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 178.

    What we need is a nationwide general strike, that really drives the country into the ground; we need to strike like the french.

    To those saying it's "criminal" to go on strike to protect your job, I think it's criminal for the government to ruin the lives of public sector workers.

    What we've been seeing from the conservatives is just the tip of the iceber

  • rate this

    Comment number 177.

    GREED or what?
    They are paid to WORK about £44,000pa, inc. payment for public holidays, and they STILL want more?

  • rate this

    Comment number 176.

    lisburn63 - the incoherence of that email leads me to believe what most people say. That any idiot can walk off the street and do your job.

  • rate this

    Comment number 175.

    We live in London, we might want to get to the shops...and luckily for us, we have a bus network that is the envy of the rest of the country. What is the problem?? Get. The. Bus.

  • rate this

    Comment number 174.

    50k for a tube driver. Push the lever go. Pull the lever stop.

    Er, is there anything else to it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 173.

    There should be a union that regulates the Aslef union. It's criminal really.

  • rate this

    Comment number 172.

    Anyone who thinks the strike hasn't achieved anything consider this- all the drivers on strike, got exactly what they really wanted- Christmas AND Boxing Day off. I'd say mission accomplished.

  • rate this

    Comment number 171.

    @158 I will be voting Ken Livingstone also. Boris is out of touch with Londoners.

  • rate this

    Comment number 170.

    Yep - you would have thought folks would have had enough of the shopping run around. Still, as suppose it is your right, as is the right to strike. It seems to me that automation is the answer here. As Boris said - every one of these strikes strengthens the argument for automation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 169.

    Once again the Unions attempt to rule us and force a situation. There is no justification for this spiteful action, all they will do if they succeed in thier objectives is to totally destroy the nation.

  • rate this

    Comment number 168.

    My girlfriend & I are both Train Drivers,apart from rostered leave Christmas & Boxing Day are the only days we know we will get off (apart from our No Duty Days).As for people who moan about what we earn,I suggest you talk to your Unions ! We earn a reasonable wage because ASLEF looks after its members interests.I respect those on strike today for standing by their principals.

  • rate this

    Comment number 167.

    I'm confused...Don't these people know the terms of their contract before they sign up for the job? and 50K pa? What!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 166.

    All cries for driverless trains to save a few bucks make me squeamish. What about leaves on the tracks? Crash. Snow on above ground segments of track? Crash. Body (animal or human) on the tracks? How long must it be trundled over before the mess is cleared? Vandalised tracks? But thoughtless travellers could care less, so long as they get where they want regardless. Try a closed eyes walk.

  • rate this

    Comment number 165.

    Why don't we make a big effort to apply the driverless train technology which i believe already exists? I find that being held to ransom by a small group of 'luddite' overpaid trade unionists has gone on too long.

  • rate this

    Comment number 164.

    Pointless strikes like these are just another nail in the coffin of the trade union movement.
    It's a pity the so-called Trades Union leaders cannot take a lesson from the past. Union stupidity and greed lost us the car industry, the motorcycle industry, the coal industry and so on.

    The Unions long ago lost their meaning and value.

  • rate this

    Comment number 163.

    I haven't visited these pages in a while and I'll probably not return soon, but, for what it is worth, working during the Xmas holiday was once upon a time a premium rate event. And why not? Don't the wealthy extend their own seasonal holiday into weeks rather than days with no loss of earnings and hopes of sensational gains just because it is Xmas?

    Have a happy 2012 if you are lucky.

  • rate this

    Comment number 162.

    I bet that most of these tube workers will be the ones taking their partners shopping in London. Quality time...where's mine with my family?

  • rate this

    Comment number 161.

    Errrm, LU drivers utter greed for themselves and contempt for their customers. As someone said earlier, get real .. or go find a better paid job!

  • rate this

    Comment number 160.

    London is the only city in the world that shuts down all train service on Christmas. That is quite nice, but still out of step with the rest of the world. Now Boxing Day. How about the entire week? Apparently when these folks took this job they forgot that public transport was what their job entailed. Time for folks to provide the services they were hired for.

  • rate this

    Comment number 159.

    I earn around £23K and haven't had a pay rise since 2007. My wife has disabilities which stop her working and we have two small children.

    Petrol and electricity/gas prices have soared to a point where we are often eating scraps in the week before payday.

    Welcome to the real world. Perhaps these unions and employees should give that some thought before beating their chests.


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