London Underground train drivers to join strikes in late July

  • london
  • July 10, 2023
  • Comments Off on London Underground train drivers to join strikes in late July

London Underground drivers will strike on Wednesday 26 July and Friday 28 July in a dispute over pensions and working conditions, the Aslef union has announced.

The latest industrial action will coincide with almost a week of rolling strikes by RMT members on the capital’s tube network, intensifying disruption for commuters and tourists across London.

Transport for London (TfL) has not yet confirmed the expected impact of the combined strikes, but it is likely to mean no virtually tube trains run on the Wednesday and Friday, with widespread disruption across most of the week from Sunday 23 July.

Buses and other TfL services will continue to run, but are likely to be affected by crowding and additional road congestion during the strikes.

The action by Aslef follows the union’s first strike across London in eight years, in March, in a dispute over changes to working arrangements in the wake of TfL’s funding crises.

Finn Brennan, Aslef’s full-time organiser on London Underground, said: “We take action only when needed. Unfortunately, the last few weeks have shown that London Underground management are determined to try to push through detrimental changes – despite trade union opposition – if they think they can get away with it.

“To protect our pensions, working conditions, and agreements, our members are ready to act. Management need to realise that we will not just allow them to use the pandemic and government funding agreements to undermine everything we have achieved in the past.”

Brennan said that TfL bosses were attempting to create “an entirely flexible workforce with all existing agreements replaced – allowing them to cut hundreds more jobs and forcing those of us who remain to work harder for longer”.

The TfL chief operating officer, Glynn Barton, said: “We are disappointed that Aslef has announced strike action which will coincide with the action already announced by the RMT. We are urging both unions to reconsider this action and engage with us to discuss the issues and seek a resolution.

“We are trying to create a fairer, more efficient London Underground that works for our staff and for London. All stations would remain well staffed at all times and we believe that our proposals would give an even better and more reliable service to our customers both in terms of our stations and our train services.”

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The RMT has yet to release full details of its planned rolling strikes in the same week, with 10,000 members in different sectors within London Underground poised to take action on different days.

The union is in dispute over plans by TfL to cut station staff numbers by 600 and review pensions – a condition of London’s post-pandemic financial settlement with central government.

TfL has said that there are no current proposals to change pension arrangements and no employee would lose their job.

The week of misery for passengers in London will come between other strikes by the RMT on the national rail network, with three 24-hour strikes scheduled for 20, 22 and 29 July. Mainline trains will also be disrupted in the preceding week by an overtime ban by Aslef’s train drivers, as the unions step up action in the long-running national pay dispute.