispute which could lead to further strikes if TfL and the RMT fail to reach agreement.
Robbo Barwick commented that TfL is led by a team of “woke sheep” and a “hapless” mayor. They wrote: “Mismanaged. Unworkable and clearly inadequate. TfL and the woke brigade need to shape up.
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“Go to Japan, watch how the professionals achieve top quality and a working system… Learn… Then put it into action before the latest ‘Threat’ of bankruptcy kicks in and the government forces the taxpayer to bail out this failure under the current clowns”.
Fellow reader Rossman put the situation down to “Union greed and usual obduracy” while JamesHughson1 speculated that the row would lead to driverless trains.
They wrote: “Like the coal mines, they will become too expensive to keep on and if our government has any brains simply tell the unions that if they continue with this then they will simply run the shifts with [artificial intelligence] starting the complete demise of the driver in the next decade”.
To which Boroughbloke replied: “Alas we will not see the demise of the driver in a decade. It will take decades”.
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JamesHughson1 added: “[W]hatever happens it will be the unions who will hasten the day of the ai”.
In a series of tweets this morning, Mr Khan it was extremely disappointing the RMT had refused to attend talks on Thursday with TfL to try and reach a resolution.
He urged them to come back to the table.
However, the RMT shot back by accusing the mayor of deliberately distorting the truth with General Secretary Mick Lynch claiming the capital’s Mr Khan knew the union’s Lead Organiser for TfL had offered in an email sent on Wednesday to meet London Underground bosses at the conciliatory service ACAS.
In a letter sent today, Mr Lynch urges the mayor to take steps to resolve the row.
He wrote: “I repeat our offer to meet at ACAS or with yourself before this situation degenerates further”.
TfL has been contacted for comment.
The strike has led to criticism from politicians and business people with Andy Lord, managing director of London Underground, telling the Evening Standard he was disappointed about the action but quite pleased with the level of service provided.
He said: “Clearly it’s disruptive and we wanted to avoid it if we could. The Piccadilly line and the Central line are the most impacted.
“I’m very, very sorry for our customers and businesses in London who are being impacted and inconvenienced by the strike.
“I’m truly sorry that anybody has been impacted by a completely unnecessary piece of industrial action. Not a single driver has lost their job and not a single driver has been forced on to new rosters.”
Transport Secretary Grant Shapps MP said: “This is the last thing that Londoners need.”
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