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 218.

    These people are on £55k a year and they want TRIPLE TIME and a DAY OFF in leiu just for doing their job on a day they were rostered to work. Doesn't bode well for the Olympics. They are a bunch of greedy opportunistic B****ds

  • rate this

    Comment number 217.

    Is there some sort of badge of honour for some on here about how low your wages are? If you are unhappy or jealous about how much other earn then join a union or get a better paid job

  • rate this

    Comment number 216.

    It is a sorry state of affairs when all we can boast about as a nation is that we enjoy extreme shopping and extreme consumerism - I think all shops should be closed for the whole festive period, and people should learn how to spend quality time with their families instead of being brainwashed in to commercialism and spending yet more money they haven't got - very sad indeed.

  • rate this

    Comment number 215.

    Do what they did years ago go back into making it family time/friends time and as much as possible stays shut.Its so sad that we cannot have 2 days rest without shops.Its not just train drivers affected either everyone in Retail not forgetting all those wonderful doctors, police, hopsital, fire service who work.Down in the soutwest people work for minimum wage so you can get to your precious sales

  • rate this

    Comment number 214.

    @204 Redtom75

    Fair play to you for coming into this cauldron today and saying you appreciate your job and the salary attached to it. Not easy.

    Too often, I think, we call for the axe when someone has a well paid job. I'm beginning to get unsettled by a new baying crowd mentality calling for all jobs to be reassessed in line with the economic climate.

    Bit 'communistic' isn't it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 213.

    15 years from now will the same drivers look back and say how stupid they were when the whole system is automated it will happen unions are the bakbone of the working man but can also be his downfall

  • rate this

    Comment number 212.

    RedTom (name says it all). Don't be a tube drive then!! working odd shifts is part of it. my wife is a nurse gets half the pay you do and has no choice but to work bank holidays or Xmas. she doesn't get 45 days holiday nor triple pay. and what do tube drivers contribute to society compared to a nurse! hang your heads in shame for even trying to justify it. DISGRACE!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 211.

    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......

    ---------------Presumably sitting in the dark with an uncooked Turkey and watching a blank TV Screen or possibly going out to a closed restaurant or cinema!

  • rate this

    Comment number 210.

    Pay all who work on BH's SIX days pay and let's see how many shops etc open then. Places of employment either open for emergency services or for profit. Let those emergency services earn good renumeration while most others get their family day. And with reduced services it will enable the possibility for volunteer workers rather than an enforced emergency roster, allowing more to have time off.

  • rate this

    Comment number 209.

    Sorry - triple time AND a day off in lieu will not do. These union dinosaurs are still in 1970s mode. It's infamous that the Tube is massively overmanned (see Prospect magazine over the years). Public transport is the last redoubt of this lost paradise of universal striking by the Trots of the SWP. Even the striking pen-pushers in the civil service know better.

  • rate this

    Comment number 208.

    Don't understand the comments about Ken managing things better Boris. Ken and such unions are mates, aren't they? He mismanaged it before and simply blamed problems on private companies.

  • rate this

    Comment number 207.

    Greedy Tube Drivers. No-one is forcing them to work the extra hours for an already enhanced rate. British Leyland, British Coal and British Rail ruined by the Unions who didn't know when they had it good. Maybe it should be taken over by a more efficient foreign workforce?

  • rate this

    Comment number 206.

    A quick Google will show that there are at least 12 cities that have driver less Metro systems with more coming on in the next few years.

    Seems to work for them :-)

  • rate this

    Comment number 205.

    Bring in automated trains and put this shameful greedy rabble into the job centres fast!! As a Londoner and small business owner in the City, I am fed up of a small handful of uneducated, self obsessed unionised extremists continually holding us to ransom and damaging our businesses like mine. Sack them all and give their jobs to school leavers who may actually appreciate the job!

  • rate this

    Comment number 204.

    @ Bloke 252 most of our staff do live outside London and have to commute into work. If one has a 445am start they have to leave the house at 245 as they live so far away! and please it is NOT 50k!! it is 44k which I know is a very healthy wage and I for one appreciate my job and benefits, I know where the grass is greener!

  • rate this

    Comment number 203.

    I support the strike. I am fortunate enough to have 2 weeks paid holiday over the festive period and feel for people who only get one day's break - shop workers, train and bus drivers etc. It is not much of a holiday, is it? The train drivers should be given a choice - and those who choose to work should be given extra pay for so doing. Boxing day sales are hardly an essential activity, are they?

  • rate this

    Comment number 202.


    Still says it all then.

    And to the fella comparing train automation to flight automation, they're not even in the same ball park. Tube trains are fully automatic, and only have a "driver" due to the perceived stigmatism customers may have against it. Aircraft cannot land or take off on their own, and won't be for a very long time coming yet.

  • rate this

    Comment number 201.

    My son, a doctor, has recently worked around 80 hours a week and gets less than £40k a year…
    Your son a doctor, yet, years to go before ‘fully qualified’
    Earns a measly £40,000
    Too bad.
    I know a young qualified barrister who works at least 80 hours for less than half what your son earns & unlike doctors he is working today
    Stop moaning (& showing off)!

  • rate this

    Comment number 200.

    Andy - that, I'm afraid, won't work. I just went past Selfridges on a bus and the crowds outside were horrendous. The fact is, the shop mad public are as absurd as tube drivers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 199.

    Let's have driverless tube trains, it will be worth the investment!


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