Boris broke his promises, so can we really blame the RMT for striking?

Is it any wonder that the RMT is striking when the majority of Londoners don't want ticket offices closed?

Is it any wonder that the RMT is striking when the majority of Londoners don’t want ticket offices closed? asks Jenny Jones

Can we really blame the RMT?

This week I heard Boris blame infighting in the RMT as the reason for the strike that is making London travel so much harder for millions of Londoners and tourists. But he was turning a blind eye to the behaviour of Transport for London (TfL), his own Transport Authority.

Boris has plans to close all London Underground ticket offices. It’s true that the offices are currently used by only 3 per cent of the travelling public, but when you realise that is 100,000 people every day you might start to see that it could prove problematic. Those people will have to use machines, or find help to use them, and for many people, perhaps disabled or old, that can make travelling hard or even impossible.

If we add to this the fact that Boris has twice opposed such ticket office cuts – when the previous Mayor, Ken Livingstone proposed cutting 40 – it’s obvious he has broken his promises to Londoners, including the RMT.

Boris has also presided over annual fare hikes above the rate of inflation every year from 2008 to 2013, averaging a real increase of 11 per cent. So at a time when he is hitting Londoners’ pockets way over inflation, he’s also cutting services such as ticket offices.

Where’s the money going? Some is being misspent on vanity projects such as the New Bus and the cable car. So we have a Mayor who wastes public money and who breaks his promises, such the one about TfL doing a station by station review which might have led to some ticket offices staying open.

Is it any wonder that the RMT is striking? The majority of Londoners don’t want the ticket offices closed. Boris has a real cheek in blaming the RMT – they are fighting for all of us.

Jenny Jones is a member of the London Assembly for the Green Party

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