Unionized London Underground train drivers staged a massive strike on Black Friday, claiming that the walkout had been triggered by the “ripping up of existing agreements and working arrangements in advance of the Night Tube reopening.”
Traffic on five major London Tube lines – Central, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria – has been affected by the coordinated strike today, while more chaos in the British capital’s transportation system is expected over the weekend.
According to the Rail Maritime and Transport Union (RMT), that spearheaded the strike, many of its members were discontent with the new shift patterns.
Transport for London (TfL), the public body responsible for the city’s public transport, expressed its disappointment over the RMT’s decision. In a statement, TfL said the new rosters were introduced to Tube drivers back in August and included a number of assurances to staff about job security.
The walkout disrupted services across London on Black Friday, one of the busiest shopping days of the year, with sales running in many stores. Some of the strike participants have been seen picketing at the stations with banners and flags.
London’s mayor also spoke out against the walkouts. “This unnecessary strike action by RMT is causing widespread disruption for millions of Londoners and will also hit London’s retail, culture and hospitality at the worst possible time,” Sadiq Khan said on Twitter.
The strike is to continue on Saturday, with more walkouts planned over the run-up to Christmas.
“Customers who need to travel using TfL services are advised to check before they travel, allow more time for their journey, and travel at quieter times where possible,” TfL said, adding that people in Central London are advised “to walk, cycle or use a rental e-scooter” instead of using the Tube.