Tube customers could be left stranded with the looming threat of union strikes in the lead up to Christmas, warns Transport for London.
The planned strikes by the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) workers , which TfL have deemed “unnecessary” will disrupt services on two days and eight nights in November and December as part of a dispute over new Tube driver rosters.
Services will be affected on the Central, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria lines on Friday, 26 November and Saturday, 18 December. There will be a significantly reduced service on these lines all day, with little or no service in places. Tube lines not affected by the strike (Bakerloo, Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan) will inevitably be busier as TfL customers seek alternative routes.
Those who need to travel using TfL services are advised to check before travelling, allow more time for journeys and travel at quieter times. Customers in central London are advised to walk or cycle all or part of their journeys where possible.
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.
Image above: a Tube station at night, TfL say strike action will affect Night Tube services
Strike action prompted by reopening of Night Tube
The strikes are about changes to drivers’ rosters to facilitate the Night Tube, which is being re-started after a campaign about women’s safety following the murder of Sarah Everard.
TfL recently announced that the Night Tube will be returning in time for the Christmas period after being suspended since March 2020 due to the pandemic. Plans to reopen the Night Tube were brought forward after after thousands signed a petition to reinstate the service, in response to ongoing concerns about women’s safety in response to the murder of Sarah Everard.
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.
The RMT has 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 7pm 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.
RMT say work life balance of their members is at risk, but TfL say new rosters give staff greater flexibility
The RMT’s General Secretary Mick Lynch says the strike action is justified because:
“No one has worked harder to ensure a safe environment for women on London Underground than the RMT. While Tube bosses have axed staff and left stations routinely unstaffed, with all of the obvious risks, we have campaigned relentlessly for the front line, physical presence of visible staff on stations and platforms. We are now being repaid by the imposition of working arrangements that would wreck the work-life balance of our members.”
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.”
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