A strike by London Underground drivers, and a countrywide reduction in the number of train services, has meant travel problems for many who planned to travel over Boxing Day. LU tried last week to have the decision by the Aslef union to call its members out on strike blocked in the High Court. However, the judge said that the move was legal and permitted it to go ahead.
Mick Whelan, Aslef’s general secretary, said the dispute was over the rights of workers to take quality time off during the Christmas period. The union is demanding that those who do come into work on Boxing Day should be awarded triple pay, and a day off in lieu.
Chief operating officer for London Underground, Howard Collins, said that everything was being done to reduce the number of workers needed on the bank holiday. He has accused Aslef of ignoring the union agreements which are already in place governing levels of pay and work.
According to Colin Stanbridge of the London Chamber of Commerce, Aslef has been attempting to hold retailers to ransom at a time when a fragile economy is having to battle against weak consumer confidence and high unemployment.
Labour has slammed the coalition for failing to keep the trains running over Boxing Day. However, the Department for Transport claims that the number of services being run is comparable to recent Boxing Days, and has hit back at Labour saying that the party had failed to condemn the industrial action on the Tube.