Tube services to be disrupted by RMT strike action this weekend - customers encouraged to plan ahead
TfL is warning Tube customers that a planned 24-hour strike by the RMT union on Saturday 18 December on the Central, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria lines will impact Londoners and visitors from 04:30 if it goes ahead.
Night Tube services on the Central and Victoria lines are also set to be disrupted by planned RMT strike action on Friday 17 December, with customers advised to check before they travel and use buses to complete their journeys where required.
The planned 24-hour strike action on Saturday 18 December could mean a significantly reduced service on the Central, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria lines all day with little or no service in places.
It is also likely to mean much busier services on the Tube lines that are not affected by the strike (Bakerloo, Circle, District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan) as customers seek alternative routes.
Buses through central London, and national rail services into the capital are also expected to be busier than normal all day. It will also affect Night Tube services on the Central and Victoria lines on Saturday 18 December.
Customers who need to travel using TfL services are advised to check before they travel, allow more time for their journey and travel at quieter times where possible. Customers in central London are advised to walk or cycle all or part of their journeys where possible if the planned action goes ahead.
Those arriving into London via national rail stations are encouraged to complete journeys on foot or by using Santander Cycles or rental e-scooters as buses from London termini will be busier than normal.
Services on the morning of Sunday 19 December until around 08:00 may also be disrupted, so TfL is advising customers to check before they travel. Night Tube customers on the Central and Victoria lines are also advised to check before they travel and use buses to complete their journeys where required.
In addition, TfL is warning customers that both the Central and Victoria lines could be severely disrupted from 19:00 onwards on Friday 17 December.
The RMT is taking this action over new rosters, which have been agreed by the other recognised union and were introduced for Tube drivers in August.
This strike action has been called despite the new rosters including assurances that there will be no job cuts, providing certainty and the option of permanent work for those on part-time contracts, and reassurance that Tube drivers will only be rostered to work up to four night shift weekends per year - shifts which can be swapped with colleagues for duties at other times of day if that works better for them.
Talks between TfL and the RMT have been ongoing for months, and TfL remains open to further talks in the hope that strike action at a crucial time for the capital's retailers and hospitality venues can be called off.
Last week, TfL wrote to the RMT outlining the impact that industrial action on the weekend before Christmas would have on Tube customers and urged the union to call the action off.
Night Tube services were re-introduced on the Central and Victoria lines on the evening of Saturday 27 November. The impact of the overnight strike action depends on the number of drivers booking on each weekend, so customers are advised to check before they travel on Night Tube services for the most up-to-date information.
TfL was able to run a full Night Tube service on the Victoria line last weekend despite the RMT action, with all expected drivers booking on, and a reliable service overnight from Ealing Broadway to Hainault on the Central line.
The strike affects Tube drivers only and stations remain fully staffed throughout the action. Plain clothes and uniformed British Transport Police officers are also patrolling the network to ensure staff and customer safety.
Nick Dent, London Underground's Director of Customer Operations, said: 'Our view remains that rostering Tube drivers to work up to four night shift weekends each year, which they can swap with colleagues if they wish, is fair and reasonable.
'We have also guaranteed that there will be no job losses. We urge the RMT to call off this unnecessary strike action, which will reduce the level of service we can run at a time when coronavirus cases are rising.
'It will not serve any purpose other than to disrupt Londoners and visitors to the city as they enjoy the festivities at this special time of year. We remain available for talks at any time.'
TfL had previously announced that the Night Tube will be returning in time for the busy Christmas period after being suspended since March 2020 due to the pandemic, providing more options for customers who need to travel at night either for leisure or for work, while also making journey times shorter and offering additional safe routes home.
Further information will be available ahead of, and during, the strikes at tfl.gov.uk/tube-strike as well as on the TfL Go app, TfL website and Journey Planner.
Night services on London Overground will be restored on Friday and Saturday nights between Highbury & Islington and New Cross Gate from Friday 17 December. No strike action is planned to disrupt Night Overground's return.
Night Tube services on the Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines will return to service as soon as possible. TfL is working hard to resolve resourcing issues on these lines and there are other considerations such as the upcoming closure of the Bank branch of the Northern line to allow completion of the upgrade at Bank Tube station.
In line with new Government regulations on the wearing of face coverings on public transport, all customers travelling on the TfL transport network must wear face coverings for the duration of their journeys or risk being fined, unless they are exempt.
TfL's 500 uniformed enforcement officers and the police are deployed across the transport network ensuring that customers comply with the Government regulations. Anybody who does not comply may be refused entry, directed to leave the network or face a fine.
Notes to editors
- The RMT's planned strike action is as follows:
o 20:30 17 December - 04:29 18 December (Central & Victoria)
o 04:30 18 December - 04:29 19 December (Central, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly & Victoria)
- Night Tube drivers were offered the opportunity to join the full-time driver pool on a permanent basis, with Night Tube duties spread across all drivers. A number of drivers have been able to stay part-time at their own request, with some of them moving to part-time positions during the day service to help balance their work and personal lives. No Tube driver has or will lose their job as a result of these changes, nor has any driver been forced to switch to part- or full-time work if they do not want to
- The Central and Victoria lines were previously two of the busiest lines on the Night Tube network and provide crucial links between large parts of London and the centre of the city. Restoring night running on these lines is helping businesses like bars, clubs and restaurants by providing a safe, quick travel option for Londoners and visitors looking to make the most of all the capital has to offer in the evenings, and those who need to travel to or from work at night
- The safety of TfL's staff and customers is top priority and TfL works closely with the British Transport Police to ensure this is prioritised. TfL has also invested in additional British Transport Police officers who are dedicated to policing Night Tube. These officers are providing a high visibility police presence and keeping customers and staff safe, as they did previously on Night Tube before it was paused as part of the pandemic