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

    Comment number 158.

    Transport FOR London? What a joke.
    Bring back Ken. He had things running properly...

  • rate this

    Comment number 157.

    2 Minutes ago
    No - I'm a teacher looking forward to my next strike and I'm so left wing, I find the word 'business' offensive in any context.
    A teacher! What do you teach...Anarchy.
    No wonder the kids are barking mad these days.

  • rate this

    Comment number 156.

    How about the public get to decide whether any tube strikes - or any public sector related strikes for that matter - is worth it or not? In this case Londoners - i.e. the fare payers i.e. people who pay their wages. We are the major stakeholders here yet we get rises and strikes shoved down our throats without our say. I suggest they put any public related matters to vote. Simple.

  • rate this

    Comment number 155.


    When I've scoured the internet for a new job I've never seen any of these jobs going for grabs.

    Are they like 'kept in the family' or something?"

    No, they recruit internally. If you want to be a driver (tube or railway), you have to start on the platform or such and work up. This sorts out those who can't cope with the shifts etc. It's just going back to the way it used to be.

  • rate this

    Comment number 154.

    I really don't understand why we pay tube drivers, their job can be done by machine. Driverless tubes already exist on the DLR and in most other cities why not bring them in throughout the London Underground? Then we wont have to put up with the greedy striking every year from the tube driver for more pay and longer holidays. Fire them all and hire some nurses or teachers with the money.

  • rate this

    Comment number 153.

    Why do people even want to travel on Christmas/Boxing Days?

    Apart from emergency workers everyone else should be at home with families, friends and neighbours.....i.e. doing what Christmas is supposed to be all about......

  • rate this

    Comment number 152.

    No - I'm a teacher looking forward to my next strike and I'm so left wing, I find the word 'business' offensive in any context.

  • rate this

    Comment number 151.

    The drivers are greedy. It is right to receive extra when working on Boxing Day, but three times usual pay plus a day off in lieu is downright greedy and clearly a try-on to see how much they can squeeze out of their employer. If they had received what they want, then nearer the Olympic Games they would demand huge amounts for doing their normal daily duties. They are not airline pilots!

  • rate this

    Comment number 150.

    You don't have to be a Tory or read the Daily mail to recognise a bunch of Bankers when you see them, double the wage of a nurse and quadruple their pay on a bank holiday for opening a train door!

    Get real .
    Mind the Gap and Happy **********Christmas

  • rate this

    Comment number 149.

    142. Zakmann

    However, if employees want to strike legally they are lambasted their members vilified & called greedy.

    An interesting observation isn't it?
    It would be were it not for the fact that this is an obvious ploy to get the day off, since all unions have to do is present a demand they know will never be agreed to and voila.

    Driverless trains, here we come...

  • rate this

    Comment number 148.

    Lets close all the shops on bank holidays and let everyone (other than emergency / essential services) have the days off. With Sunday opening, there are now an extra 50 days to do your shopping. As others have said, "Stay at home and enjoy the rest". And because of greed by the shop owners, my wife had to be at work at 8am today and will not finish until 6:15pm. Guess who had to take her there !!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 147.

    Boxing Day has now greatly turned into a wasteful materialistic day in which rare extra time off work is used to increase purchases of non-essential goods.

    Boxing Day & even Xmas itself is essentially about feeding public demand for unsustainability & re- energizing that which has so gone wrong with economy/finances.

    For time on Xmas day, we lost water supply, so much is taken for granted

  • rate this

    Comment number 146.

    At least they have jobs.

  • rate this

    Comment number 145.

    Funny how many of the "we are the boss so we can have a 49% pay rise" brigade are so against others trying to get a bit more. I think the unions demands are unreasonable, even silly, but since the "49%ers" have been a beacon of leadership by example on the pay front they can hardly moan when others try follow their example. You reap what you sow.

  • rate this

    Comment number 144.

    The solution here imo is really obvious although a bit complicated. Sack them!!. I have no sympathy for these drivers because no one has forced them to become tube drivers or work unsociable hours. In my opinion they couldnt have chosen a better time to strike with a lot of unemployed young people who would be happy to do this job at £20k let alone 50k.

  • rate this

    Comment number 143.

    When I've scoured the internet for a new job I've never seen any of these jobs going for grabs.

    Are they like 'kept in the family' or something?

    'Well son, your grandad was a tube driver all his life and I've been a tube driver all my life and now ,,,take this's the key to your cab. Good luck lad. Don't spend it all at once.'

  • rate this

    Comment number 142.

    There is an interesting dichotomy playing out here.

    It would seem that the Employers and Employer groups are allowed to do almost anything they want to maximise there profits either within the law or outside of the law whether it is moral or immoral.

    However, if employees want to strike legally they are lambasted their members vilified & called greedy.

    An interesting observation isn't it?

  • rate this

    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!)

  • rate this

    Comment number 140.

    Pointless strikes like these are just another nail in the coffin of the trade union movement.

    This short term view they are adopting will destroy the unions in th long run.

  • rate this

    Comment number 139.

    This is nothing to do with working conditions, it is about the unions securing Boxing Day off for their members.

    This is evident firstly by the unreasonable nature of the demand (triple pay AND a day off in lieu) which would never be agreed to, and secondly due to the fact that this happens EVERY year.

    Be warned unions - it was this kind of behaviour that lost you public support in the 1970's.


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