Tube strike: Londoners face rail chaos as union goes ahead with action

25 November 2021, 10:30

The return of the Night Tube will be played due to the strike,
The return of the Night Tube will be played due to the strike,. Picture: Alamy

By Emma Soteriou

Londoners will face "severe disruption" on the Underground tomorrow and in the coming weeks, with a Tube strike set to take place across five lines.

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The first 24-hour day of action will start at 4.30am on Friday, impacting the Central, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria lines.

As a result, the unaffected lines will likely run much busier services, Transport for London (TfL) warned.

Commuters have been advised to walk, cycle or use a rental e-scooter where appropriate across the capital to make their journeys easier.

It comes as the Night Tube was set to return across the Central and Victoria lines from the end of the week, having stopped running during the pandemic.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union will walk out in a dispute over rosters, arguing that they are being forced to take on additional shifts that will impact their work-life balance.

Read more: Night Tube drivers to stage strikes just as service was finally set to resume

Read more: Multi-million bonuses for TfL bosses after operator receives several Govt bailouts

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.

"This review can only be successful if the RMT agrees to meet us for talks and withdraws its proposed action so we can all see how these changes will work in practice.

"If the RMT refuses to engage with us and carries out its unnecessary action, which is timed to cause maximum disruption for our customers looking to enjoy London during the festive season, Londoners are advised to check before they travel on days of planned strike action."

Meanwhile, RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said the strike would have been "avoidable" if staff had not been cut to save costs.

"This strike is about the ripping apart of popular and family-friendly agreements that helped make the original Night Tube such a success," he said.

"Instead the company want to cut costs and lump all drivers into a pool where they can be kicked from pillar to post at the behest of the management.

"We have made every effort in Acas and direct talks since the off to resolve this dispute but it is clear that LU bosses are driven solely by the bottom line and have no interest whatsoever in the wellbeing of their staff or the service to passengers.

"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."

Other strikes are set to take place overnight on 27-28 November, 3-5 December, 10-12 December and 17-18 December.

Further information will be available on the TfL website ahead of, and during, the strikes as well as on the TfL Go app and Journey Planner.