The first in a series of strikes by train drivers on the London Underground started on Friday, with effects expected to be felt across the system.
The strikes, called by the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union over work schedules, coincides with the planned return of the Night Tube. The RMT said new shifts are being imposed on staff that will affect their work-life balance.
Transport for London (TfL), the organisation responsible for most of the capital’s public transport, warned of disruption to services and advised people to check before travelling.
Parts of the Night Tube service were set to resume from November 27 on the Victoria and Central lines but the drivers are planning a further walk out on Saturday as well. Nick Dent, director of London Underground customer operations, said the action would disrupt pre-Christmas shopping. “At such a pivotal time for the capital’s recovery, we are hugely disappointed that the RMT is threatening London with this unnecessary action," he said. “By making changes to Tube driver rosters we have provided greater flexibility for drivers as well as permanent work and job security, something welcomed by all other unions.”
What lines will be on strike?
Walkouts are planned for the Central, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria lines from 4.30am on Friday, with further strikes planned in the coming weeks.
A 24-hour strike starting at 4.30am on the five lines will roll into the first of a series of weekend strikes on the Central and Victoria lines.
The Night Tube, which had been due to resume this weekend after being closed due to the pandemic, will stay suspended.
TfL said there will be “significantly reduced service”, meaning people will need to look for different routes or alternative transport.
There could also be protests around stations on the Bakerloo, Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines.
What dates are the other planned strikes?
The strikes on the Central and Victoria lines will take place from 8.30pm to 4.30am every Saturday and Sunday from this weekend until December 18.
TfL has issued warnings of severe disruption for these lines and dates from 7pm every weekend.
- 4.30am, November 26 — 4.29am, November 27 (Central, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly & Victoria)
- 8.30pm, November 27 — 4.29am, November 28 (Central & Victoria)
- 8.30pm, December 3 — 4.29am, December 4 (Central & Victoria)
- 8.30pm, December 4 — 4.29am, December 5 (Central & Victoria)
- 8.30pm, December 10 — 4.29am, December 11 (Central & Victoria)
- 8.30pm, December 11 — 4.29am, December 12 (Central & Victoria)
- 8.30pm, December 17 — 4.29am, December 18 (Central & Victoria)
- 4.30am, December 18 — 4.29am, December 19 (Central, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly & Victoria)
What does RMT say?
RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said: “This strike is about the ripping apart of popular and family-friendly agreements that helped make the original Night Tube such a success.
“This strike action and its serious consequences in the run-up to Christmas was avoidable if the Tube management hadn't axed dedicated Night Tube staff and perfectly workable arrangements in order to cut staffing numbers and costs.”
What does TfL say?
Nick Dent, director of London Underground customer operations, said: “The RMT's planned strike action is needless and it will threaten London's recovery from the pandemic, despite no job losses and more flexibility and job certainty for drivers.
“While every other union has agreed to these changes and our staff have been enjoying the benefits of the changes since August, we're willing to work with the RMT and review the changes after Night Tube services have returned.”