A TUBE strike is set to cause commuting chaos in central London from tomorrow as union bosses insist the 24 hour action will take place.
Thousands of workers could find themselves stranded as “no service” is expected on five lines from 4.30am tomorrow.
The Victoria, Central, Northern, Jubilee and Piccadilly line are all going to be affected with RMT drivers being told not to clock in for their shifts from Friday morning.
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 ongoing dispute is over the night shifts that drivers will be required to work to enable the restart of the Night Tube.
Since the start of the pandemic it has been suspended, but was due to resume overnight on Saturday for the first time.
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The Night Tube was ditched in March 2020 so more trains could run during the day to increase social distancing at the height of the Covid pandemic.
The RMT claim that the workloads being forced on Tube drivers would wreck their work-life balance by “bulldozing through additional night and weekend working”.
But TfL say that the changes have been agreed by other unions and would bean that drivers have to work four night shifts per year.
It also means that the restart of the Night Tube on the Victoria and Central line would be delayed as drivers have been ordered to not work between 8.30pm on Saturday until 4.30am on Sunday.
TfL hope that the Night Tube will still be able to run but have admitted there are likely to be fewer trains than they hoped.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “This strike is 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.
“We have made every effort in ACAS and direct talks since the off to resolve this dispute but it is clear that London Underground bosses are driven solely by the bottom line and have no interest whatsoever in the well-being of their staff or the service to passengers.
“This strike action, and its 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.
“We warned months ago that slashing 200 Night Tube train driver positions would create a staffing nightmare and LU need to start facing up to that reality and soon.
"The union remains available for further talks even at this late stage.”
Further action has been planned each weekend in the run-up to Christmas on the Central and Victoria lines.
There will also be another five -line 24-hour shutdown on the final Saturday before Christmas.
TfL have called for RMT to call off the strike and enter talks about the staffing requirements of the Night Tube.
Nick Dent, director of London Underground customer operations, added: “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.
“While every other union has agreed to these changes and our staff have been enjoying the benefits of the changes since August, we’re 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.
“If the RMT refuses to engage with us and carries out its unnecessary action, which is timed to cause maximum disruption for our customers looking to enjoy London during the festive season, Londoners are advised to check before they travel on days of planned strike action.”
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