Saturday, 7 January 2017

First Tube Strike of 2017

Another year, another strike, another quick update - this one came as a surprise as one of the world’s largest metro systems - the London Underground is facing strikes!

Transport for London (TfL) is advising customers that there will be a severely reduced service across the network on Sunday evening and all day on Monday should strike action currently planned by the RMT and TSSA unions go ahead.

Station staff who are members of the unions are currently planning to strike from 18.00 on Sunday 8 January for 24 hours. This would mean severely reduced services on Monday. TfL will try to run as many services as possible, but customers are advised to complete their journeys by 18.00 on Sunday, and that most Zone 1 stations are likely to be closed throughout the action.

Although National Rail services would not be affected by the strike there would be no Underground services from key interchange stations such as Victoria, King's Cross, Waterloo, Paddington, Euston, Bank and London Bridge.

Piccadilly line services would still run between Hammersmith and Heathrow Terminals 1, 2 and 3, but there would be no service to Terminals 4 or 5. There would be no service at all on the Victoria or Waterloo & City lines, and all other lines would be severely affected with limited services in outer London.

For customers travelling to Canary Wharf from central London, Docklands Light Railway (DLR) services will be running, however they will be busier than usual. River services will also link central London and Canary Wharf.

Customers using the DLR are being advised that there may be changes to services towards Bank, with trains instead terminating at Shadwell or Tower Gateway.

Should the strike go ahead, buses, roads and rail services are expected to be much busier than usual, particularly those bus routes serving major interchange stations. TfL will be deploying Travel Ambassadors in order to help customers get around the city, over 100 extra buses will be deployed to enhance existing routes and river services will also be enhanced.

There will be posters, digital boards and announcements in stations to keep people informed of the latest level of service and all customers are advised to check before they travel at and use the live update services @TfLTravelAlerts, @TfLTrafficNews and @TfLBusAlerts on Twitter.

TfL remains in constructive discussions with both unions in order to try to resolve the dispute, which centres around the ticket office closure programme that was completed in early 2016.

A recent independent review of the programme by London TravelWatch, commissioned by the Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, found that steps need to be taken to ensure that customers continue to receive the service and support that they need. TfL has committed to addressing the recommendations in the report by London Travelwatch and has started this process, working with the unions to review the staffing model and put more station staff roles back in where needed.

Steve Griffiths, London Underground's Chief Operating Officer, said: `We have always committed to reviewing our new staffing model with our trade unions during its first year, and following the review by London TravelWatch we established a joint working group to undertake that review and make any changes necessary.

`It is clear that some more staff for stations are needed. We have started to recruit them and will continue to work with the unions to implement the recommendations made in the review. We believe that this will help us to provide a better service for our customers and ensure that they continue to feel safe, secure and able to access the right help while using our network.

`We encourage the trade unions to continue working with us in order to resolve this dispute and deliver the customer service our customers expect.'

Then we see an update from the Unions on why they are striking:

Tube management fail to address safety issues as talks collapse.

Mick Cash said
"Despite huge efforts by the union negotiating team London Underground have failed to come up with any serious plans to tackle the staffing and safety crisis caused by the axing of nearly 900 safety-critical station jobs.

"Instead of resolving the issues tube bosses have chosen instead to ramp up the rhetoric with threats to mobilise a strike-breaking army of "ambassadors" with severe consequences for the current safety regime across the Tube network.

"As a result of the management failure to face up to the current crisis the talks have collapsed and all industrial actions remains on. It is up to London Underground to take full responsibility for this situation and to come back to us with a serious set of proposals. "

This leaflet from RMT shows the reasons why they are striking.

Tube talks update - adjourned without resolution

Talks at Acas between TSSA and London Underground (LU) to resolve a dispute about safety and understaffing on the Tube have adjourned tonight without resolution.

Said TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes:

"We are disappointed not to have a solution to the dispute this evening but we await the outcome of London Underground's final position. We'd like the offer they have made us to go far further. Our strike will still go ahead as scheduled on Sunday evening, but our negotiating team remain available throughout the weekend to resume talks should LU be able to extend their offer."

“London Underground have said that they will recruit 500 staff this year. This is to cover a turnover of 300 and outstanding vacancies of 73, leaving only 127 new roles. They have committed to creating 150 new roles by the Autumn, but only 50 of these will be Customer Service Assistants. This is not sufficient to improve services to passengers, reduce the pressures on staff to work excessive hours, or to ensure the safety of the Tube network which has 270 stations.”

Here TFL show the key points of the London Underground disruption:

From TFL Tube Strike page
Key points

  • The strike is by station staff, which means many Tube stations may not open at all, particularly in Zone 1
  • Those that do open are likely to open after 0700 and close by 1900 on Monday 9 January
  • It will only be possible for us to run severely restricted underground services
  • Other transport services, including buses, DLR and London Overground, are expected to be much busier than usual
  • We will run the best service possible depending on how many employees are available
  • Where services are running, we advise customers to complete Tube journeys by 1800 on both Sunday and Monday
  • We expect normal services to resume by the morning of Tuesday 10 January

As always, I invite you to follow me on Twitter and Google Plus which is @CLondoner92


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