'Disruptive' Underground strikes start today

STRIKES by the RMT have started in a dispute over rosters on London's Night Tube, and Transport for London is warning that Underground services will be disrupted on five lines.

TfL has warned of 'severe disruption' on the Central, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria Lines all day today. The strikes will also disrupt Night Tube services on the Central and Victoria Lines from tomorrow night and during December. TfL said it 'will do all it can to provide as many transport options as possible, but Londoners are advised to check before they travel and leave more time for journeys'.

London Underground's director of customer operations Nick Dent said: 'The RMT’s planned strike action is needless and it will threaten London’s recovery from the pandemic, despite no job losses and more flexibility and job certainty for drivers. While every other union has agreed to these changes and our staff have been enjoying the benefits of the changes since August, we’re willing to work with the RMT and review the changes after Night Tube services have returned. This review can only be successful if the RMT agrees to meet us for talks and withdraws its proposed action so we can all see how these changes will work in practice.'

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: 'This strike is about the ripping apart of popular and family friendly agreements that helped make the original Night Tube such a success. Instead the company want to cut costs and lump all drivers into a pool where they can be kicked from pillar to post at the behest of the management. We have made every effort in ACAS and direct talks since the off to resolve this dispute but it is clear that LU bosses are driven solely by the bottom line and have no interest whatsoever in the well being of their staff or the service to passengers.

'This strike action, and its serious consequences in the run up to Christmas 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. We warned months ago that slashing two hundred Night Tube Train Driver positions would create a staffing nightmare and LU need to start facing up to that reality and soon. The union remains available for further talks even at this late stage.'

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