Friday 30 April 2021 2:49 pm

Central line tube strike expected on polling day

A 24-hour long Central line tube strike is expected to go ahead on 6 May, a date that coincides with polling day for London’s mayor elections.

Central line train operators, Night Tube train operators and instructor operators at Leytonstone, Loughton, West Ruislip & White City Traincrew Depots will take strike action by not booking on for any shifts from 9pm on Wednesday 5 May to 9pm the following evening.

The National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) said that the strike had been called following the “victimisation” and subsequent sacking of Gary Carney, a tube driver who was also a trade union rep.

The RMT said Carney had been the victim of a “grave injustice” and has called for his reinstatement. The union said it believed strike action was the best chance of getting Carney his job back.

According to the union, management at London Underground believed Carney was avoiding a drug and alcohol test, and referred him for a disciplinary investigation, after which he was sacked.

However RMT has insisted Carney was not avoiding a drug and alcohol test, and that after 25 years of “unblemished service” at the company he was unfairly dismissed, in part because of his position at the union.  

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “The sacking of Gary Carney is a blatant case of victimisation for trade union activities and his colleagues have made it clear that they stand shoulder to shoulder with him in this fight for justice.

“RMT will have no hesitation in escalating this dispute if London Underground don’t right this wrong.”

Nick Dent, director of customer operations for London Underground, said: “We have strict, long-standing drug and alcohol testing policies that have been agreed by all of our trade unions and will always take a zero-tolerance stance as part of our commitment to safety. 

“We are disappointed by the RMT’s decision to announce this strike action. We urge them to call it off, and we remain open for further discussions.

“There may be some disruption to customers but we will do all we can to run a regular service on the Central line during this action, should it go ahead.”