Later this month members of the Rail Maritime Transport Union (RMT) planned to begin a strike over a dispute with the London Underground. The strike was planned to occur from 21:00 this evening until 01:00 on the 14th July, affecting the Piccadilly line. This strike coincided with President Donald Trump’s visit to the United Kingdom which is planned for the tomorrow until the 15th July. The strike would also affect football fans who desired to watch tonight’s England vs Croatia match. The coinciding events would significantly impact the London transport system, placing greater stress on additional transport providers including busses and the Overground. Motivation for the strike was not related towards opposition to the president. But nonetheless, the timing of the strike is damaging to commuters, tourists and the London Underground.
There are various opposition protest marches planned during President Trumps visit. Some are occurring within London and others across the nation. The original state visit has been postponed as a result of President Trump’s fear of protest. The visit next week is for business and will be Trump’s first visit to the United Kingdom as president. National protests including the flying of a baby Trump balloon in the capital are planned. The Mayor of Sheffield has ‘banned’ president Trump form visiting the city during his visit. Students have also planned to protest at Blenheim palace. Protestors are opposing president Trump and also the expenses incurred from his visit. Recently, a YouGov poll stipulated that 11 percent of Britons believe Trump is a great or good president. But 67 percent agreed that he was a poor/ failing president. The majority of the population object to the president’s visit. Over five million pounds will be spent on policing, with further funds being allocated towards president Trump’s visit to his golf club in Scotland. Approximately 150,000 protestors are expected nationwide, with around 100,000 in the capital. A further 30,000 football fans are predicted to visit London this evening too, brining further disruption to the tube over the week.
The Tube dispute is between the RMT and the London underground. The RMT have cited issues with lack of labour, the London Underground breaking its previously allocated agreements and ignoring maintenance issues with their fleet of trains. Talks have occurred consistently throughout the last few months, but no agreements have been reached. The strikes were planned to impact the Piccadilly line, which includes Heathrow airport. The 52 hour walk-out would affect a significant portion of London during its busiest season. Mick Cash, general secretary for the RMT has stated that “Every effort by RMT reps to negotiate a settlement has been obstructed by the company and it is now down to LU [London Underground] bosses to start listening to their members, take the raft of issues at the heart of this dispute seriously and start engaging in a way that will allow us to make some genuine progress.” This follows various other tube strikes that have aggravated London commuters and tourists throughout 2018 and previous years.
The decision to cease the strike over the coming days is marvellous. Both football and anti-Trump demonstrators will now be able to commute into London without obstruction from the Underground. The RMT remains a consistent issue for the London Underground and its customers, the union seeks expansions and amendments that are often too ambitious for the company to complete. The conflict between the union and the London Underground will remain, with further industrial action inevitable. But London can rest easy this weekend, ensuring that tourists, football fans and commuters alike will be able to travel through the capital easily.