London Underground drivers are set to go on strike from Friday, causing travel chaos for millions of commuters and Christmas shoppers.
RMT union members are set to begin a series of 24-hour strikes tomorrow over changes to staff cycles to restart Night Tube after talks between TfL and union leaders broke down.
Victoria, Central, Northern, Piccadilly and Jubilee lines will be grounded Friday, causing further disruption to the Bakerloo, Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines.
There will also be activity on Central and Victoria lines from 8.30pm to 4.30am every Saturday and Sunday between this weekend and December 18 – the last Saturday before Christmas.
TfL says these lines will likely be disrupted hard from 7 p.m. every weekend in a big hit for revelers in December.
A source from TfL told the London Evening Standard this morning that “a huge amount has not been developed” since the industrial strike was announced, but that TfL “remains open to talks” with RMT.
Passengers leave a crowded underground train still wearing face masks in London
Which metro lines will be affected and why do drivers strike?
What is happening?
RMT is scheduled to begin a 24-hour exit on the five pipelines from 4.30am on Friday, November 26.
What pipelines will be affected?
TfL said the Tube lines that are set to be affected are:
- 4:30 a.m. November 26 – 4:29 a.m. November 27 (Jubilee Center, North, Piccadilly, and Victoria)
- 8:30 PM Nov 27 – 4:29 AM Nov 28 (Central Victoria)
- 8:30 PM Dec 3 – 4:29 AM Dec 4 (Central Victoria)
- 8:30 PM Dec 4 – 4:29 AM Dec 5 (Central Victoria)
- 8:30 PM Dec 10 – 4:29 AM Dec 11 (Central Victoria)
- 8:30 PM Dec 11 – 4:29 AM Dec 12 (Central Victoria)
- 8:30 PM Dec 17 – 4:29 AM Dec 18 (Central Victoria)
- 4:30 AM Dec 18 – 4:29 AM Dec 19 (Jubilee Center, North, Piccadilly and Victoria)
Why do Tube drivers strike?
TfL has announced that Night Tube service in London will resume from 27 November on the Victoria and Central lines.
The Central East West Line and the North South Victoria Lines are set to operate at night on Friday and Saturday of each week.
RMT says the changes to ROTA have resulted in “unacceptable and intolerable demands” on its members and their work-life balance.
Subway drivers protest staff maneuvers To restart the Night Underground, which is set to resume services late Saturday night through Sunday morning on Victoria and Central lines.
TfL insists all other Tube unions agreed in May to the change in Rotas, which came after 200 Night Tube employees were integrated into TfL’s ‘day Tube’ workforce, and called the strike action “unnecessary”.
But Mick Lynch, RMT’s general secretary, accused Tube bosses of “openly refusing to consider the serious grievances at the heart of the dispute,” but added that the union also “remains open to talks.”
The union says the changes have led to “unacceptable and intolerable demands” on its members.
Similar strikes were planned over the summer over the same issue, which was called off after “last trench” talks with TfL.
Mayor Sadiq Khan and TFL are “confident” they can restart night services, but said they may be able to run fewer MRT trains than they had hoped.
TfL may face more turmoil over Christmas as ASLEF threatens that its members may strike over changes to TfL’s pension plans.
TfL is required to conduct a review of its pension plans as a condition of the funding deal agreed with the government.
ASLEF tube regulator Finn Brennan said there would be a “strong and ongoing strike across the London Underground” if the changes were imposed, although the dates were not confirmed.
Sir Brendan Barber, former general secretary of the TUC and current chair of the ACAS, has been appointed to lead a “truly independent” review of TfL pensions.
TfL Commissioner Andy Byford said there was “no predetermined outcome” to the review and said “we will report back in due course”.
In a statement today, Lynch said: “This strike is about tearing up the popular, family-friendly conventions that helped make the original Night Tube such a success.
Instead, the company wants to cut costs and gather all drivers in a pool where they can be ejected from one pole to the next at management’s request.
We have done our best in ACAS and direct talks since coming out to resolve this dispute but it is clear that LU chiefs are only driven by bottom line and have absolutely no interest in the welfare of their employees or the service of the passengers.
This strike, and its serious consequences in the run-up to Christmas, could have been avoided if Tube management had not completely eliminated the dedicated Night Tube staff and made practical arrangements in order to cut staff numbers and costs.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan meets with members of the community choir for Battersea Power Station, at Battersea Power Station London Underground, south London
We’ve been warning for months that cutting 200 jobs for overnight subway drivers would create a nightmare for employees and that LU needs to start facing that reality and soon.
The union remains available for further talks even at this late stage.
On Monday he said: “While Tube bosses have routinely laid off staff and left stations without staff, with all the obvious risks, we’ve campaigned relentlessly for the front line, physical presence of visible staff on stations and platforms,” he said on Monday.
We are now compensated by imposing work arrangements that destroy the work-life balance for our members. No one should underestimate the outrage this issue has created among drivers.
All this could have been avoided if the Tube management had not eliminated the dedicated Night Tube staff and made completely workable arrangements in order to reduce staff numbers and costs.
TfL has been contacted for comment.