Tube strike: walkout set to go ahead on Wednesday

Aug 3, 2015

Unite has already turned down a new proposal to avoid a Tube strike. Will other unions follow suit?

A new deal has been offered to four unions in a bid to avert a fresh Tube strike on Wednesday, says the BBC.

Unite has already turned down the proposal, which was also offered to the RMT, Aslef and TSSA. The other unions are expected to respond to the offer today.

The row is over new Night Tube services, due to launch on 12 September. London Underground bosses say the new proposal includes revised terms to working conditions, but they have been unable to increase the pay offer to staff. However, they insist the deal aims to improve the "work-life balance".

The strike, set to start at 9.30pm on Wednesday, follows a walkout that closed the entire network at the start of last month. That was the most severe strike on the network for 13 years, and should all four unions decide to strike again, it's expected that disruption on Thursday will be on a similar level.

There are several options for Londoners to avoid chaos this week. In a repeat of the measure taken during last month's strike, some 200 extra buses will be put on by Transport for London. However, there were still lengthy queues at bus stops during the last strike, so allow plenty of time.

Some people dodged congestion by using riverboat services last month, and there are plans to boost those services on Thursday. Evans Cycles is also offering free bike servicing this week in many London locations to help get people roadworthy. 

TfL will provide a dedicated page on its website if the strike goes ahead. 

Tube strike: drivers set date for another 24-hour walkout

14 July

Unions have announced another Tube strike, just a week after the biggest London Underground walkout in more than a decade.

Members of the Aslef union have said they will stage a 24-hour strike from 9.30pm on Wednesday 5 August, amid an ongoing row over the new Night Tube service.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union, the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) and Unite union – all of which joined Aslef in strike action last week – are yet to formally announce whether they will walk out on 5 August.

Conciliation service Acas has invited the four trade unions to attend negotiations with London Underground today.

Steve Griffiths, London Underground's chief operating officer, said: "We have made a very fair and reasonable offer on pay and the introduction of the night Tube and we continue to urge the trade unions to put it to their members. We will be at Acas for further discussions to resolve this issue and trust the trade unions will be too."

Tom Edwards, BBC London transport correspondent, said it was "not a massive surprise" that Aslef had named a new date for a Tube strike as the dispute has not yet been resolved.

"The unions still have concerns over the introduction of the Night Tube and extra night and weekend shifts and how it will erode the work/life balance of employees," he says.

"But the concerns aren't just about that, they also cover pay and the closure of ticket offices. And with four unions involved with varying issues it means finding a resolution will be harder."

Tomorrow the government is expected to announce plans to reform trade unions and protect public services against strikes.

In what The Times says could be "the biggest showdown over industrial relations for a generation", the proposals include a new 50 per cent voting threshold for union ballot turnouts and a 40 per cent minimum vote in favour of industrial action by public service workers.

Londoners warned of more 'summer chaos'

10 July

After London's worst Tube strike for more than a decade, commuters have been warned that they could be "plunged into more Tube strike chaos" this summer.

The 24-hour walkout shut down the London Underground, forcing millions of people to battle for alternative modes of transport. Commuters were stuck in long queues for buses, taxis and bike hire, while roads and pavements were congested across the capital.

The strike is estimated to have cost London's economy around £50m in lost productivity, says the Financial Times. "London could be plunged into more Tube strike chaos this summer if negotiations between London Underground managers and unions fail to reach an agreement," warns the newspaper.

The two sides are expected to resume talks early next week. Finn Brennan, a district organiser at Aslef, which represents Tube drivers, said his members were willing to go on strike again.

"The strength of feeling among our members is such that we have to take action. Genuinely it's not what we want to do but that's why we're appealing to the company to negotiate," he said.

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No rail service of any sort west of Exeter, so England cut off from Cornwall and likely to be for weeks; but that is obviously much less important than a few people having to get a bus rather than the tube in that London...

Economically it is.