Tube Strikes Loom for London

Articles, LondonUnlockedEditorComment

Yesterday 29% of the 1,300 RMT Tube drivers voted for strike action over two drivers who have been dismissed. The motion carried and London now has two weeks of strike action - designed for maximum disruption - to look forward to.

The first set of strike dates are:

• 9.01pm on Mon 16 May - 11.59am on Tue 17 May

• 12 noon on Wed 18 May - 11.59am on Thurs 19 May

• 12 noon - 9pm on Fri 20 May

The second set of dates are:

• 9.01pm on Mon 13 June - 11.59am on Tue 14 June

• 12 noon on Wed 15 June - 11.59am on Thurs 16 June

• 12 noon - 9pm on Fri 17 June

These strikes are billed as a separate action to concerns over the rejected pay deal or even previous strikes on ticket office opening hours. The two drivers at the heart of the strike action have been profiled by the Standard here. Their cases continue to progress through the normal employee tribunal process.

The Mayor has branded the strikes as "idiotic... even by the grim standards of the RMT leadership, the series of strikes they are now seeking to inflict on their members and fellow Londoners are unbelievable." He has a point.

Never afraid to get tough with the Government in the run up to an election, the Mayor has also called for the 'lily-livered' Government to bring forwards legislation to make striking more difficult - requiring a 50% turn out before any disruptions can be planned.

Tom Edwards thoughtfully estimates the likely impact of the strikes:

"How much disruption will it cause? My guess is it will be similar to the last dispute.

"Half of Tube drivers are not RMT members so like last time up to 50% of trains could run. However, unlike last time more stations could be open as the TSSA union are not out."

All now hinges on the results of the employment tribunal. Businesses and Londoners should brace themselves.