'No Strike Deal': More Tube Strikes Under Boris Than Ken

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 88 months ago
'No Strike Deal': More Tube Strikes Under Boris Than Ken

The New Statesman has been busy working out the number of strikes under Ken and Boris. London endured 16 tube strikes during Livingstone's eight year tenure. Since Johnson has been in charge, there have been 20 strikes.

This has, inevitably, led to catcalls about the Mayor's "no strike deal" manifesto pledge, particularly since Boris has admitted to having "not spoken directly with union leaders but with plenty of people in Government". Compare this with the former Mayor, writing in 2009, saying he "invested a lot of time in getting to know the leading personalities in the Tube unions and had many meetings with Underground staff" - but given that Ken and the unions both sit on the left, it's not so surprising they'd be able to find some common ground. However, relations with the current administration probably aren't helped when Johnson urges people to "bombard" ASLEF's website to protest against a strike that hasn't even been balloted for (clearly the Mayor needs to keep a closer eye on Londonist).

However, it might be time for Johnson to acknowledge that TfL are not doing a brilliant job at negotiating with the unions and get a bit more hands on. Londoners are increasingly weary with this merry-go-round of walkouts and sniping from both sides. Is anyone prepared to be the bigger man?

Photo by avail from the Londonist Flickr pool.

Last Updated 12 January 2011


There has also been a lot more recession and cutbacks whilst Boris has been in power - isn't this one of the main reasons for strikes?


Of the top of my head I can't think of any strike being recession or cut back related, accept possibly those to do with station staffing - planned by TfL under Ken, before the recession - on which he really can't make to much of a stand given his manifesto commitment was to stop the programme.


"I will also defend local ticket offices. Ken Livingstone plans to close a large
number of ticket offices at Tube stations, predominantly in outer London because he
claims that the increase in Oyster use has made them surplus to requirements.
However, what he has not taken into account is that local people feel it is important
there is a manned ticket office at their station, as often there are not enough Oyster
outlets in the local area.

There has been little consultation with local residents, and I think it is wrong that
some local stations could lose this service. I will stop the planned ticket office
closures, and focus on increasing the number of Oyster outlets in outer London
so local people have greater access to Oyster."

Most of the strikes have been about working conditions (bank holidays, T&Cs) safety issues, disciplinary issues or issues to do with how Metronet and Tubelines have been incorporated into TfL. TFLs operating budget really hasn't felt much of a recessionary impact (yet), the main consequence has been the delaying of upgrade work and cancellation of capital projects like disable access, the tram and DLR extensions.