Bad news for commuters and sightseers heading to London as Underground services will start running down today (8 July) due strike action by workers over pay and new all-night Tubes.
The strike by London Underground workers with the RMT, Unite and TSSA unions begins at 6.30pm with services not returning to normal until Thursday (9 July) from 6.30pm. ASLEF drivers are also planning 24-hour strike action on the Tube from 9.30pm on Wednesday.
Many services are unlikely to fully return to normal until Friday morning but DLR, London Overground and TfL Rail staff are not on strike.
Transport for London (TfL) are advising passengers: “to complete their Tube journeys by 6pm on Wednesday 8 July, and to travel earlier if possible.
“Tube services are expected to be exceptionally busy between 4pm and 6pm on Wednesday and will begin to stop running after this time. There will be no service at all on Thursday 9 July.”
“All other public transport services and roads will be much busier than usual, so please check before you travel.” Check the TfL website for the latest information and London travel advice or follow @TfLTravelAlerts on Twitter.
Workers are in dispute over pay and conditions for a 24-hour weekend Tube service due to be introduced in September, and will now join a planned 24-hour walkout by members of the drivers’ union Aslef, which begins at 9.30pm on Wednesday evening.
Talks had been held between unions and management at the conciliation service Acas to try and halt the strikes, but plans for a strike of the RMT and TSSA to coincide with that of Aslef have since been confirmed.
The unions are in dispute over pay and conditions for the new all-night underground service, due to start at weekends from mid-September on some sections of the Central, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria lines.
The RMT said its members voted by 91% in favour of strikes and 96% for other forms of industrial action.
RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “”The industrial relations situation on the Tube has sunk to an almost unprecedented low with all four unions united and balloting for action over pay and working arrangements due to be ushered in under the guise of the mayor’s “night Tube” vanity project in just 10 weeks’ time.”
Finn Brennan, chief negotiator for Aslef added: “It remains extremely difficult to see how the strike can be avoided unless management are prepared to make a serious offer to attempt to resolve this dispute.”
Underground management reaction
London Underground’s chief operating officer Steve Griffiths said: “Londoners and businesses overwhelmingly back the night Tube. It will make life easier for everyone, cut journey times, create jobs and boost the economy.
“Most of our staff will not be affected by the new services at all because it affects only five of 11 lines.
“Some staff will actually work fewer nights than they do now because we have hired 137 more train operators specifically for the night Tube.
“The train staff who will be affected are being asked to work around an additional seven nights each year on average, with no increase in their total current hours. No one is being asked to work more hours.
“In return, we are offering a realistic pay increase this year and next, as well as an additional payment for night Tube working.”