Boxing Day Tube strike: Shoppers hit by delays

 
Tube trains sit at a depot in Morden, south London, on Monday The dispute centres on whether Aslef drivers should receive additional pay and leave for Boxing Day work

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Travellers on London's Underground have been disrupted by a 24-hour strike staged by drivers.

The dispute is over the Aslef union's demand for extra pay for staff working on the Boxing Day public holiday.

Most Tube lines have experienced some level of disruption since the strike began at midnight, according to Transport for London's website.

London Underground boss Howard Collins described the demand for "triple pay" as "outrageous".

The strike affected shoppers heading for the start of Christmas sales, and football fans.

Transport for London (TfL) had warned of "severe disruption" and urged travellers to check its website before starting their journeys.

Circle Line suspended

Throughout the day its website has been reporting most lines suffering some level of disruption.

The Bakerloo Line was running between Queen's Park and Elephant and Castle only, while there were no Central Line trains.

Start Quote

We have reduced the number of train drivers working this year, giving people more quality time off”

End Quote Howard Collins London Underground

The entire Circle Line was suspended, and the only District Line trains in operation were between High Street Kensington and Ealing Broadway, plus West Ham to Upminster.

The Hammersmith and City Line was not running east of Baker Street, and on the Jubilee line there was a special service operating between Stanmore and Finchley Road and between Stratford and North Greenwich, but no trains on the rest of the line.

There were Metropolitan Line trains from Harrow-on-the-Hill to Baker Street only, while the Northern Line was running between Morden and Stockwell, and Edgware and Euston only.

The only Piccadilly Line services were between Heathrow Airport and Hammersmith, and Finsbury Park to Cockfosters.

There was a special service operating on the Victoria Line.

Mr Collins said more trains than had been anticipated had run during Monday.

"We are operating a service on most Tube lines, including key lines serving the West End, supported by London's 700 bus routes and extra buses.

"However, the strike is causing disruption."

'Long-standing agreement'

Arsenal moved their Premier League game with Wolves from Monday to Tuesday because of the strike, but Chelsea's game with Fulham went ahead at Stamford Bridge.

The BBC's Daniel Boettcher said Aslef had argued that choosing to work on Boxing Day should be voluntary and drivers who agreed to do so should be paid extra as well as getting a day off in lieu.

A woman reads a sign at Clapham North Tube station on Monday Special services were running on all lines due to open on Monday

But Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan told the BBC News Channel triple pay was "not quite what we've asked for", although it had been a negotiating point.

"What we're asking for is a guaranteed level of service where people can be guaranteed at least every other year, every third year, a day off, and - for those who do come in - an incentive." He said the nature of the incentive was still being negotiated.

"[London Underground] have picked on the worst aspect of a comment that was made and have used it continually throughout this process."

Mr Whelan said the original dispute focused on "quality time off".

He said the union had realised an agreement it had made in the mid-90s, when virtually no trains ran on Boxing Day, had "become devalued" as the number of trains running on Boxing Day had increased to be the same as any other day of the week.

"It's unfortunate that it happens at a time when we are in recession and possibly going into a double-dip. Truly, we'd like to see and help London business grow," said Mr Whelan.

Salaries 'inclusive'

London Underground says it has a long-standing agreement with all of its trade unions covering bank holidays. It has described the demand for additional payment as outrageous.

Chief operating officer Howard Collins told BBC Radio 4 that London Underground had already met some of Aslef's concerns.

"We have reduced the number of train drivers working this year, giving people more quality time off - down to 880 drivers from 1,100 last year," he said.

But Mr Collins said he could not "pay people twice" and that train drivers' salaries were all-inclusive and covered Boxing Day and Christmas Day.

"If I did this for this trade union, then 18,000 other workers who've agreed the '92 agreement would have to be paid as well," he added.

 

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  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 260.

    I remember the days when Sundays and BH's were dead. It's nice now to be able to do things but it also brings it's problems. Some choose to work shifts but others are merely finding emploment. Excepting emergency services, maybe shop opening and other services should be designed to reflect those staff who are prepared to work for extra, allowing others time off. A people friendly society?

  • rate this
    +70

    Comment number 231.

    I'm a tube driver and apologise for my feckless colleagues. When we signed up it was explained that our (very good) salary contained an element of recompense for unsocial hours & working bank holidays. To start bleating on and demanding triple time and a day off now is disgraceful and dishonourable, I am ashamed of these skivers.

  • rate this
    +30

    Comment number 189.

    I'm sorry, £40k per year, 45 days holiday, pay set to rise and they want more holiday and more pay? And as far as I can tell, working bank holidays as part of their current contract. They are shooting themselves in the foot rather, with people not wishing to use the LU. Working at Christmas is in the contract, it was there when they signed, if they weren't happy they shouldn't have signed it!!

  • rate this
    -27

    Comment number 184.

    Speaking as ASLEF tube driver I have to say that today's strike is NOT about money for the majority of the drivers, its about quality of time with the family over the christmas period! Most people commenting on here do NOT work shift work, starting as early as 445am or finishing late as 0130am, or work weekends and bank holidays and 900 lives in our hands!!

  • rate this
    +22

    Comment number 141.

    Do these unions not understand that their strike action could potentially hurt other, lower paid workers on an already struggling high street? Or does the "I'm alright Jack" approach take preference? It's time for the unions to take their heads out the sand and take stock of the tough times we ALL live in. If anything, these strikes make me more supportive of driverless trains (think DLR!)

 

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