Following further breakdown in discussions, the Tube drivers’ union Aslef is staging a 24-hour tube strike on Wednesday, March 15. As such, there will be considerable disruption to trains in London, with thousands of RMT station staff joining Aslef members in the walkout.
The tube strike will in turn be followed by strike action from the RMT on Thursday, March 16, impacting many parts of the national rail network. There will also likely be knock-on effects across tube services that morning, in the wake of the 24-hour walkout the day prior.
According to Aslef, Wednesday’s action will be the first network-wide walkout since 2015. It will see over 2,000 workers participating in the action to ensure appropriate and fair working conditions and pensions.
Getting around during the tube strike
According to TfL, “little or no service is expected on the Tube network“. As such, travellers are warned to plan more time for their journey.
The Elizabeth line and London Overground are expected to operate largely as normal. The strike action will, however, result in increased demand and large queues. Additionally, not all stops may be serviced due to the walkout.
DLR and tram services will run largely as normal. However, as with the Elizabeth line and London Overground, station closures may result in services not stopping at all stops along the routes.
There should be no disruption to bus services. These will, however, be much busier than usual due to increased demand.
Where possible, TfL also recommends walking or cycling, or making use of the scooter hires where possible.
Why are they striking?
Wednesday’s strike is in response to concerns over working conditions, as well as the looming threat to workers’ pensions. It is not a pay dispute.
Said Finn Brennan, Aslef’s organiser on the Underground:
“This is not a strike about pay or for more time off. It is about making sure that change and ‘modernisation’ comes about by agreement. Central government has used the effects of the pandemic to insist that TfL targets staff pensions and working conditions.
“They have no problem bailing out the banks or handing our billions of pounds in dubious contracts to their chums but they refuse to properly fund vital services like public transport in this country.
The government wants London Underground staff to fill the hole in it has made in TfL’s budget by accepting huge cuts to their pension benefits and changes to working conditions that would destroy our work/life balance and slash their income in retirement. Aslef members just aren’t prepared to accept that.”
TfL is expected to make an announcement on Friday regarding the pension scheme. According to TfL there are no proposals on the table, and they maintain that there is no threat to pensions nor any need to strike.
Is there any chance of the strike being cancelled?
According to Brennan, the strike action has no chance of being cancelled:
“The strike will go ahead as there are no talks scheduled before the action starts.”
Are there more strikes planned?
Yes. In addition to strike action on the following day, on March 16, further strike action is expected through March and April.
March 18’s rail strike from RMT will see disruption along national rail services and the Elizabeth line.
Further national rail strikes are also planned for Thursday, March 30, and Saturday, April 1.
These strike actions will not necessarily see as much disruption as previous actions, however, with the RMT suspending portions of the action.
Find out more about the delays and disruptions at TfL’s website.