London Tube Strike Wheel of Misfortune Says... Maybe in July

By Gary Cutlack on at

Members of the RMT trade union that looks after the interests of London's Underground workers are once again facing a ballot on possible strike action, raising the menace of a lovely mid-summer shutdown of the tube network.

This latest call to arms is coming because of the new overnight service that's launching later this year. The union wants an above-inflation pay rise for its workers and terms and conditions that stop members being forced into working at weekends and overnight once the tube goes 24 hours, using the old "safety" reasoning to try to get the public on its side.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash says: "Nobody should be under any illusions, the night running plan has been cobbled together on the hoof and will rip up the safety rule book. Monday mornings will be absolute chaos as the network struggles to get back into gear after running flat out, round the clock through the weekend."

And it's not just the RMT. The Transport Salaried Staffs' Association and Aslef, the union that looks after the interests of the train drivers, are both also balloting staff about the option of summer strikes. Given how hellish it can be on the tube in July, a couple of days off might actually be welcome. [Guardian]