Tube Drivers Plan to Strike on Budget Day

Union leader warns this could be first action in 'protracted dispute'

RMT To Ballot 10,000 Tube Workers on Major Strike Action
Picture: CGP Grey

February 22, 2023

London Underground drivers who are members of the ASLEF union are to strike on Wednesday 15 March.

Given the high proportion of drivers who belong to this union, were the action to proceed, it would probably mean limited or no service on the network that day as well as disruption in the morning on the following day.

The strike falls on the day the Chancellor of the Exchequer Jeremy Hunt is due to announce the government’s budget in what is believed to be a calculated move by the union. The strike would also take place the day before industrial action by members of the RMT on 14 train operating companies nationwide including those in London. They are set to take action on 16, 18 and 30 March, and 1 April - the start of the Easter school holidays for most schools. Members at Network Rail, responsible for tracks and bridges, will also strike on 16 March and continue with an overtime ban.

The tube drivers’ dispute is over an alleged failure by Transport for London (TfL) to give sufficient reassurances that changes to working arrangements and pensions will happen by agreement.

The union says there was near unanimous support for the strike on a turnout of 77%. Over a thousand drivers as well as some in management grades will not be working.

Finn Brennan, ASLEF’s organiser on London Underground, said, “We understand that TfL faces financial challenges, post-pandemic, but our members are simply not prepared to pay the price for the government’s failure to properly fund London’s public transport system.

“Cuts to safety training have already been forced through and management is open that they plan to remove all current working agreements under the guise of “modernisation” and “flexibility” and to replace the agreed attendance and discipline policies. Proposals to slash pension benefits are due to be announced in the next week.

“We are always prepared to discuss and negotiate on changes, but our members want an unequivocal commitment from TfL that management will not continue to force through detrimental changes without agreement.

“Unless they are prepared to work with us, and accept that changes have to come by agreement, and bring real benefits to staff, rather than just cuts and cost savings, this will be only the first day of action in a protracted dispute.”

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