Strike set to disrupt London tram services

Updated 12.00

MOST tram services in south London are set to be cancelled tomorrow, as members of ASLEF prepare to strike in a pay dispute with the system’s operator Tram Operations Limited, which is owned by FirstGroup.

Transport for London said it had a contingency plan, which would provide a limited service between Wimbledon and East Croydon on lines 3 or 4. Two early morning services will continue from Croydon to New Addington to pick up shift workers.

ASLEF said 113 drivers had voted to take action, with just one voting against.

ASLEF district organiser Finn Brennan said: ‘Our members showed their reaction to the company’s pay offer by returning a Yes vote of 99.1 per cent in favour of strike action, on a turnout of almost 90 per cent. Management have not changed the offer. Despite six months of talks, management are not prepared to make an offer that recognises that our members do a difficult and stressful job and deserve to be properly rewarded. Staff on Tramlink have seen their pension benefits slashed and are paid much less than those in similar roles in other TfL modes. They want to see real improvements to reflect the responsible job they do.’

TOL’s owner FirstGroup is disappointed’. A spokesman continued: We have made a reasonable, above-inflation pay offer to our employees and pension benefits have not been reduced.

‘The trade union demand for a basic pay rise of 20 per cent over three years is unsustainable and we urge the trade unions to work with us to achieve an outcome that addresses their position and enables us to keep providing the best possible service.’

TfL’s general manager for trams Mark Davis said: ‘We urge ASLEF and TOL to continue discussions and settle their dispute without disrupting customers’ journeys. If this strike goes ahead, we are planning to run a limited service between Wimbledon and East Croydon, and will ensure customers have all the information they need to re-plan their journeys.’