Tube strike: Northern Line drivers walk out over sacking
Delays are possible due to a Tube strike on the Northern Line caused by the firing of a driver
Commuters could face delays today due to industrial action by drivers on the Northern Line. The Tube strike results from the dismissal of a driver for "failing an alcohol breath test," the BBC reports.
Mick Cash, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union, said that the sacked driver had a "specific medical condition" and described the dismissal as "unwarranted".
RMT members began their strike at 4.30am and will not return to work for 24 hours.
Phil Hufton, London Underground’s chief operating officer, criticised the RMT's decision to strike, insisting that the dismissal was legitimate.
"The RMT has absolutely no basis to take strike action after one of their members was dismissed for failing an alcohol breath test," Hufton said.
He added: "To ensure the safety of our employees and customers we operate a zero-tolerance policy towards alcohol at work. At no point to date has the RMT leadership disputed our alcohol testing process, which is fully in line with medical standards and is representative of best practice in the rail industry."
Cash said that the decision to strike was only taken after attempts to resolve the dispute through the conciliation service Acas had broken down.
"Talks at Acas, which RMT had been calling for with the objective of reaching a fair and just settlement in this case, have broken down due to a total refusal of the management side to engage in any kind of meaningful discussions," he said.
"As a result of London Underground’s disregard for negotiations and their own procedures Monday’s action goes ahead as planned."
London Underground said that it hoped to run a good service on the Northern Line throughout the day. Currently there are no reports of disruption.
Tube strike called off after RMT hails 'progress'
A 48-hour Tube strike planned by London Understand staff has been called off after "substantial progress" in negotiations held at the conciliation service Acas.
Representatives from the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union and Transport for London (TFL) had yesterday failed to reach agreement, but at lunchtime today the union said that it was calling off the strike.
"RMT has been able to secure significant movement in three key areas which have allowed our executive to suspend both the action scheduled for next week and the on-going overtime ban," Mick Cash, the union's general secretary, said.
"The substantial improvements we have agreed allow us to move forwards but the Union's core opposition to the austerity-led cuts on London Underground has not shifted an inch and we remain vigilant to further developments and their impact."
TFL has not yet responded to the breakthrough.
If the Tube strike had gone ahead, RMT members would have been instructed to walk out from 9pm on Tuesday 14 October until 8.59pm on Thursday 16 October.
The dispute is part of a long-running row over cuts and Tube ticket office closures. Speaking before the action was called off Cash said it was designed to force London Mayor Boris Johnson to instruct his senior officials to back away from their "toxic cuts package" and engage in "serious and meaningful" negotiations.
"The cuts, currently being bulldozed through, would de-staff whole areas of the tube system at a time of surging passenger demand and would make evacuation and other basic safety procedures a physical impossibility," he said. "The axing of ticket offices and station staffing grades would render the tube a no-go zone for many people with disabilities and for women travelling alone."
Transport for London chiefs had condemned the strike as "pointless" and said they expected to keep more than half of Tube services running and 80 per cent of stations open, as they did during the last RMT strike in April.
Tube strike: Central Line disrupted by walkout
Drivers on the London Underground's Central Line have walked out this morning in a dispute over working conditions.
There is currently no service through central London on the line. Trains are running between Leytonstone and Epping and between White City and Ealing Broadway, but with severe delays. The Waterloo and City Line is also suspended.
All other lines are unaffected by the Tube strike, which lasts until midnight tonight. Services are expected to return to normal tomorrow morning.
Strike action was overwhelmingly backed by members of the Aslef train drivers' union, which has accused London Underground of a "failure to treat drivers with the respect and dignity they deserve".
Nine in ten of the balloted members backed the walkout.
Finn Brennan, an organiser for the union, said: "This dispute has been brought about by management intransigence on a range of issues, but at its heart is management's refusal to treat drivers with the respect and dignity they deserve at work.
"Our members will not tolerate a situation where vulnerable people leave sickness review meetings in tears and drivers with years and years of good and long service are threatened with disciplinary action for a delay of 33 seconds in leaving a terminus."
London Underground's general manager Lance Ramsay said he was "disappointed" that the union had voted in favour of strike action while discussions were still ongoing. "Strike action is not necessary and we urge them to continue talks with us to understand and resolve their concerns," he said. ·