London Underground drivers to strike on 15 March

Workers failed to return to the office in huge numbers yesterday, and one Whitehall department appeared to operate at a fraction of its capacity even though official guidance to work from home has been dropped.

London Underground drivers are to strike on 15 March – budget day – in a dispute over pensions and working arrangements.

The Aslef union announced on Wednesday that members would strike for 24 hours, in a row over changes to working arrangements and pensions.

Its members in other roles on the underground – including test train and engineering train drivers and those in management grades – also voted to strike, the union said, and would take action on 15 March as well.

Tube drivers voted by 99% in favour of strike action, on a turnout of 77%.

Finn Brennan, Aslef’s full-time organiser on the underground, said there would be a “protracted dispute” unless Transport for London (TfL) worked with the union.

“The size of these ‘yes’ votes and the large turnouts show that our members are not prepared to put up any longer with the threats to their working conditions and pensions,” Brennan said.

“We understand that TfL faces financial challenges, post-pandemic, but our members are simply not prepared to pay the price for the government’s failure to properly fund London’s public transport system.”

He added: “We are always prepared to discuss and negotiate on changes, but our members want an unequivocal commitment from TfL that management will not continue to force through detrimental changes without agreement.

“Unless they are prepared to work with us, and accept that changes have to come by agreement, and bring real benefits to staff, rather than just cuts and cost savings, this will be only the first day of action in a protracted dispute.”