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 258.

    @ 238, @240 interesting how the Moderator seems to be out for brunch on certain days, and more keen with the red pen on others. Bit of consistency, or at least an explanation, please BBC about the seemingly random application of the house rules.

  • rate this

    Comment number 257.

    Well i'm working this afternoon for minimum wage. I can't complain though because I understood the terms of my pay and hours BEFORE I accepted the job.

  • rate this

    Comment number 256.

    the song by Amateur Transplants sums this up this situation perfectly:

    ('all they say is please mind the doors and they learnt that on the two day course'....brilliant).

  • rate this

    Comment number 255.

    Pure greed, surely even the knuckle-dragging unions can see this will ruin many other’s jobs, and will increase the call for more automation and new strike laws. Many Grads would be glad to drive trains at circa £45K. The unions will not see the writing on the wall until it’s too late. Some would argue that any striking for such vital services should be banned altogether.

  • rate this

    Comment number 254.

    I do not begrudge tube drivers, or anyone else earning a decent wage.

    What I do object to is striking because they want both triple pay *and* a day off in lieu.

    I don't know anyone else who gets both. Why should they?

  • rate this

    Comment number 253.

    Tube drivers are reasonable people, it's their leaders who are the problem. Employ more drivers, pay them a premium not to be part of a Union. Encourage existing union members to take enhanced pay to permanently leave their union. Create a watchdog authority to maintain governance over the employers. Perhaps all might start to move forward sensibly and without politics getting into the mix.

  • rate this

    Comment number 252.

    @244 scott Tompson well I have been both a bus driver and a tube driver, and yes you are right, tube driving is alot less stressful than bus driving, but the buses do pay alot less, which is why I left the buses and joined the tube!! I didn't like the buses so did something about it!! But as far as I am concerned bus drivers should get equal if not more than tube drivers!

  • rate this

    Comment number 251.

    @ Gingerdan
    Please don't lump public sector workers in with tube drivers. As a nurse I too have a two year pay freeze. We all expect to work either Christmas or New Year and we get paid the same for working these days as we would for working any other Sunday (about time +60%). We also do not get time off in lieu.

    Please do not take these greedy train drivers as representative of other workers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 250.

    You to Brutus?

  • rate this

    Comment number 249.

    Overpaid, Under-worked, delusions of grandeur, 40 holiday days a years, near on 40 grand for a 35 hour week! Well done London underground! show these selfish workers they can't just hold the capital to ransom! Next thing to do, like BA, those striking should lose their travel perks etc. Bring in driver-less trains.

    Shirkers, get rid of the lot of them, they push a stick and the train goes..

  • rate this

    Comment number 248.

    It would seem your buttermilk is a little sour. Train operators do NOT get £55K PA Try getting your comments accurate.

  • rate this

    Comment number 247.

    Some comments on here are laughable but a little sad too. Comparing wages between jobs is pointless–market rates dictate wages.Footballers earn up to £100k per week-they’re not worth that of course, but it is the market rate.The media seem to be successful in their efforts to pit worker agin worker. Let’s unite against the real villains here; not the men and women earning a decent wage.

  • rate this

    Comment number 246.

    It would be nice if people could just stay home for a day without being pressured to shop all the time, this dispute would then be unnecessary. Greed rules it seems.

  • rate this

    Comment number 245.

    I told my boss I wanted J500 extra to work over the olympis she said better still stay at home an watch it call it unpaid absence

  • rate this

    Comment number 244.

    The unions and tube drivers make my blood boil.

    Tube drivers have no stress compaired to, say, bus drivers to have to keep their wits abouth them not to crash or kill idiot pedestrians who walk out into the road. Do tube driver get abuse by the public as they board too? Though not and I'm not a bus driver but I bet they are on less than half their salary!

  • rate this

    Comment number 243.

    The DLR may have 'Driverless' trains, but I do understand there is a 'train Captain' on board, in essence a Driver who can take command if needed.

    Driverless trains, in my view not the way forward, relying on computers 100% for passenger safety ! No Chance !

  • rate this

    Comment number 242.

    What's the problem?

    Stop bleating and start walking.


  • rate this

    Comment number 241.

    All the people calling the drivers workshy and other insults might do well to remember that it's a Bank Holiday today and all those would-be bargain hunters are enjoying a day off.
    The drivers want to be able to refuse to work on Boxing Day, and by the sound of it the much-talked about demand for 3 days pay plus a DOIL is exaggerated for the benefit of the press.
    I'd like the truth please.

  • rate this

    Comment number 240.

    Sorry about your barrister son working 80 hours to gain favour from his employer so he can be in their position and rip off his clients.

    Doctors regularly work bank holidays, to reduce suffering, not line their pockets unlike barristers. Doctors by the way get full registration (and hence are qualified) one year after graduating though not on the specialist register.

  • rate this

    Comment number 239.

    Before Boxing Day 2010 ASLEF hadn't been on strike for 10 years. Apart from two 24 hour stoppages on the Northern and Bakerloo Lines this time last year RMT haven’t been on strike since November 2010. 2011 was a very quiet year.

    As training is done by existing train drivers sacking us all would leave the Tube with no drivers at all. Not very clever.


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