With the Elizabeth Line set to enter its third and final phase on May 21, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s smooth sailing from here on out. That’s just in time for the full line to be up and running, just under a year after it first started opening to Londoners. Celebrations will be short-lived, however, with the recent news that an Elizabeth Line strike is being planned for the line’s first birthday.
On May 24, just days after the line reaches its final phase, members of the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) union will take industrial action in the form of a one-day walkout. The strike action comes in the wake of ongoing disputes over the pay rate for “key operational staff who ensure that the trains run safely”. According to the TSSA, “In short some of our members on the Elizabeth Line are paid tens of thousands of pounds less than colleagues performing similar roles on other parts of the Transport for London (TfL) network.”
This is the second time TSSA workers on the Elizabeth Line have had to resort to strike action. At the time of the last strike, in January, the central section between Paddington and Abbey Wood was closed down.
Following the walkout on May 24, ‘action short of a strike’ will take place from May 27 – June 4.
Further strike action in May and June
The Elizabeth Line strike is not the only planned action in the coming weeks and months. The Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (ASLEF) has also announced strikes that will affect London public transport. The ASLEF action will take place on May 31 and June 3, impacting 16 national train companies, many of which service London. Among the trains that will see disruptions or cancellations are those from Great Western Railway, Greater Anglia, Thameslink, London North Eastern Railway, SWR, and more.
The Underground and Overground will not be directly impacted by the strike action but will be busier as a result.
There are no further Tube strikes planned, but a current re-ballotting of RMT Union members could potentially result in strike action this summer.
In the wake of considerable striking and industrial action over the past few months, an anti-striking bill was debated in Parliament last week (May 9). In direct opposition to the rights of workers to strike, the bill would require a minimum level of service during striking.