Mayor answers to London

Strikes

Question number0197/2011
Meeting date26/01/2011

Question by Joanne McCartney

Has the number of Tube strikes gone up since you were elected?

Answer by Boris Johnson (1st Term)

Based on a simple comparison of the numbers of days on which some form of strike action has taken place, there have been 21 since my election in 2008, compared with 17 during the previous MayorÂ’s time in office.

These facts perhaps underline the differences in approach - my predecessor apparently took the view that it was expedient, in response to their threats of strike action, to submit to the unsustainable and often spurious demands of the union leaderships. I take a different view, which is that we should not be swayed from well thought through plans or properly taken decisions simply because some union leaders seek to obstruct them.

This may have led to more strikes, but they have been utterly pointless, have achieved nothing, and in many cases have had little or no impact on services. I strongly urge the trades unionsÂ’ leaders to recognise this and commit to resolving issues through discussion and negotiation in future; will you do the same?

It is also worth noting that more than three-fourths of the strikes have not had the support of a majority of those who were balloted, with fewer than 50% of the trades union members concerned having voted yes to strike action. In some cases, much fewer - the recent strikes by RMT and TSSA members were supported by fewer than a third of those balloted. I believe that is unacceptable and that there is a real case for the Government to take action to ensure strikes cannot proceed without majority support.

Main question

Joanne McCartney