London Underground drivers will be staging a fresh strike next week on parts of the Central line, the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union has announced.
Drivers will walk out from 9pm on Tuesday 21 February until 9pm Wednesday 22 February in industrial action that could also cause disruption to the Waterloo & City line.
The walkout is over "displacement" of staff, involving the move of eight drivers from their home depots at the eastern end of the line to others in central London, meaning they have further to travel.
Mick Cash, RMT's general secretary said talks at conciliation service Acas hadn't been successful and London Underground had written to the union "confirming that they will be bulldozing through the displacements regardless":
Let us be in no doubt, if LU are allowed to get away with this move on the Central line they will start shunting drivers around the combine at the drop of a hat regardless of the consequences.
Our members will be sent out from pillar to post to plug gaps that are solely down to staffing shortages.
With massive budget cuts in the pipeline at LU this is a straw in the wind as to how the company expects to operate in the future.
Steve Griffiths, London Underground’s chief operating officer, said: "This threat of strike action is completely unnecessary. Like any responsible transport authority we regularly examine how we can provide the best possible service to customers and to achieve this sometimes we need to move staff from locations where they are under-utilised, to the places where they are really needed. We have agreements with the trade unions that enable us to do this."
He said LU was "committed to minimising the impact of this move" on the eight drivers involved and "encourage the unions to continue engaging with us in finding a way to do this". The drivers will also have priority on any future vacancies in their original location should they wish to return.
The union held a walkout over the same issue in January, where there was no service east of Leytonstone on the Central Line and reduced service on the rest of the line. It also caused overcrowding on other lines including the Victoria and Jubilee lines, as well as the London Overground as travellers looked for alternative routes into the capital.
Here's how the service looked during the last strike on the line:
Central line map of the expected service during the strike action. pic.twitter.com/RmgriNcxAz— Central line (@centralline) January 25, 2017
And if you want to start planning in advance, these were the stations TfL signposted as likely to be particularly busy for the last Central line strike:
- Leytonstone, Leyton, Stratford, Mile End, Liverpool Street, Oxford Circus, Waterloo, Tottenham Court Road, Holborn, Bank, Monument, London Bridge, Embankment, North Ealing and Ealing Common stations
- The Victoria line and stations along it, especially Walthamstow Central
- The Jubilee line between London Bridge and Waterloo
- TfL Rail services between Romford and Stratford, and particularly Ilford station
- London Overground lines and stations between Liverpool Street and Chingford
So stay clear if you can...
It comes after the RMT suspended strikes in a separate dispute over staffing levels and ticket office closures after London Underground proposed a new deal. On Monday, the TSSA accepted LU's proposal and called off its overtime ban over the same issue.
This article was originally published on City AM.