Travel chaos looms this weekend as longest ever Tube strike begins TOMORROW as drivers walk out in protest over staffing

LONDONERS are facing months of "severe disruption" as Tube drivers launch their longest-ever strike – because they have to work four weekend night shifts a year.

Those trying to get home on the Underground on Friday and Saturday nights could face problems until the SUMMER as a result of the action.


Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) are set to stage a walk-out on night Tube services on the Central and Victoria lines.

It'll begin tomorrow – and continue until June 19.

Currently, those lines are the only night services available, meaning the Underground could effectively shut down.

The row between travel chiefs and union leaders has been brewing since new shifts were introduced last August – and RMT's general secretary has warned Londoners will pay the price for the falling-out.

Under the new schedule, drivers are asked to work just four night shift weekends in 2022.

Travel chiefs have defended the rosters, and say they give assurances that there'll be no job cuts.

They also ensure permanent work is available for those on part-time contracts.

'SEVERE CONSEQUENCES'

London Underground managing director Andy Lord said: "We're disappointed that once again the RMT is continuing to push for strike action that is likely to cause further unnecessary disruption.

"We're calling on the RMT to join us for talks so we can work together to resolve this dispute around roster changes, which mean no job losses and greater flexibility for drivers.

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'If these six months of action do go ahead, we will continue to operate as regular a service as possible. However, customers are advised to check before they travel and use buses to complete their journeys where required.

"I apologise to them for the impact this unnecessary action will have on their journeys."

But RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: "If London Underground and the mayor thought this fight for progressive and family-friendly working practices was going away they need to think again.

"RMT has repeatedly put forward cost neutral proposals that would repair the damage unleashed by deleting 200 driver posts and which would dig the Underground out of this mess.

OFF TRACK

"They have ignored us and that approach will have severe consequences for Londoners through to the summer."

Travellers have been warned of delays and cancellations from 7pm on all affected days, beginning tomorrow.

Anyone planning an evening trip out is advised to check before they travel and use buses where trains aren't available.

Services on both lines will start up as normal for daytime services, which begin at around 5am on Saturdays and around 6am on Sundays, Transport for London (TfL) says.

Night Tube services began again on both the Central and Victoria lines on November 27 for the first time since the pandemic.

However, there was a strike in the lead-up to Christmas too.

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TfL has warned that the impact of strike action depends on the "number of drivers booking on each weekend".

The Jubilee, Northern and Piccadilly lines are still out of service at night as a result of the pandemic.

Night services on the London Overground will still run as planned on Friday and Saturday nights between Highbury and Islington and New Cross Gate.

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