In Brief

Tube commuters face more delays as engineers begin industrial action

RMT union members start work-to-rule over 'unresolved breaches of agreed machineries and agreements'

London commuters face further disruption across the Tube network this week as engineers begin industrial action.

Following the breakdown of last-ditch talks, the staff who maintain London Underground trains will work-to-rule, halting overtime and withdrawing all "goodwill" gestures.

Regular maintenance and fixing problems on trains will therefore take longer, which will cause delays and disruption on the service, says the London Evening Standard

The Rail and Maritime Transport Union (RMT), which represents the engineers, says there remains "unresolved breaches of agreed machineries and agreements", including those covering the Night Tube.

Despite receiving a mandate for a strike, the union has instead opted for the continuous work-to-rule action.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "The current level of flagrant abuse and ignorance of long-standing policies and procedures by [London Underground] is appalling and the anger among RMT fleet grades members was clearly demonstrated in the ballot results."

A London Underground spokesman urged union leaders to work with them "constructively on the issues it has raised rather than threaten unnecessary industrial action".

But Cash said it was down to the company to "start taking this list of grievances seriously, to stop trying to impose fundamental changes to agreed policies and working conditions and to halt the bullying and harassment of our reps".

Only 43 per cent of those eligible to vote responded to the RMT's ballot, which would have made the action illegal under new strike laws brought in last Wednesday, which require 50 per cent of eligible members to take part in a ballot for industrial action to be legitimate, reports Digital Look.

It is not thought the action will immediately affect commuters' journeys but could have a greater effect later on in the week, adds the website. 

Night Tube strike: Drivers to vote on walkout

20 February

Train drivers on the London Underground's Night Tube services are to be balloted on strike action, just six months after 24-hour service was introduced.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) union, which represents just under half of Night Tube drivers, said industrial action is being considered over "outrageous" contracts preventing its members from moving into vacant full-time positions for at least 18 months.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash accused London Underground (LU) of discriminating against drivers and unfairly hampering their career progression, City AM reports. Night Tube station staff are apparently not subject to the same prohibition.

"This is a senseless and damaging policy that picks out one group of staff for negative treatment and of course the drivers are angry and that is why we are balloting for action," Cash said.

The RMT added that overtime pay is only offered to employees contracted for 35 hours a week, meaning that Night Tube train operators, who are currently contracted for 16 hours, have no way of claiming compensation for late finishes.

"RMT would call on LU to see sense, stop these stupid attacks on career progression and fair reward for overtime working and confirm that this discrimination against the Night Tube drivers has been lifted," said Cash.

The Aslef union, which represents most of the remaining drivers, is also understood to be considering industrial action.

The 24-hour weekend underground service was finally introduced in August 2016 after industrial disputes over pay and working hours.

London Underground operations director Peter McNaught told the BBC that the Night Tube service had been running for six months based on "agreements reached with the unions" and there was "no need" to threaten industrial action.

Central and Waterloo and City line drivers who belong to the RMT union are to stage a 24-hour walkout from Tuesday evening in an unrelated dispute.

Will crisis talks stop next week's Tube strikes?

31 January

Crisis talks are being held today in a last-ditch effort to halt strike action on the London Underground network next week.

More than 3,000 members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) union are due to walk out from 6pm on Sunday 5 February until 10am on Monday 6 February. This will be followed by further action between 10am on Tuesday 7 February until 1am on Wednesday 8 February.

The union is taking action over the proposed closure of ticket offices and the expected resulting loss of up to 900 jobs. Earlier this month, most stations in Zone 1 were forced to close after a strike on the issue.

RMT agreed to a new set of talks at Acas, the conciliation service, but warned that in addition to next month's planned strikes, more action may take place in March if an agreement cannot be reached.

The prospective job losses have also angered the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA), which represents ticket office staff, but it pulled out of next week's strike action after successful peace talks with Tube bosses.

Steve Griffiths, London Underground's chief operating officer, said: "We have made a proposal to both unions in order to end this dispute. We will be recruiting at least 650 new station staff this year, of which 325 will be additional new roles. 

"We are having further discussions this week to provide clarification on the implementation of these proposals.”

RMT is understood to have previously turned down lower recruitment numbers.

Meanwhile, talks between Aslef, the train drivers' union, and Southern rail today entered their ninth day in an effort to reach an agreement over driver-only operations, says the London Evening Standard.

Tube workers on Central line to stage 24-hour strike

25 January 

Tube workers on London's Central line will stage a 24-hour walk-out from 9pm tonight over what they say is the "forced displacement" of staff.

A reduced service will run across the Central line all day on Thursday, while there will be no service at all east of Leytonstone. A bus shuttle service will run between Epping and Chingford.

The Waterloo & City line will also be completely shut.

Commuters are being warned that other lines, although not affected by the strike itself, may be busier than usual.

The dispute has flared up around plans to transfer eight train operators between Central line depots, the BBC says.

Mick Cash, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union, said: "Our members will be sent out from pillar to post to plug gaps that are solely down to staffing shortages.

"With massive budget cuts in the pipeline at LU this is a straw in the wind as to how the company expects to operate in the future."

He also said "the door" had been "slammed in our faces" during negotiations with London Underground.Transport for London, which is urging workers to call off the strike, says it has made "reasonable efforts" to resolve the dispute.

Tube strike: RMT sets date for fresh industrial action

12 January

The RMT union has set the date for its next bout of industrial action on the Tube, after bringing the London Underground to a standstill on Monday.

 

Describing this week's walkout as "rock-solid strike action", the union today announced members will carry out further industrial action on 6 February.

 

"The union's executive has agreed, following extensive consultation with reps across the Tube network, that further, escalated strike action will be called from Monday 6th February unless London Underground meet RMT's reasonable demands on station staffing and safety," it said.

 

An ongoing overtime ban also remains in place.

 

The RMT says job cuts imposed by former London mayor Boris Johnson have left control rooms unmanned, leading to a "serious threat to passengers".

 

General secretary Mick Cash said: "With the constant overcrowding on stations and platforms it is only a matter of time before there is a major tragedy if we don't act decisively. Our dispute is about taking action to haul back the cuts machine and put safety back at the top of the agenda.

 

"Today's decision gives ample time for London Underground to come forward with the serious package of proposals that is now required to kick-start the negotiations. The union remains available for talks."

 

TfL and London Underground are yet to comment on the announcement.

 

Monday's strike brought chaos to the capital, which closed stations inside the Circle line boundary and halted services from key interchange stations, causing huge delays for travellers.

 

Tube strike: How to get around London for 24 hours

9 January

Workers in London face a tough commute today after a 24-hour walkout by station staff closed the majority of central Tube stations.

Members of the RMT and Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA) unions are taking industrial action against plans to close ticket offices. The strike began at 6pm last night.

Services on the London Underground have been severely reduced and other transport methods are expected to be much busier than usual.

Here is Transport for London's advice for travelling around the city.

What Tube services are running?

There are no trains running at all on the Victoria and Waterloo and City lines while other lines are offering a limited service. For example, the Piccadilly line will not be serving Heathrow terminals four and five.

Crucially, no Zone 1 Tube stations are open inside the Circle line boundary and there are no Underground services from key interchange stations such as Victoria, King's Cross St Pancras, Waterloo, Paddington, Euston, Bank and London Bridge.

 Is National Rail affected?

No - but there is unrelated industrial action planned for Southern train services on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

Are there more buses available?

Transport for London (TfL) is providing an extra 150 during today's strike, but they are expected to be very busy. Commuters have been strongly advised to travel outside peak hours and allow more time for their journeys. Key bus routes in central London can be found here. Coaches are also running more regularly on some London routes.

How else can I get around?

Additional bikes will be available at temporary Santander Cycle Hire hubs at Soho Square and Newgate Street (St Paul's). More information on the bike-sharing scheme can be found on the Santander Cycles app.

DLR services and the London Overground are expected to operate normally, but will be much busier than usual. River services are also available.

TfL has provided a map with estimated walking times between Tube stations.

Tube strike: Commuters preapre for 24-hour walkout

6 January

Tube workers are preparing to go on strike this weekend, leaving commuters facing the prospect of travel chaos in the first full working week of the year. 

Members of the RMT and TSSA unions will down tools for 24 hours, starting at 6pm on Sunday, the BBC says. Talks are continuing today to try and end the dispute over ticket-office closures, but it remains to be seen whether the situation can be resolved. 

Zone 1 stations within the Circle line boundary are expected to have no tube service whatsoever, while major interchange stations including Victoria, Bank, King's Cross, Waterloo, Paddington, London Bridge and Euston will be shut.

The Piccadilly line will work to Heathrow Terminals 1, 2 and 3, but not to Terminals 4 or 5; there will be no service on the Victoria and Waterloo and City lines, nor the North Acton to West Ruislip branch of the Central line, Transport for London (TfL) says. 

London Overground will be running as will the DLR, although services may terminate before Bank if that station cannot be opened.

An extra 100 buses will be in operation along with "enhanced" river services to cope with the strike.

Southern rail strike: Soldiers could fill in for striking drivers

21 December

Thousands of troops are on standby to drive rail-replacement buses for commuters stranded by the Southern rail strikes.

The Daily Telegraph reports that 4,000 soldiers are ready to help passengers get to work, as the government tries to break the back of the months-long crisis. 

Ministers have come under pressure to act from MPs of the worst-affected constituencies in and around London, with Prime Minister Theresa May and Transport Secretary Chris Grayling holding talks with 25 Conservative members on Monday about the government's response. 

Tim Loughton, the Tory MP for East Worthing and Shoreham, said more resources should be deployed to help passengers.

"When you have an ambulance or fire engine strike you bring in the green goddesses fire engines. We need the same for rail strikes," he told the Telegraph. 

MPs are also considering calling on train operators to offer commuters free car parking as a form of compensation for the ongoing dispute, the Telegraph says. Station parking can cost up to £13 a day, even if trains are delayed.

At the heart of the dispute are proposed changes to the role of train conductors. Under the proposals, drivers will take over the responsibility of closing train doors. 

The unions say Southern is simply trying to get rid of conductors. However, the rail company says it is neither seeking to save money nor reduce headcount.  Pressure is growing on the government to resolve the crisis, particularly since the state is having to foot the costs under the terms of its contract with Southern operator Govia Thameslink Railway. The bill already runs to some £50 million.

A study by the University of Chichester's Dave Cooper found the strikes cost the economy £11 million a day, according to the Daily Mail.

Southern strike: Which services are affected over the next month?

14 December

Southern rail bosses are meeting union representatives for emergency talks as drivers begin a second day of industrial action.

The meeting, facilitated by conciliation service Acas, could avert another planned drivers' strike on Friday, which is likely to put the whole network out of service for the third time this week. 

Going into the talks, however, both sides reaffirmed their opposing stances on driver-operated doors. Southern says it intends to go ahead with the new system, while Aslef insists it cannot compromise on what it sees as a threat to passenger safety, the BBC reports.

Meanwhile, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is pushing for commuter routes into London, currently overseen by the Department of Transport, to be put under the control of Transport for London (TfL).

"Transport for London has fewer cancellations, fewer delays and fewer strikes," he said on BBC Breakfast. "Since I became mayor, we have had 92 per cent fewer strikes because I talk to those who represent our workers."

"My message to the government is: let my team go in. We can go in this week to help run this Southern line."

On Tuesday, Transport Secretary Chris Grayling "dismissed the idea as 'nonsense'", accusing the mayor of making "grand promises" that TfL's budget would not sustain.

If you're planning to travel between London and the south-east over the next month, here are the dates you need to know:

Tuesday 13, Wednesday 14 and Friday 16 December

There will be no service on these three days as a result of strike action by Southern drivers in the RMT and Aslef unions. 

Gatwick Express trains will continue to run directly from Victoria to Gatwick Airport every 30 minutes between approximately 5am and 10pm. Thameslink services will run as normal.

Monday 19 to Tuesday 20 December and Saturday 31 December to Monday 2 January

Conductors in the RMT union are scheduled to stage a two-day walkout next week and a three-day strike over the New Year as part of their ongoing industrial dispute about the introduction of driver-operated doors.

Drivers are not currently set to participate in the strike, so some trains will be running. However, Southern has warned travellers to prepare for a "severely reduced and disrupted service".

Next week's strike was originally planned to hit commuters on Christmas Eve, but was brought forward to 19-20 December. Nevertheless, Southern's website still predicts general "increased disruption" over the Christmas period.

Monday 9 to Saturday 14 January

A punishing five-day walkout by Aslef and RMT drivers planned for January is expected to bring the network to another screeching halt.

