Tube strike set to hit Piccadilly Line

Row between TfL and tube drivers over reintroduction of night tube services, reports Joe Talora, Local Democracy Reporter

Piccadilly Line
The Piccadilly Line between Oakwood and Southgate stations

Commuters are bracing for severe disruption to the tube network as planned strikes draw closer, with no breakthrough imminent in talks with union leaders.  

Members of the RMT union are set to begin a series of 24-hour walkouts on Friday to coincide with the reopening of the night tube.

Tube drivers on the Victoria, Central, Northern, Piccadilly and Jubilee lines will walk out over changes to staff rotas being used to restart the night tube – though only the Victoria and Central lines will immediately benefit from relaunched night services at weekends.

With just two days to go until the planned strikes, a Transport for London (TfL) source has said that “not a huge amount has developed” since the industrial action was announced, but that TfL “remains open to talks” with RMT.  

The union had planned two similar strikes during the summer over the same issue, which were eventually called off following “last-ditch” talks with TfL. 

Though RMT general secretary Mick Lynch has said that the union also “remains open for talks”, he said that tube bosses have “refused point blank to consider the serious grievances at the heart of the dispute”. 

But London’s transport network could yet face more disruption over the festive period as another union – ASLEF – has said its members will strike over changes to TfL’s pension schemes. 

As a condition of the funding deal agreed with the government in the summer, TfL is required to conduct a review of its pension schemes. 

ASLEF’s tube organiser Finn Brennan has said there will be “hard-hitting and sustained industrial action across London Underground” if changes are forced through, though no dates have been confirmed. 

Former TUC general secretary and current head of ACAS, Sir Brendan Barber, has been appointed to lead a “truly independent” review of TfL’s pensions. 

TfL commissioner Andy Byford has stressed that there is “no predetermined outcome” of the review and has said “we’ll report back in due course”.