Business

Tube strikes called off – but walkouts on rail still set to go ahead

Tube services will be disrupted in April and May as drivers stage two 24-hour strikes.

Drivers who are members of ASLEF, the train drivers’ union which represents 96% of train drivers in Britain, will walk out from their roles on the London Underground over pay and conditions.

They will strike on:

Monday 8 April

Saturday 4 May

Rail strikes also taking place

Drivers at 16 rail companies are also going to stage a fresh wave of strikes, plus a six-day overtime ban, their union ASLEF announced.

Both strikes are part of a long-running dispute.

The rail strikes will take place on:

Friday 5 April

Strikes will affect Avanti West Coast, East Midlands Railway, West Midlands Trains, and CrossCountry.

Saturday 6 April

Strikes will affect Chiltern, GWR, LNER, Northern, and TransPennine Trains.

Monday 8 April

Strikes will affect Greater Anglia, c2c, GTR Great Northern Thameslink, Southeastern, Southern/Gatwick Express, South Western Railway main line and depot drivers, and SWR Island Line.

Members will also refuse to work their rest days from Thursday 4 to Saturday 6 April and from Monday 8 to Tuesday 9 April.

Why are the strikes happening?

Finn Brennan, ASLEF’s full-time organiser on the London Underground, said in a statement: “ASLEF Tube train drivers will strike in April and May in a long-running dispute over London Underground’s failure to give assurances that changes to our members’ terms and conditions will not be imposed without agreement and that all existing agreements will be honoured.

“Despite a previous commitment to withdraw plans for massive changes to drivers’ working conditions, London Underground management has established a full-time team of managers preparing to impose their plans.

“They want drivers to work longer shifts, spending up to 25% more time in the cab, and to remove all current working agreements in the name of ‘flexibility and efficiency’.

“Everyone knows what these management buzz words really mean. It’s about getting people to work harder and longer for less.

“Management has also failed to deliver on commitments given to us on making drivers’ cabs secure, on police numbers on Night Tube and on training.

“Our members simply don’t believe what LU management tells them anymore. ASLEF are, as always, ready to talk, but we want to see real action from management – not easily broken promises.”

Transport for London (TfL) said in a statement: “We have been in long-term discussions with our trade union colleagues on how to modernise procedures and processes on London Underground to improve the experience both for staff and customers.

“We have no plans to impose these changes and have committed to no one losing their job as part of these changes, and we have engaged with our unions to demonstrate that no change will be made that compromises our steadfast commitment to safety on the Tube network.

“We urge ASLEF to continue discussions with us so that disruption for Londoners can be averted.”

Mick Whelan, ASLEF general secretary, added on the rail strikes: “Last month, when we announced renewed mandates for industrial action, because under the Tories’ draconian anti-union laws we have to ballot our members every six months, we called on the train companies, and the government, to come to the table for meaningful talks to negotiate a new pay deal for train drivers who have not had an increase in salary since 2019.

“Our members voted overwhelmingly – yet again – for strike action.”

A Rail Delivery Group spokesperson said: “Nobody wins when industrial action impacts people’s lives and livelihoods, and we will work hard to minimise any disruption to our passengers.

“We want to resolve this dispute, but the ASLEF leadership need to recognise that hard-pressed taxpayers are continuing to contribute an extra £54m a week just to keep services running post-COVID.

“We continue to seek an agreement with the ASLEF leadership and remain open to talks to find a solution to this dispute.”

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