Transport for London warns “significant disruption” is likely on the tube due to a Boxing day strike by train drivers’ union Aslef over holiday working conditions and pay.
The Premier League derby between Arsenal and West Ham United was postponed as a result of the tube strike, and suburban rail services and the overground were also suspended. Extra buses were being offered for those travelling to the west end and the Westfield shopping centres in Stratford, east London, and White City, west London.
Most tube lines were operating a limited Boxing day service for shoppers and travellers around London. TfL offered up-to-date advice on travel service on their website, social media and Twitter accounts along with online journey planning assistance.
Two further walkouts are planned on the last two Fridays in January. It is the third year in a row that the union has voted by more than 90 per cent to take industrial action on Boxing day.
TfL urged Londoners to consider walking into the west end from either Victoria or St Pancras, which would take about 20 to 25 minutes and called the strike action a “completely unnecessary disruption to Londoners on Boxing Day.”
But Mick Whelan, general secretary of the Aslef union, said that although tube drivers get 43 days off a year his union members want more of those to be during the Christmas period.
“There is clearly a major problem. But London Underground refuses to deal with it – or even treat it seriously,” Aslef said in a statement on its website.
“We want a volunteer service on Boxing day with those working getting more than flat time. An enhancement for this day will ensure members will be able to swap duties with someone who wishes to work.”
“We don’t expect support or gratitude from the public who will be inconvenienced on 26 December. But we hope there will be understanding,” Aslef added.
Howard Collins, London Underground’s chief operating officer, said: “Train drivers are paid a salary that reflects some bank holiday working, but the Aslef leadership is demanding to be paid twice for the same work and has rejected our attempts to resolve the matter.”
“The scandalous actions of the Aslef leadership are an attempt to hold Londoners to ransom, and demonstrate a wholesale disregard for our customers – making life harder for shoppers, sports fans, retail workers and businesses amongst others.”