Train commuters faced a day of delays and disruptions ahead of another train drivers’ strike on Friday, but were buoyed by the suspension of the strike on the Elizabeth line.
The central section of the “Lizzie Line” was closed for 24 hours on January 12, the first time since the Queen opened it last May, when members of the TSSA, Prospect and RMT unions walked out for wages and pensions.
But Transport for London commissioner Andy Lord revealed that progress had been made in negotiations which had allowed unions to cancel further action.
Crossrail Project: Elizabeth Line – In Pictures
The line has become the best-used railway in the country, carrying around 600,000 passengers on weekdays. It hit the 100 million ride milestone yesterday, just over eight months since it went live under central London.
Lord said TfL had been unable to increase “basic” pay rates for Elizabeth’s line managers. But a “benchmarking” review of roles at Rail for London Infrastructure, the TfL subsidiary that oversees the line, could see staff moving into higher pay bands.
The TSSA union said it had agreed to suspend the action for a month while discussions continued. TSSA organizer Mel Taylor said the negotiations were “meaningful and serious” adding: “The progress made since the strike only shows the power of our collective action, and in the days since we have seen more people become members. from our TSSA family. .
“However, the company should note that we reserve the right to reissue our notice to take action at any time with a 14-day notice.”
The action by Aslef, which seeks a wage agreement that recognizes the cost of living crisis, will affect 14 train companies on Friday. Services on Southeastern, Thameslink and Southern, all key commuter routes, are not expected to operate.
This morning, about one in seven trains on the UK rail network were late, very late (more than 30 minutes late) or cancelled, according to the trains.im website. Network Rail expected 80 to 85 percent of the trains to run.
TfL has announced a two-year wage deal worth 8.8 percent for administrative staff: four percent for 2022 and 4.4 percent for this year. This excludes London Underground staff, who received an eight per cent raise last April.
Lord said the offer, which is being implemented despite the fact that not all unions have agreed, was “reasonable” against the backdrop of TfL’s post-pandemic financial challenges.
Fiona Brunskill, TfL’s acting director of people, said: “While the offer did not receive unanimous support, two of our labor unions agreed to it.
“How much we can offer for salary increases has been a key talking point throughout.
“We are aware that some colleagues would have liked this offer to go even higher, but unfortunately this was the best offer we could make to meet our funding agreement and accompanying financial sustainability commitments.”