London's tube workers are out on strike again today, and with rain forecast, it's potentially going to be a wet and miserable slog for city folk to get to their internet desks. So what's it all about this time and how are you going to get from [affordable housing area] to [central working area] now?
What's This London Tube Strike About Then?
It's a multi-faceted omniprotest, this London tube strike, mainly focused on asking that staff members are not made to work overnight shifts if they don't want to, what with the imminent opening of some tube lines for 24-hours over the weekend. They're also not happy about pay levels, station staffing rules and ticket office closures. So unhappy you might think they should all retrain as plumbers.
Public sympathy for their cause is looking a little fragile, after it emerged that tube drivers were offered a last-minute pay offer of a £2,000 raise by Underground bosses, which would've been added to a "transition" bonus of £500 to be given to all staff working the new overnight lines to ease the move to the 24-hour timetable. Oh, and there was a 2 per cent blanket pay rise offered to all staff, too.
The TSSA union explained the timeline of the negotiations yesterday, saying: "At 12.30 today Steve Griffiths, LU COO, presented a revised ‘full and final offer’ to the unions, with the ultimatum that all four unions had until 18.30 to accept the offer in full and agree to withdraw from all industrial action – with no further discussion to take place – or the offer would be withdrawn."
The TSSA and other main unions say they weren't given enough time to consider these new options and they don't actually cover the inconvenience of suddenly being asked to work overnight, so the strike remains on.
For How Long Might I Be Inconvenienced, Should I Live in London?
The official start time for the strike is 18:30 on Wednesday July 8, running to 18:29 on July 9. So it is, in fact, only a 23 hour and 59 minute strike, you could say, as your joke for the day to make to fellow bus-line queuers.
What's Off and What's On?
This strike should cover all of the Underground network, with the First Great Western lines also joining in over a separate strike about guards, staffing levels and maintenance contracts. Only the Docklands Light Railway, London Overground and TfL rail lines will run in London, and even then travel is likely to be hell thanks to literally millions of extra people trying to get on said trains.
Could It Still Be Called Off?
Apparently fresh negotiations were going on yesterday (July 7), with all four of the main unions meeting with London Underground bosses once more. Perhaps the throwing in of one complimentary Cornetto per staff member per shift on days with average temperatures higher than 19°C could get it cancelled.
How Am I Supposed to Get Around?
Well it could be all the excuse you need to ditch the oppressive, constantly escalating hell of the season ticket and get yourself a bike and all the lycra (or not) to go with it, or of course there's always the buses, which give you a better view and the opportunity to sit up top and the front and "be" the driver, albeit on an unpaid zero-hour basis.
Walking's also bound to be a memorable experience, especially if you live in, say, Stratford, and work in one of Harrow's mobile phone shops.
And perhaps this could also be the day you suggest to your boss that you could easily work from home, seeing as all you really do is email people and read the news, so why not try it out?
Oh, Why is it Always Me and My Hard Life, Boo Hoo Hoo?
It's not just London that gets occasionally crippled. The ferries that connect Scottish islanders to the mainland are also out of action this Friday thanks to the RMT, in a dispute over contract clauses – meaning no post or food deliveries for locals and broken holiday plans for tourists.