Published on November 14, 2012 | by Abigail Maden

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Underground disruption set for third Boxing Day in a row

Underground train pulling into a station platform

Londoners hope Boxing Day travel will be straightforward [Tom Nicholson]

Train drivers’ union Aslef has announced a possible third consecutive Boxing Day strike after talks with Transport for London regarding extra pay for working December 26 were unsuccessful.

London Underground offered drivers more flexible leave over the Christmas period, whilst standing by its long established agreement for working on Boxing Day and other Bank Holidays.

However, the offer was rejected, meaning tube drivers will be balloted over strike action this Boxing Day.

Aslef has demanded triple pay and an extra day off in lieu for working other bank holidays.

A spokesperson for Aslef commented that LU’s offer was “provocative” and that “it offered no advance at all”.

More than half the tube’s 3,300 drivers are members of Aslef, with the majority of the remainder belonging to the rival RMT  which is not involved in the dispute.

Boxing Day 2010 and 2011 saw hundreds of tube drivers take part in a 24-hour walkout over the pay dispute, leaving many Londoners unable to travel.

Despite the strike action set to take place, drivers will be given three options; they can volunteer to work on Boxing Day in exchange for one days annual leave for pay, they can remain on annual leave on Boxing Day or they can work on Boxing Day and take annual leave on another day.

“London Underground is acting as if they are manufacturing a Boxing Day strike rather than seeking a solution.”
Aslef spokesperson

“London Underground is acting as if they are manufacturing a Boxing Day strike rather than seeking a solution,” the Aslef spokesperson added.

TFL has rejected these claims, saying that tube drivers’ £46, 000 annual wage is sufficient to cover working over the holidays.

Tube drivers will commence voting in the next few weeks over whether industrial action will go ahead.

Although not all tube drivers are involved in the dispute, further Christmas disruption may occur if non-striking drivers refuse to cross picket lines.

The ballot result is expected on December 17.

 

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