London’s newest railway could be about to get its first train strike, as the TSSA union has started balloting members on the Elizabeth line for strike action over pay.

The TSSA represents management grades employed by TfL through its Rail for London Infrastructure (RfLI) subsidiary including Traffic Managers, Service Infrastructure Managers and Incident Response Managers.

A strike by these staff would likely stop services running through the core tunnels in the centre of the line.

The union says that RfLI has offered a 4% pay rise, however, workers at MTR – the outsourced part of the Elizabeth line – received an 8.2% increase this year. The TSSA also says that staff at MTR, in similar roles to TSSA members in RfLi, are on salaries up to £30,000 more than their RfLi equivalents.

Talks at ACAS over recent weeks have failed to make any breakthrough, so TSSA has moved to ballot for industrial action. In an indicative ballot last month, members voted 93% in favour of taking strike action and almost 97% in favour of taking action short of a strike (ASOS) with a turnout of 90%.

If this is replicated in the legal ballot, it will meet the thresholds to allow for a strike to take place. Due to the timings, if strike action were to be called, the earliest date would be 5th January, which could allow a strike on the Elizabeth line to be coordinated with planned strike action by the RMT union on the national rail network.

Mel Taylor, TSSA Organiser, said: “Strike action by these workers would bring services across the Elizabeth Line to a standstill. There’s no need for it to come to that if RfLI can see sense and produce a fair offer which doesn’t continue to leave their staff the poor relations of the network.”

In related news, TfL’s latest board papers have revealed that an estimated 39% of total passenger kilometres on the Elizabeth line has come from passengers switching away from other London Underground lines and a further 14% from the DLR.

However, there are also early indications of the potential of the new line to generate new rail trips. Rail demand from stations in the Canary Wharf area has grown by 25%, and in the Woolwich area by 20%, well above background growth. There is also a large increase in usage at Tottenham Court Road station that is not being offset with (rail) reductions elsewhere, suggesting the generation of new demand.

During a typical weekday (Tuesday-Thursday) the Elizabeth line is now seeing over half a million passenger journeys on the whole line, and a quarter of a million using the central section.

This article was published on ianVisits


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