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Chaos for Christmas: Rail unions plan Tube and train walkouts targeting the holiday getaway AND Boxing Day sales
Third consecutive Boxing Day walkout by Tube driversDispute dates back to Bank Holiday pay agreement in 1992Further strikes planned for Scotland and Tyne and Wear Metro
00:29 GMT, 18 December 2012
Militant rail unions are set to create a nightmare for travellers over Christmas by staging a nationwide series of strikes.
Walkouts are planned across the holiday period, as families visit relatives, shoppers flock to Boxing Day sales and fans travel to major sporting events.
The strikes will hit CrossCountry trains from Penzance to Aberdeen, sleeper services between London and Scotland, the London Underground and the Newcastle Metro.
The stoppage on Boxing Day will disrupt London Underground services on a busy day in the capital, causing chaos for shoppers, sports fans and visitors
Passengers travelling home for Christmas will also be affected by nationwide RMT strikes
Services between Nottingham, Leicester
and Sheffield and London will also be affected as staff at signal boxes
controlling St Pancras international station take industrial action.
In one of the biggest disruptions,
Tube drivers will stage three strikes, including one on Boxing Day, in a
row over Bank Holiday pay.
Members of the Aslef train drivers’
union will walk out for 24 hours on December 26, and again on January 18
and 25, causing chaos in the capital.
It will be the third successive Boxing
Day walkout by Tube drivers in a dispute over Bank Holiday pay which
dates back to an agreement in 1992.
One rail executive told the Daily Mail: ‘Funny how these things always happen at Christmas.’
Members of the hard-line Aslef train-drivers' union will walk out for 24 hours on December 26
Rival union RMT, lead by General Secretary Bob Crow, are also planning a series of industrial strikes on CrossCountry trains
Aslef members voted by a ratio of
nine to one in favour of strikes. Union general secretary Mick Whelan
said: ‘This result shows the strength of feeling among our Tube driver
members. We are seeking quite reasonable assurances – that working on
this day will be voluntary and that those who do attend will be
'It is beyond belief that management cannot make an offer that achieves these points. ’
London Underground’s chief operating officer Howard Collins said they had made ‘a very fair offer’ to resolve the dispute.
He added: ‘Unfortunately, this was not
accepted and the offer has now been withdrawn so that further options
to resolve the issue can be explored with the union at [conciliation
‘London Underground has a
long-standing agreement with all trade unions which covers working
arrangements on Bank Holidays, including Boxing Day. However, we have
shown good faith and tried to find ways forward.
‘Further industrial action will not
achieve anything and I would urge Aslef leadership to work with us to
resolve this dispute.'
The West Hampstead signal box in north London controls rail traffic in and out of St Pancras International, pictured
Cleaners working for Churchill's, the contractors on Tyne and Wear Metro, are to hold a 72-hour strike over low pay starting at 10.30pm on Sunday
The RMT union is also planning action
on Friday against CrossCountry – which carries 90,000 passengers a day.
It is in dispute with the firm over what the union claims has been a
‘comprehensive breakdown in industrial relations’ .
RMT general secretary Bob Crow said
because of the ‘total collapse of industrial relations’, the ‘union has
had no option but to ballot members for action and with a mandate
secured we are pushing on with a 24-hour strike’.
The decision was condemned by Tory MP
Priti Patel, who said: ‘This is a highly selfish act by RMT to call
strikes when people are travelling across the country to see families
and loved ones. The union should think again.’
In the North East, cleaners working
for Churchill’s, the contractors, on Tyne and Wear Metro are to hold a
72-hour strike over low pay starting at 10.30pm on Sunday.
In Scotland, RMT members working for
ScotRail will on Friday hold the first of two 24-hour Christmas strikes
over what the union says is ‘victimisation’ of one of its members. The
second walkout is set to hit Christmas Eve services.
The union has planned the strike in support of former ticket inspector Scott Lewis, who was dismissed after an incident over the type of ticket used by a member of the public
Although the strikes will mainly
affect services in Scotland, there will also be disruption to
cross-border and sleeper services to London from the evening of December
Passengers on CrossCountry trains
face further strike action from Friday in a separate dispute involving
on-board crew belonging to the RMT union.
CrossCountry runs 300 services to 120
stations stretching from Manchester to Bournemouth, Aberdeen to
Penzance, Cardiff to Nottingham and Birmingham to Stansted Airport.
A Department for Transport spokesman
said: ‘Any disruption to rail services over the Christmas break would be
very regrettable and we very much hope these disputes can be resolved
so that passengers’ plans are not affected.’
CrossCountry’s managing director, Andy
Cooper, said: ‘It is regrettable that the RMT has made this
announcement and caused unnecessary worry for customers while we are
still working to resolve the remaining few issues.’