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 198.

    Why not just scrap the Boxing Day public holiday.

  • rate this

    Comment number 197.

    Shameful comments from people on here - 'be grateful you've got a job'?!!!!!

    You could understand it if these sorts of comments were from the greedy bankers and millionaires in the Cabinet, but most of them are no doubt of from ordinary workers.

    Get some self-respect and organise yourselves instead of carping and sniping.

  • Comment number 196.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 195.

    these tube drivers are really taking the mick! 44k a year for a job 99% of the country can do because their unions are one of the most aggressive. Shame on u all. a nurse with an education will get half what they get paid and work on Xmas day! You have no sympathy from anyone but your own members! I just hope the gov. stand firm

  • rate this

    Comment number 194.

    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.
    Oh the intelligence of it all.

  • rate this

    Comment number 193.

    @184 - REDTOM75

    Swap! - I'll do your shift work for £50k a year. You can travel from my home (outside Lonon) to London a round trip of 6.45am to 7.30pm 5 days a week for £42k a year.

    Interested? let me know.

  • rate this

    Comment number 192.

    Bring on the day when trains are driven automatically then these bone-headed unions won`t be able to cause trouble for it`s own sake.

  • rate this

    Comment number 191.

    I've got a PhD and am at the top of the university lecturer scale. I teach undergraduates, conduct and organise world class scientific research, supervise post-graduates through their own PhDs, write grant applications and handle large budgets. I don't earn as much as tube drivers and now the government want to cut my pension too.

    Tube drivers are bullies. Sack them all, automate the underground.

  • rate this

    Comment number 190.

    Is £50K p.a. such a huge wage these days? No wonder train drivers demand it when they read of so many who earn that in a week. The greed of those at the top sets the pace, others just follow.

  • rate this

    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

    Comment number 188.

    Simple solution, make Boxing Day a proper Bank Holiday with no exceptions. High St. retail starts one day later, unions have no excuse to be awkward, workers get an extra day off.

    Seems to cover all the bases.

  • rate this

    Comment number 187.

    Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan told the BBC that triple pay was "not quite what we've asked for" although it had been a negotiating point.
    Mr Whelan said the original dispute focused on "quality time off".

    Maybe Whelan would like all workers to have as much pay as him, for doing so little +the amount of time off he has.
    Being a union leader is like being paid on permanent holiday

  • rate this

    Comment number 186.

    @181 sandy winder, if the retailers didn't open, there would be no need for tube or bus services on bank holiday. Then everyone could have the quality time they are so desperate for.

  • rate this

    Comment number 185.

    168. lisburn63
    I respect those on strike today for standing by their principals.
    What screwing the taxpayer out of as much money as possible for a job that could be done by a machine or trained monkey?

  • rate this

    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

    Comment number 183.

    Boxing Day Tube strike: Shoppers face delays...

    ...But only if you are in London.

    Is this really THE headline of the day BBC?

  • rate this

    Comment number 182.

    For those of you that have not read 'The Fourth Protocol' by Frederick Forsyth, may find it interesting to read the second half of chapter 5

  • rate this

    Comment number 181.

    Greedy rail workers risking the jobs of retailers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 180.

    @174 Bloke252
    Giggle. Please, please tell me there is more to it than that. Someone restore my faith in humanity!

  • rate this

    Comment number 179.

    Outright selfish to strike at all, let alone on a bank holiday. And lets face it, each train drivers job is worth two peoples employment so each of these train drivers is currently keeping a work ready person in unemployment, which means that the unemployed person is in poverty and most likely their family too.

    Trade union membership = increased poverty, this is a prime example


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