UK train strikes: Network Rail, DLR strike action and further taxi driver protests spell May bank holiday travel hell for Londoners
London is speeding towards a bank holiday that could bring utter misery to commuters with the prospect of strike action looming.
Workers for Network Rail, the company which keeps the entire UK rail network running, have voted in favour of strike action over pay which has the potential to bring rail services in London and the rest of the country grinding to a halt for the first time in a generation – and it's going to happen over the May bank holiday Monday.
Staff working on London's DLR have also voted for industrial action in a separate dispute over pay and working conditions., although it is not yet known when that would take place.
Both ballots of members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) are the first step in taking action that could affect millions of commuters.
The union's executives will now consider what course of action to take, but said they were still open to talks in both disputes which would put paid to the prospect of travel chaos in the capital if agreements can be made.
An ongoing dispute between London's black cab drivers and Transport for London (TfL) over the licensing and regulation of taxis, largely as a result of Uber's rise in the capital, is also set to escalate.
A further protest is due to take place in Victoria outside TfL's headquarters as cab drivers led by the United Cabbies Group stage a go slow on 26 May – the very same time overland trains will be absent from the capital.
It's the latest action by black cab drivers following a previous protest on Oxford Street and will involve more than 2,000 drivers. The boss of the group, Len Martin, said larger protests were being planned as it ramps up action against TfL.
The bank holiday strike could yet be called off – but the prospect of a nationwide shutdown of rail services into the capital would cripple one of London's major transport networks, leaving the city's major railways silent and preventing thousands of commuters from getting around.
The strike will also run into Tuesday morning, affecting commuters returning to work after the May bank holiday.
The disagreements over pay between transport bosses and the union risks turning into a political one, pitting David Cameron's new Conservative government against the unions after the new business secretary Sajid Javid laid out plans for a shake-up of strike laws.
The reforms would introduce the threshold for strike ballots, however the RMT union said yesterday’s ballot would still stand as it had a 60 per cent voter turnout.