London

Tube drivers Boxing Day strike goes ahead

  • 23 December 2010
  • From the section London
A London Underground train
Image caption More than 11,000 workers will walk out over 800 planned job cuts

A strike by Tube drivers on Boxing Day is to go ahead, after legal action by London Underground (LU) failed.

Members of train drivers' union Aslef are due to stage the 24-hour walkout after a High Court injunction sought by LU was rejected.

Drivers want to be paid triple time and receive a day in lieu for working on 26 December. They will walk out from 0001 GMT on Boxing Day.

LU said it was "disappointed" the court ruled against its application.

The firm had challenged the strike notification, saying it was illegal as it was not worded properly, but after a hearing lasting almost four hours, the court ruled against LU.

LU said it had not been told why the injunction had been rejected, and the court would elaborate on the details behind its decision on Friday.

'Ripped up' agreement

In 1996, Aslef signed an agreement that it would consider Boxing Day a normal working day in return for higher pay and longer holidays.

But the union said increased Tube services on bank holidays meant drivers now had to work more public holidays than was the case when the agreement was signed.

Aslef spokesman Steve Grant said: "People in the supermarkets and retail sector are being paid triple time. Bankers are being given big bonuses. Why can't we be rewarded as well?"

LU's managing director Mike Brown said: "We are disappointed that the court ruled against our application.

"The union has unilaterally ripped up a long-standing agreement on pay and working hours that gave LU employees increased pay and 6.8 weeks holiday in return for working some public holidays, including Boxing Day.

"We will be running as many Tube services as possible on Boxing Day, as well as London's 700 bus routes and some river services."

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said of the strike action: "All it succeeds in doing is alienating Londoners, stopping people from going about their jobs, impeding our great city from leading the country out of recession."

Richard Dickinson, from the New West End Company, said it was "unfair" the drivers would "paralyse the whole of central London without really taking into account the enormous economic impact".

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