Passengers in the South East face further disruption with train drivers on Southern Rail and the London Underground striking from next month in three separate disputes.
ASLEF, the main train drivers’ union, has announced nine days of strikes in the run-up to Christmas and the New Year in a dispute with Southern Rail over the extension of driver only operation.
Drivers will strike on Tuesday 13 and Wednesday 14 December and again on Friday 16 December, with a further six-day strike from Monday 9 to Saturday 14 January.
Drivers on Southern Rail will strike for nine days
The union said the strike was over Southern’s ‘decision to force through driver only operation on the franchise’.
General secretary Mick Whelan said:‘We have always been happy to talk to the company, and we have always believed it is, or should be, possible to do a deal – as we did with ScotRail in Scotland – but it takes two to tango and the company has not been prepared to negotiate.’
Mr Whelan said the fingerprints of the Department for Transport were ‘all over this dispute’.
Charles Horton, CEO of Govia Thameslink Railway, which operates Southern, said: ‘Passengers will be rightly furious that these wholly unnecessary and unjustified strikes have been called in the run up to Christmas and in the New Year.'
Referring to ongoing strikes by the RMT union, Mr Horton added: ‘The travelling public has endured months of misery and seen their work and family lives turned upside down by RMT's futile industrial action with conductors. Now Aslef and the drivers want to compound that suffering by joining the fray in launching more pointless strikes.’
In addition, drivers on the Piccadilly and Hammersmith and City London Underground lines belonging to the RMT will strike for 24 hours next month in two separate disputes over what the union called ‘a breakdown in industrial relations’.
Both strikes will run from between 21.30 hours on Tuesday 6 December and 21.29 hours on Wednesday 7 December.