TRAVEL: London Underground services to be stopped by strike action today

London Underground pa_news_20060921_215003_a3047651London Underground pa_news_20060921_215003_a3047651
London Underground pa_news_20060921_215003_a3047651
Bad news for commuters and sightseers off to London as transport unions have confirmed 24-hour strike action on the London Underground this week.

The 24-hour strike by London Underground workers with the RMT and TSSA unions begins at 6.30pm on Wednesday, July 8, with services not returning to normal until July 9 at 6.30pm.

Workers are in dispute over pay and conditions for a 24-hour weekend Tube service due to be introduced in September, and will now join a planned 24-hour walkout by members of the drivers’ union Aslef, which begins at 9.30pm on Wednesday evening.

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Talks had been held between unions and management at the conciliation service Acas to try and halt the strikes, but plans for a strike of the RMT and TSSA to coincide with that of Aslef have since been confirmed.

The unions are in dispute over pay and conditions for the new all-night underground service, due to start at weekends from mid-September on some sections of the Central, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria lines.

The RMT said its members voted by 91% in favour of strikes and 96% for other forms of industrial action.

Transport for London (TfL) are advising: “If the strike goes ahead, there will be no Tube service from late afternoon on Wednesday July 8 and no Tube service at all on Thursday July 9.

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“All other public transport services and roads will be much busier than usual, so please check before you travel.

RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said: “”The industrial relations situation on the Tube has sunk to an almost unprecedented low with all four unions united and balloting for action over pay and working arrangements due to be ushered in under the guise of the mayor’s “night Tube” vanity project in just 10 weeks’ time.”

Finn Brennan, chief negotiator for Aslef added: “We will meet again on Monday [today, July 6] but it remains extremely difficult to see how the strike can be avoided unless management are prepared to make a serious offer to attempt to resolve this dispute.”

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London Underground’s chief operating officer Steve Griffiths said: “”Londoners and businesses overwhelmingly back the night Tube. It will make life easier for everyone, cut journey times, create jobs and boost the economy.

“Most of our staff will not be affected by the new services at all because it affects only five of 11 lines.

“Some staff will actually work fewer nights than they do now because we have hired 137 more train operators specifically for the night Tube.

“The train staff who will be affected are being asked to work around an additional seven nights each year on average, with no increase in their total current hours. No one is being asked to work more hours.

“In return, we are offering a realistic pay increase this year and next, as well as an additional payment for night Tube working.”