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 278.

    The main problem in the UK at the moment is the growing gap between rich and poor, in terms of wealth, power and rights. Whether it's City thieves or BBC execs being paid a fortune for nothing, lecturing us about the joys of multiculturalism whilst living in the country...

    But the strikes show the dangers of selfish unions, too.

  • rate this

    Comment number 277.

    Why do some Unions always have to make the Public suffer?.
    They use them as weapons. Their demands are down
    right greedy. Some of these Union Leaders are drunk with power.

  • rate this

    Comment number 276.

    @ dyceman53

    Says it all. Total ignorance of the facts.
    Bob Crow is RMT, nothing whatsoever to do with ASLEF.

    Incidentally, Network Rail pay volunteers, who work Christmas and
    Boxing Day, Treble time plus a day in lieu.
    With the added incentive of selling the lieu day back for 150 GBP's.

  • rate this

    Comment number 275.

    I have been a Trade Unionist all my life. I have been on strike and I have supported other stikes with cash. This lot give Trade Unions a bad name. Haven't heard much support from anywhere.

    If they go on they will provide the coalition with an excuse for more Trade Union legislation, weakening them even more.

    Bob Crowe is doing damage than any Tory PM ever has.

  • rate this

    Comment number 274.

    Sigh, it's like the Unions and British Leyland workers in the 70's. Delusions of Grandeur and the mindset that "no one else can do my job better than me". Well, the reality is there are a million unemployed in London who will be happy to take your place and will be grateful...

    This kind of union blackmail needs to stop; if you don't like what you are being paid then find another job.

  • rate this

    Comment number 273.

    Blame lies with management for allowing themselves to be so vulnerable.

    Don't blame the drivers, blame London Transport for failing to provide the service they are paid, or should I say overpaid for!

    If the drivers are essential, pay them. If not, find an alternative such as automatic trains.

  • rate this

    Comment number 272.

    More greed and envy with Labour politicians sniping from the sidelines as usual.

    Happy holidays!

  • rate this

    Comment number 271.

    My brother currently at work as a doctor in A&E. He also had to work most of the day yesterday. Does he get extra pay? No. As far as I'm aware tube workers already get a very healthy salary so why should they get more for these days when it is part of the job. Besides, working bank holidays is undesirable and unfortunate but it's not unworkable (in terms of Christmas).

  • rate this

    Comment number 270.

    Arrest Bob Crow !
    Wrong Union mate, though you have to question what a man earning £145,000 a year is doing living in state subsidised housing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 269.

    Sack the lot of them and give the jobs to someone who would be grateful! This is supposed to be the season of good will, no festive spirit from the underground workers as far as I can see just greed!


  • rate this

    Comment number 268.

    Tell Aslef how you feel about them. Email

  • rate this

    Comment number 267.

    How dare these people demand a decent wage, good conditions and time off!! Workers should know their place. That is: chained to their labours, paid a pittance and always defer to their superiors. We expect nothing but complete compliance. Now....pass the Port!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 266.

    What does bob row have to d owith ASLEF or today's strike?

  • Comment number 265.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 264.

    Perhaps if the shoppers went on strike there would not be as much excessive personal debt in the UK?

  • rate this

    Comment number 263.

    You have to also blame TFL for offering such ludicrously generous terms in the first place,mind you as the Commissioner of Transport (effectively the CEO) gets a salary higher than any employee in the Public Sector including the Prime Minister perhaps this isn't so surprising after all!

  • rate this

    Comment number 262.

    Looking forward to more automated trains. Sooner the better.

  • rate this

    Comment number 261.

    "demands for triple pay AND a day off in lieu for working on the bank holiday"......RUBBISH!! If you're lucky enough to get triple-pay (surely only emergency services are deserving of this), WHY would you also get that day in lieu? Normal working people get a day in lieu for a day worked and NOT paid (e.g. a Saturday/Sunday); greedy tube drivers after 4 days pay-P45 time in my mind !!!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 260.

    I remember the days when Sundays and BH's were dead. It's nice now to be able to do things but it also brings it's problems. Some choose to work shifts but others are merely finding emploment. Excepting emergency services, maybe shop opening and other services should be designed to reflect those staff who are prepared to work for extra, allowing others time off. A people friendly society?

  • rate this

    Comment number 259.

    Arrest Bob Crow !


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