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London Underground workers set to strike on Thursday after talks fail

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Conservative Party annual conference in Birmingham

LONDON (Reuters) -A London Underground workers strike will go ahead this week after talks failed to resolve a contract dispute, one of the United Kingdom's largest trade unions said on Tuesday, leaving millions of passengers facing disruption.

"TfL (Transport for London) have missed a golden opportunity to make progress in these negotiations and avoid strike action on Thursday," Mick Lynch, the general secretary of the National Union Of Rail, Maritime And Transport Workers (RMT), said on Tuesday.

Up to five million passengers each day use the London Underground, which is also known as the "Tube." It is the world's oldest underground network, with about 250 miles (400 km) of track and 272 stations.

TfL cautioned passengers that "limited or no service" was expected on the entire network on Nov. 10, adding that the impact from the walkout will continue into Friday morning.

Railway workers in Britain, like employees in many other sectors, have been in contract disputes this year as they attempt to get pay increases to help soften the blow of inflation that has risen to double-digit levels.

Glynn Barton, TfL's chief operating officer, apologised to Londoners for the pending disruption and said the company remained open for discussions with RMT and Unite, another union representing London Underground workers.

"We met with the RMT and Unite this week to urge them to call off this Tube strike as no proposals to change pensions or conditions have been made. Unfortunately, no agreement could be reached," Barton said in a statement.

A strike across national rail routes originally planned for this week was called off on Friday after railway company heads and workers agreed to sit down for talks.

(Reporting by Muvija M; Editing by Paul Sandle and Paul Simao)