Tube strike 2014: Boris Johnson launches furious attack on 'narrow minded union barons' and brands 48-hour walkout 'mad'

Mayor's searing criticism of tube strike comes as morning talks to avert chaos on the London Underground collapse
  • @TomEPPayne

Boris Johnson today lashed out at “narrow minded union barons” and branded tonight’s Tube strike as “mad”.

The looming 48-hour walkout is being staged by members of the Rail, Marine and Transport union (RMT) who are protesting against the planned closure of ticket stations.

This morning eleventh hour talks to avert the strike collapsed and descended into bitter accusations.

According to the Evening Standard, RMT chiefs accused London Underground of deliberately “lying” over the key issue of voluntary redundancies.

But Mayor Boris Johnson lambasted the strike as “pointless” and claimed the RMT was “set against modernisation”.

“Despite dozens of meetings over several months, the RMT chose only on Friday to make fresh demands. It seems they are more interested in fighting over the leadership of the RMT than the interests of their members,” he said.

“Commuters and businesses will suffer because a few narrow minded union barons are currently flexing their muscles in a fight for the leadership of a union where just 30 per cent of members support a strike.”

City Hall sources told the Evening Standard that the RMY was “hell bent” on going through with the strike because rivals for the late Bob Crow’s crown wanted to look tough.

Acting RMT secretary Mick Cash gave a furious response to Mayor Boris Johnson’s comments. He said: “The RMT has never once said that LU should tear up the contractual redundancy agreement. It is a lie”.

A second three-day strike is due to take place next Monday unless the union and TFL reach a resolution.

Read more: Tube strike April 2014: When does it start? And which lines will be closed?