Unless called off at the last minute, the RMT union will start a series of tube strikes on the London Underground in the run-up to Christmas, in a dispute over changes to driver duties for the Night Tube.
If the strikes go ahead, TfL is warning that they could mean a significantly reduced service on the affected lines all day with little or no service in places. Other tube, rail and bus services will therefore be busier to cope with displaced passengers.
The first of the strikes, affecting the Central, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly & Victoria lines will last all day and night this coming Friday 26th November.
A smaller-scale strike targetting the Night Tube will take place this coming Saturday (27th Nov) on the Central and Victoria lines from 8:30pm.
After that, there will be a series of strikes on the Central and Victoria lines every weekend starting at 8:30pm on the Friday and Saturdays of the 3rd/4th, the 10th/11th and 17th/18th December.
Although the strikes kick in from 8:30pm, TfL expects disruptions to start from 7pm, and get progressively worse, and little to no service at all by late evening.
And if the dispute is still unresolved, then there will be a large strike on the Central, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly & Victoria lines all day Saturday 18th December – the last Saturday shopping day before Christmas.
TfL is calling on the RMT to call off the strike action, saying the other union has accepted the terms of the changes to the staff duty rosters, and TfL says that it has guaranteed no job losses.
TfL has merged the previously part-time only Night Tube staff with the rest of the drivers, which makes it easier for Night Tube staff to become full-time drivers, and offered to ensure existing drivers don’t have to work night tube shifts if they don’t want to. The move means TfL has been able to reduce its overall staffing numbers slightly due to more flexibility in staffing rosters. The changes being made would thoughmean that, on average, a driver on the lines served by the Night Tube would be expected to work around four Night Tube weekends a year.
London Underground has met with the RMT through conciliation service ACAS on this issue many times over the last few months and previous strike action was suspended while these discussions continued.
The stikes are subject to there not being a last-minute change by either side which could then see the strike action suspended.