A 24-hour tube strike on Friday, the first of two days and eight nights of scheduled strike action, threatens to bring disruption to London in the run up to Christmas.
The five lines due to be affected are the Victoria, Central, Northern, Jubilee, and Piccadilly lines as RMT workers are set to strike from 04.30 on Friday.
The dispute is over night shifts drivers are required to work as the night tube service is reintroduced for the first time since the start of the pandemic.
Transport for London (TfL) said the strike would result in “little or no service in places” with the Waterloo and City line, which uses Central line drivers, also likely to be hit.
The RMT said the work rosters being imposed on tube drivers threatened work-life balance. TfL said the changes have been agreed by other unions and would result in drivers working about four night shift weekends a year.
The strike will also affect the restart of the night tube as Victoria and Central line. Drivers have been told not to work from 8.30pm Saturday until 4.30am Sunday.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said the strike was about “the ripping apart of popular and family friendly agreements that helped make the original night tube such a success”.
“Instead the company want to cut costs and lump all drivers into a pool where they can be kicked from pillar to post at the behest of the management.”
Despite talks at Acas and direct talks, it was clear London Underground bosses “have no interest whatsoever in the well being of their staff or the service to passengers”, he added.
“This strike action, and it’s serious consequences in the run up to Christmas, was avoidable if the tube management hadn’t axed dedicated night tube staff and perfectly workable arrangements in order to cut staffing numbers and costs.”
The union said it remained available for further talks even at this late stage.
Nick Dent, director of London Underground customer operations, said the RMT’s planned strike action “is needless and it will threaten London’s recovery from the pandemic, despite no job losses and more flexibility and job certainty for drivers”.
He added the transport authority was “willing to work with the RMT and review the changes after night tube services have returned. This review can only be successful if the RMT agrees to meet us for talks and withdraws its proposed action so we can all see how these changes will work in practice.”
TfL warned the action was likely to mean much busier services on the lines not affected by the strike (Bakerloo, Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan) as customers seek alternative routes. Thameslink services and buses through central London are also expected to be busier than normal.
Planned strike action
04:30 26 November – 04:29 27 November Central, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria.
20:30 27 November – 04:29 28 November Central and Victoria.
20:30 3 December – 04:29 4 December Central and Victoria.
20:30 4 December – 04:29 5 December Central and Victoria.
20:30 10 December – 04:29 11 December Central and Victoria.
20:30 11 December – 04:29 12 December Central and Victoria.
20:30 17 December – 04:29 18 December Central and Victoria.
04:30 18 December – 04:29 19 December Central, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria.