Boxing Day Tube strike on as legal challenge thrown out

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Media captionHoward Collins, London Underground: "Some trains will still run. We will do all we can"

A Boxing Day strike by Tube drivers is set to go ahead after a High Court judge refused to halt it.

London Underground (LU) said the strike was illegal as drivers who were not scheduled to work on 26 December had cast their votes in the strike ballot.

It was seeking an interim injunction to stop the 24-hour strike.

Aslef, the union representing the Tube drivers, wants triple pay and a day off in lieu for drivers for working on the bank holiday.

Mr Justice Eder said he was not going to grant an injunction halting the strike.

He said: "I recognise that this conclusion will cause disruption to the public who would want to use London Underground on Boxing Day. That is regrettable.

"But the decision which I have reached is, in my view, inevitable given the statutory framework laid down by Parliament."

Mick Whelan, Aslef's general secretary, said: "We are incredibly pleased. We believe this is the right decision."

He said he regretted that two days had been spent in a court rather than trying to work out a settlement.

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LU said it was considering whether to appeal.

Howard Collins, LU's chief operating officer, said: "The Aslef leadership is calling strike action over an outrageous claim for even more money to work on a day for which their members are already being paid.

"We have done everything we can to avert this needless action, including reducing the impact of Boxing Day working on staff and, as a last resort, taking legal action.

"We remain ready at any time before these four strike days to work with the union's leadership to resolve this issue through talks, and I urge them to get back around the table."

He added the company would run as many Tube services as possible and extra busses will operate in the busiest areas.

LU has said only 42% of Aslef members voted to strike in the ballot, while the union said 92% of those who voted cast their ballots in favour of strike action.

Staff are set to walk out for 24 hours on 26 December, 16 January, 3 February and 13 February.

The planned strike on Boxing Day has caused Arsenal to move their Premier League game with Wolves back a day to 15:00 GMT on 27 December.

Services were severely disrupted last year when drivers walked out on the same day.

LU said a pay agreement with Tube workers means drivers had 43 days' annual leave which means they have to work some public holidays, including Boxing Day.

The company said it had reduced the number of drivers needed to work on Boxing Day after Aslef raised the issue in 2010.

It said a quarter of drivers who would ordinarily be working on an average day would now be needed.

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