London Underground Tube drivers will go on strike for 24 hours in December, the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union has announced today.
The strike, which relates to drivers on the Piccadilly and Hammersmith and City Lines, will start at 21:30 on 6 December – the same day Southern workers are also due to go on strike over their long-running dispute over removing guards from services.
City A.M. revealed earlier this week that Southern rail's owner Govia Thameslink Railway has been hit by £38m bill from industrial action so far this year, with a raft of strikes throughout the year plaguing the train operator (and causing havoc for passengers).
Of the latest decision for London Underground workers to strike, RMT general secretary Mick Cash said:
This dispute on the Hammersmith and City Line is about the basic issues of protecting working conditions of our members and defending agreements from attempts to drive a coach and horses through them.
Our members have been left exposed and vulnerable and we have no choice but to blow the whistle before lasting damage is done.
Cash added the union remained open to discussions about the disputes involved.
Steve Griffiths, London Underground's operating chief, said:
The announcement of strike dates is premature given that we have pre-arranged talks planned at the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) tomorrow to discuss the RMT’s concerns on the Piccadilly line, and on the Hammersmith & City line we are waiting for the RMT’s response to our proposals to end that dispute.
The drivers voted to go on strike earlier this month, after being balloted by RMT. It carried out two ballots: one of 400 Piccadilly Line drivers and the other of 3,000 station workers, saying the first was due to a breakdown of industrial relations, and the latter over the closure of ticket offices.
An independent review into the ticket offices is being undertaken by London TravelWatch and is due by the end of the year.
Last week, the Transport Salaried Staff's Association also announced a ballot of hundreds of members working on the London Underground, which it said was over safety. The result of that will be announced once the ballot closes on 29 November.