Home Business News Tube strike: TfL warns of severe disruption over Christmas period

Tube strike: TfL warns of severe disruption over Christmas period

by LLB Reporter
22nd Nov 21 10:10 am

Transport for London (TfL) is warning Tube customers that unnecessary planned strike action by the RMT union in the run-up to Christmas could cause severe disruption on the Underground network if it goes ahead.

The RMT is planning to disrupt services on two days and eight nights in November and December as part of a dispute over new Tube driver rosters, despite the rosters providing greater flexibility for drivers as well as permanent work and job certainty. The changes to driver rosters were agreed with all other recognised unions in May 2021.

If the RMT goes ahead with its unnecessary action, it would severely disrupt services on the Central, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria lines on Friday 26 November and Saturday 18 December. It could mean a significantly reduced service on these lines all day with little or no service in places. It is also likely to mean much busier services on the Tube lines that are not affected by the strike (Bakerloo, Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan) as customers seek alternative routes. Thameslink services and buses through central London are also expected to be busier than normal.

Customers who need to travel using TfL services are advised to check before they travel, allow more time for their journey and travel at quieter times where possible. Customers in central London are advised to walk or cycle all or part of their journeys where possible if the planned action goes ahead. Those arriving into London via National Rail stations are encouraged to complete journeys on foot or by using Santander Cycles as buses from London termini will be busier than normal. Services on the morning of Saturday 27 November and Sunday 19 December may also be disrupted, so TfL is advising customers to check before they travel.

The RMT has also called for strikes to disrupt the re-introduction of Night Tube services on the Central and Victoria lines from the evening of Saturday 27 November and on weekends throughout December. TfL is warning customers that both lines are expected to be severely disrupted from 19:00 onwards, with little or no service from this time overnight on 27-28 November, 3-5 December, 10-12 December and 17-18 December. Customers are advised to check before they travel and use buses to complete their journeys where required.

TfL previously announced that the Night Tube will be returning in time for the busy Christmas period after being suspended since March 2020 due to the pandemic. Services on the Central and Victoria lines are planned to run throughout the night on Fridays and Saturdays from Saturday 27 November, providing more options for customers who need to travel at night either for leisure or for work, while also making journey times shorter and offering additional safe routes home.

London Underground has made changes to driver rosters to preserve a near-normal Tube service while also giving drivers the opportunity for full-time work and long-term job certainty. London Underground has also met with the RMT through conciliation service ACAS on this issue many times over the last few months and previous strike action was suspended while these constructive discussions continued. Talks are continuing as TfL hopes the issue can be resolved without disruptive strike action.

Night Tube drivers were offered the opportunity to join the full-time driver pool on a permanent basis, with Night Tube duties spread across all drivers. A number of drivers have been able to stay part-time at their own request, with some of them moving to part-time positions during the day service to help balance their work and personal lives. No Tube driver has lost their job or will lose their job as a result of these changes, nor has any driver been forced to switch to part- or full-time work if they do not want to.

The changes being made would mean that, on average, a driver on the lines served by the Night Tube would be expected to work around four Night Tube weekends a year. Drivers already work some late-night shifts, whether or not on Night Tube lines, and regularly swap shifts with other drivers to suit their personal preferences.

Nick Dent, Director of London Underground Customer Operations, said: “At such a pivotal time for the capital’s recovery, we are hugely disappointed that the RMT is threatening London with this unnecessary action. By making changes to Tube driver rosters, we have provided greater flexibility for drivers as well as permanent work and job certainty, something welcomed by all other unions.

“The return of Night Tube is a hugely significant moment for the night-time economy and for Londoners travelling late at night who will have improved journey times and an additional safe travel option. We have been meeting with the RMT for a number of months through ACAS to try and resolve their issues and we remain open to talking further.”

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