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Rail workers protest hundreds of job cuts on day Liz line opens

LONDON’S railways are in “managed decline,” despite the fanfare welcoming the long-delayed opening of the new Elizabeth line, RMT warned today.

The rail union said that the “world will be told how great transport in London is” now that the £18.8 billion Crossrail project, which links Reading and Essex via the centre of the capital, is finally up and running.

However, RMT protesters at Tottenham Court Road station highlighted that the massively overbudget railway, which was meant to start running in December 2018, has been launched while thousands of jobs are “under threat from Tory cuts to transport funding.”

A “pensions grab is under way and working agreements are being torn up,” they charged, as ministers put pressure on Transport for London (TfL) bosses to make savings in response to the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The attacks, which are denied by management, will force workers out and leave those that remain “poorer and knackered,” warned the demonstrators, who urged a fightback, saying: “We have the power to change their plans.”

On Monday, the union announced a third day of strike action on June 6, after two days of walkouts in early March crippled much of the network. 

TSSA, another transport union, welcomed the “engineering triumph” of the new line, which will cut some journey times by half, but branded its complicated ticketing system a “dog’s breakfast.”

General secretary Manuel Cortes said: “To make Crossrail the success it should be, the government must sort out the ticketing mess.

“The complicated combination of TfL fares, contactless and national rail fares structures makes the mind boggle and will undoubtedly create additional work for station and ticket office staff.

“Government must drop plans to cut these dedicated staff, who are a lifeline for customers.”

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