Sadiq Khan: Tube strikes put women and girls at risk late at night

26 November 2021, 13:23 | Updated: 26 November 2021, 13:26

By Daisy Stephens

Sadiq Khan has told LBC that the strikes over night shifts on the London Underground will put women and girls at risk.

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The Mayor of London said the Night Tube - which is due to restart on Friday - is vital for keeping women and girls safe in the capital, and said he was "absolutely frustrated and annoyed" the strike went ahead.

"The Night Tube is crucial, not just for our economy, not just for our night time economy, but for women and girls to feel safer going out and about our city," he said.

"Why are women and girls having to impose curfews on themselves at night time?

"And the Night Tube is one way to make women and girls feel safer."

He added that the night time economy "desperately" needed people to return to London's streets at night.

Read more: London Tube strike: When is it happening and what lines will be disrupted?

Read more: Londoners cram onto remaining Tube trains as five lines hit by strike

London Underground drivers have walked out for 24 hours, beginning from 4.30am on Friday, to protest TfL's (Transport for London) axing of Night Tube staff, meaning drivers will need to work night shifts.

Further strikes are planned overnight on December 3, 4, 10, 11 and 17.

Mr Khan said the fact they were going ahead was a sign of failure in negotiations between TfL and RMT.

"Other trade unions have accepted the Night Tube returning on these terms, it's really important that we continue to talk to RMT," he said.

"I think strikes are a sign of failure, and that's why it's important to talk.

He added: "This is not about being beastly towards one of the trade unions by saying 'you, this one trade union, are causing massive problems' through our city today... massive problems will be caused this evening, massive problems tomorrow, all of which could have been avoided."

The Piccadilly Line is one of six affected by the strikes
The Piccadilly Line is one of six affected by the strikes. Picture: Alamy

"All the unions have worked really, really amicably... to get a deal except for RMT," he said.

"And what I say to the RMT is that TfL are more than willing to talk, really happy to get back around the table, Acas are ready to host these meetings, let's resolve this to avoid further strikes."

When asked about the comments Grant Shapps made on LBC this morning, with the Transport Secretary saying people had "had enough" of disruption and that the Government had been "extremely generous" towards TfL, Mr Khan said Londoners were being "punished for doing the right thing" during the pandemic.

"The only reason why TfL needs financial support from the Government is because of the pandemic," he said.

"Londoners did the right thing and stayed at home.

"Had Londoners not done the right thing, and used public transport to go to work, Grant Shapps would have been the first person slagging off Londoners.

"We're damned if we do and damned if we don't."

He accused the Government of playing political games, saying: "They're punishing Londoners because the mayor is Labour."

He said: "We've got 16 days until this money runs out, we need a long-term financial deal, if we don't get a long-term deal from the Government, if we don't get the money we need after December 11, we could have up to 20 per cent of our bus services being cut, almost 10 per cent of our tube services cut.

"That's not good for Londoners, it's definitely not good for our country."