Tube Strike: Yes, It's Happening And Here's Why

Rachel Holdsworth
By Rachel Holdsworth Last edited 31 months ago
Tube Strike: Yes, It's Happening And Here's Why

Photo by Julian Gajewski from the Londonist Flickr pool

Another tube strike? What's going on?

This one's all about the night tube. All night running on certain lines on weekends may be great for us, but someone has to drive the trains, staff the stations and monitor the control rooms. Unions — the RMT, TSSA, ASLEF and Unite — are unhappy about the pay being offered to work overnight and how shifts will be rostered.

London Underground says most staff won't be affected — the night tube will run on five out of 11 lines, and even then not all of them (e.g., not the Bank branch of the Northern line) — and that nobody will be asked to work more than their current hours. The unions say it's a question of when those hours will be worked and work-life balance.

Could the strike be called off?

[17:10pm, 7 July update: the strike is now confirmed with tubes winding down on Wednesday from 6pm]

Doesn't look like it, but never say never. Talks did take place on Monday and LU offered a new pay deal: a 2% increase for all staff, £500 extra for staff on lines running the night tube and another £2,000 for drivers. However, LU said it needed a response by 6.30pm on Monday; that gave the unions around four hours to consult with members and that simply wasn't feasible.

ASLEF says the strike is on because it hasn't had enough time to study the new offer. The TSSA has also rejected the offer and says the unions are available for talks on Tuesday. The RMT will recommend its members reject the offer, and called it a "cynical and divisive attempt to undermine our solidarity" — perhaps because it favoured drivers, who are generally members of ASELF. Why might that matter? Well...

Will any trains run?

In recent strikes, LU has been able to run a reduced service. That's because not all unions have walked out together — if the RMT and TSSA strike, that still leaves all the ASLEF drivers clocking on to run trains. This time everybody's walking out. LU expects a total shutdown of services on the tube.

It's worth noting that the DLR, Overground and TfL Rail will run as normal, as will buses. Obviously they'll all be much, much busier than usual, as will non-Transport for London rail services. (Oh, and RMT members on First Great Western are also striking for 48 hours from 6.30pm on Wednesday.)

It's also worth noting that Overground and DLR stations that connect with LU stations could well be affected, namely: West Ham, Stratford, Canning Town, Blackhorse Road, Highbury, Whitechapel, Canada Water and Bank, plus the line between Harrow & Wealdstone and Queens Park.

Fine. When is this strike happening, then?

Members of the RMT, TSSA and Unite are striking for 24 hours from 6.30pm on Wednesday 8 July. ASLEF drivers will strike for 24 hours from 9.30pm on Wednesday 8 July. So expect a gradual shutdown of the tube network on Wednesday evening and no service at all on Thursday.

Keep an eye on the TfL website and its various Twitter accounts for more information.

Last Updated 07 July 2015

ASLEF shrugged

The unions couldn't accept the offer, they could have recommended to the membership to accept it and then there would have to have been a ballot which would probably have been rejected. LUL announced Night Tube in September last year, they didn't bother to discuss it with the unions until February, they're not interested in negotiating so we're left with little alternative.

Mark

Generally I'm not that supportive of strikes in London - but if I was asked to start working night shifts and deal with the hot mess that is London at 3am, in return for a one-off 'bonus' of £500 a year, I wouldn't be too chuffed.

TfL should really be charging a Night Tube premium (extra £1 / journey?) and use this to compensate staff fairly.

onetimeteacher

As if tube drivers aren't hideously overpaid already. Sack the lot of them on nearly £50k and put the replacements on nearer £30k. I'd take months of carnage to get the season ticket price down.

Andy Brice

I can't say I'm too sympathetic about tube drivers' pay. But nobody should be expected to work nights if that's not what they signed up for.

hostile_17

Ahh... where they complain that they're losing their jobs, then complaining that they have do more work. I long for automation when these people can't hold an entire city hostage again.

David Swift

Bring on driverless trains. Whatever their cause, they shouldn't be allowed to blackmail the whole city. These people are paid far better than I am for a less qualified job. Ever seen the film "I'm Alright Jack"?

Ryan

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