Londoners have been warned to expect “severe disruption” in the run-up to Christmas with planned strike action by Tube workers.
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union are set to strike on two days this month and next in a dispute over new driver rosters.
Transport for London warned that the industrial action would severely disrupt services on the Central, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria lines on Friday Nov 26 and Saturday Dec 18 if it goes ahead.
The RMT has also called for strikes to coincide with the re-introduction of Night Tube services on the Central and Victoria lines from the evening of Saturday Nov 27 and on weekends throughout December.
The industrial action centres on staff rotas for the restart of the Night Tube, suspended in March last year because of the Covid pandemic.
The latest threat of industrial action threatens to throw Sadiq Khan’s plans to relaunch the night service into jeopardy. The London mayor was planning to reopen half of the lines that previously ran all night on Fridays and Saturdays.
RMT has said the strike action is due to the imposition of “impossible and unreasonable demands” on staff ahead of the reopening of the Night Tube.
‘All of this was avoidable’
Mick Lynch, the general secretary of the RMT, said earlier this month: “All of this was avoidable if the Tube management hadn’t axed dedicated night Tube staff and perfectly workable arrangements in order to cut staffing numbers and costs.”
Mr Khan has faced pressure to relaunch a full overnight service amid growing concerns about the safety of women. He and TfL have said they will return to a full service “as soon as possible” next year, but declined to give a date for when it would happen.
He described the RMT strike action as “unnecessary” and said: “I call on the RMT to call off these strikes, come back to the table and work with TfL to bring back full Night Tube services on these lines.”
Nick Dent, the director of London Underground customer operations, said: “At such a pivotal time for the capital’s recovery, we are hugely disappointed that the RMT is threatening London with this unnecessary action.
“By making changes to Tube driver rosters, we have provided greater flexibility for drivers as well as permanent work and job certainty – something welcomed by all other unions.
“The return of Night Tube is a hugely significant moment for the night-time economy and for Londoners travelling late at night who will have improved journey times and as additional safe travel option. We have been meeting with the RMT for a number of months through Acas to try and resolve their issues and we remain open to talking further.”