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Ongoing labor dispute shuts down London Underground after negotiations fail

By Rich Klein
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The union blames London Underground managers for refusing to "rule out job cuts and detrimental changes to pensions." Officials say they have not proposed cuts to workers' pensions. File Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/5c498491f01fb7be5217f6cc2a7a417f/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
The union blames London Underground managers for refusing to "rule out job cuts and detrimental changes to pensions." Officials say they have not proposed cuts to workers' pensions. File Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License Photo

March 1 (UPI) -- About 10,000 employees of London's underground subway system went on strike and shut the rails down on Tuesday after negotiations with the government over pay, pensions and working conditions failed to reach a resolution.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers union said last week that the workers would walk off the job for 24 hours on both Tuesday and Thursday over the labor dispute with Transport for London.

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The planned walkout went ahead after government and union negotiators failed to reach a resolution on Monday in a meeting that lasted for 20 minutes.

The union, which represents more than 83,000 workers across the transportation industry, said there will also be overnight strikes for the Central and Victoria lines on Fridays and Saturdays through mid-June. Transport for London said commuters should expect "severe disruptions" across the system.

British transport secretary Grant Shapps called the strike "a kick in the teeth for Londoners" and urged London Mayor Sidiq Khan and the union to resolve the dispute. Shapps said the strike is "counterproductive."

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The union blamed London Underground managers for refusing to "rule out job cuts and detrimental changes to pensions." It said that 600 "front-line jobs" are in jeopardy and transportation officials want to make significant changes to pensions to drive down costs.

RELATED London Mayor Sadiq Khan announces increase in bus, tube fares

Transport for London has disputed the union's concerns and said cuts to workers' pensions have not been proposed.

The London Underground, known colloquially as the tube, consists of close to 300 stations in and around London.

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