'Unnecessary' strikes to hit London Tube in run-up to Christmas

Heathrow and other airports face transport disruption over festive period

Travellers in London are being warned that planned strike action by Tube workers in the run-up to Christmas could cause severe disruption.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union are planning to take industrial action on two days and eight nights in November and December, in a dispute over new driver rosters.

The industrial action could further hamper travel to London's airports during the busy festive period, including Heathrow, which was already facing a period of disruption owing to reduced transport services.

Work being carried out by Network Rail and Transport for London (TfL) means no rail or London Underground services will operate to or from the UK’s busiest airport on December 25 and 26.

TfL said if the strike action went ahead it would severely disrupt services on the Central, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria underground lines on Friday, November 26, and Saturday, December 18.

It could mean a significantly reduced service on these lines all day, with little or no service in places. Services on the morning of Saturday, November 27, and Sunday, December 19, may also be disrupted.

The RMT has also called strikes to coincide with reintroduction of Night Tube services on the Central and Victoria lines from the evening of November 27 and on weekends throughout December.

“At such a pivotal time for the capital’s recovery, we are hugely disappointed that the RMT is threatening London with this unnecessary action," said Nick Dent, director of London Underground customer operations.

“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.

“The return of Night Tube is a hugely significant moment for the night-time economy and for Londoners travelling late at night who will have improved journey times and an additional safe travel option.

“We have been meeting with the RMT for a number of months through Acas [arbitration service] to try and resolve their issues and we remain open to talking further.”

Heathrow introduced a £5 ($7) fee for cars dropping off passengers at terminal forecourts on November 1.

Updated: November 22nd 2021, 3:30 PM