Given its similarity to this week's strikes, commuters should be prepared for a network-wide service blackout.

Customers affected by the walkouts can find information about compensation on the Southern website.

Tube and rail strike chaos: What you need to know   

2 December

Overlapping walkouts by staff on Southern rail and London Underground next week will kick off a month of strike chaos that is set to disrupt commuters as well as those travelling over the Christmas period.

Southern train drivers have voted to strike on three days in December as part of an ongoing dispute over plans to transfer control of train doors from guards to drivers. Guards have already downed tools several times over the issue, causing cancellations and delays, "but the impact will be much more severe if the drivers walk out", says the London Evening Standard.

Passengers have been warned to expect journeys to be "particularly disrupted on the drivers' strike dates" with "no services on most routes". 

Further strikes by guards are also planned for other dates in December.

In one small piece of good news for Christmas travellers, the Southern conductors' strike announced for 22-24 December has been moved to 19-20 December.

Charles Horton, the chief executive of Southern operator Govia Thameslink, said passengers had "already suffered months of misery and hardship" and urged the Aslef and RMT unions to call off their actions and re-enter talks.

The RMT is also planning strikes in its dispute with Transport for London, which will see Tube drivers on two lines walk out for 24 hours in the middle of the Southern conductors' three-day strike.

Drivers on the Piccadilly and Hammersmith & City lines will leave their posts at 9.30pm on Tuesday 6 December, but it is unclear how many will participate and so how much disruption passengers should expect.

Hammersmith & City staff are reacting to "heavy-handed and aggressive management and a flagrant disregard for agreed policies", while Piccadilly drivers have a laundry list of disputes that "amounts to a wholesale breakdown in industrial relations", the RMT says.

Steve Griffiths, London Underground's chief operating officer, said: "We urge the RMT leadership to work with us constructively on the issues it has raised rather than disrupt our customers with strikes."

Here is the full list of currently planned strikes:

Tuesday 6 to Thursday 8 December (RMT Southern conductors' strike) – reduced service

Tuesday 6 to 7 December (Aslef Piccadilly and Hammersmith & City drivers' strike) – reduced service

Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 December (Aslef and RMT Southern drivers' strike) – no service on most routes

Friday 16 December (Aslef and RMT Southern drivers' strike) – no service on most routes

Monday 19 to Tuesday 20 December (RMT Southern conductors' strike) – reduced service

Saturday 31 December to Monday 2 January (RMT Southern conductors' strike) – reduced service

Monday 9 to Saturday 14 January (Aslef and RMT Southern drivers' strike) – no service on most routes

Tube strike to coincide with Southern rail's three-day walkout

29 November

Overlapping strikes by staff on Southern rail and London Underground could spell three days of commuting misery for the capital next week.

Southern train drivers voted on Monday to walk out as part of an ongoing dispute over plans to transfer control of train doors from guards to drivers, which the RMT union claims is unsafe and will lead to job losses. Guards have already staged a series of strikes over the issue after talks with Southern operator Govia Thameslink repeatedly broke down.

As well as a series of walkouts planned over the next two months, Aslef, the train drivers' union, is expected to announce another to coincide with the three-day stoppage already planned by Southern guards between Tuesday 6 December and Friday 9 December.

"Southern has been able to run reduced services during previous stoppages by train guards but the impact will be much more severe if the drivers walk out," says the London Evening Standard.

Charles Horton, the chief executive of Govia Thameslink, said passengers had "already suffered months of misery and hardship as a result of the RMT's pointless series of strikes" and urged Aslef to call off the action and re-enter talks.

He also repeated the company's stance that it is "perfectly safe for the driver to have sole responsibility for the operation of a modern train", saying a third of the UK's trains currently operate this way.

The RMT is also planning strikes in its dispute with Transport for London, which will see Tube drivers on two lines walk out from 9.30pm on Tuesday 6 December.

Hammersmith and City staff are reacting to "heavy handed and aggressive management and a flagrant disregard for agreed policies", says the union, while Piccadilly line drivers have a laundry list of disputes that "amounts to a wholesale breakdown in industrial relations". 

Steve Griffiths, London Underground's chief operating officer, said: "We urge the RMT leadership to work with us constructively on the issues it has raised rather than disrupt our customers with strikes."

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