Central Line Drivers To Strike On Friday

central lineCommuters using the Central line on Friday are facing delays after a strike was announced by ASLEF union members.

The dispute follows the failure of talks so far over London Underground’s 20% cuts to annual refresher training for drivers on the line. Following last August’s ‘uncontrolled evacuation’ at Holland Park, the Rail Accident Investigation Branch made recommendations around improving driver training, and ASLEF say the cuts go against those recommendations.

The dispute is due to go to ACAS, but more than 90% of drivers voted in favour of a strike. Union representative Finn Brennan said:

‘This dispute has been brought about by management intransigence on a range of issues, but at its heart is management’s refusal to treat drivers with the respect and dignity they deserve at work.”

A 72-hour walkout planned by the RMT earlier this year was suspended at the eleventh hour, while strikes were also threatened during the Tour de France in July.

If the strike does go ahead, it will begin at one minute after midnight on Friday morning and ends 24 hours later on Saturday morning. Tube driving blogger ASLEF Shrugged has some comment around the reasons for the strike.

Update: TfL have now issued a press release about the strike, stating:

We do not expect any trains to run early morning/late at night.  Customers are advised to seek alternative routes, avoiding the Central and Waterloo & City lines.

We do not expect Central line trains will run in central London.  TfL will deploy extra buses on key routes and TfL Ambassadors and volunteers will be deployed to key Underground and bus stations to provide customers with travel information and advice.

Photo by Hoosier Sands in the Londonist Flickr pool.

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  • Russ

    How does this affect the W&C?

  • Driver

    Drivers on the W&C are based on the Central Line at Leytonstone – expect the W&C to be closed as well Russ if the strike takes place

  • Brad

    The more the tube drivers strike the more everyone hates them.
    They have it easy compared to most, and every person I’ve asked today says they are sick and tried of being held to ransom by these low-hours, high-pay, protected job whiners.

    Unfortunately everyone also agrees that there isn’t much to do about it since they are well aware of how little choice the consumer has in these instances.
    I for one will NEVER support these strikes regardless of what my own union says on the matter.

    • Steve

      They’re striking because they need (and want) extra safety training but their training is being cut. Do you really want to be driven around underground by people who aren’t sure what they need to do in an emergency?

      • Brad

        I want for them to deal with the issue by taking it up with management rather than screwing over the passengers.
        If a policeman’s has an issue with his superiors he doesn’t stop trying to prevent crime commited against innocents…but when tube management chew out the drivers for sloppy a evacution – they refuse to drive their passengers. Most people would in fact lose their job if they took out their management frustrations on their customers.
        They also only made an issue of 20% less refresher training AFTER being chewed out. (REFRESHER training mark you.)

        It’s also hard to believe there’s actually an issue when tube strikes happen at the drop of a hat. They are now more than usual annual event – a case of crying wolf too often. It is now just “yet another moaning whine” & “unions flexing again”.
        Strike saturation has rendered it an ineffective tool for bargaining or raising awareness of issues, simply because the vast majority of the general public couldn’t be bothered with yet another excuse. Those at the top know this and that’s why they bargain from a place of strength which ultimately leads to nothing changing. (Ask the public sector how much use their strikes have been the last few years…)
        Strikes don’t work and the only people you hurt with a strike are the customers.

    • andybrice

      This seems like a wholly reasonable thing to strike over though. Have you seen the video of the failed train evacuation? I generally take ASLEF’s concerns a bit more seriously than the RMT’s.