Tube strikes: major disruption expected on London Underground throughout next week


Strikes are likely to close the London underground for most of next week unless last-ditch talks can avert the stoppages.

Members of the RMT union working in different parts of the tube have started rolling strikes over seven days from Friday, with the biggest impact expected between Monday and Thursday, in a dispute over pay.

Transport for London has told commuters of severe disruption next week, with virtually no tube services expected from Sunday night until Friday morning.

The first action is due to start with RMT engineers striking on Friday evening, having some impact on later District line services. Staff in some network control functions will strike at the weekend, before most services are halted when signallers and station staff strike on alternate days next week.

The TSSA union is also intending to ballot for strike action, although the Aslef drivers’ union has accepted TfL’s offer of a 5% annual pay increase for 2023. Tube workers received an 8.4% pay rise in 2022 as part of a four-year index-linked deal struck before inflation soared.

Glynn Barton, TfL’s chief operating officer, said: “We are disappointed that RMT is planning strike action in response to our offer of a 5% pay increase.

“We have been clear throughout our productive discussions with our trade unions that this offer is the most we can afford while ensuring that we can operate safely, reliably and sustainably. We encourage the RMT to engage with us to avoid disruption for Londoners. We would like to advise anyone travelling during the strike days to check before they travel.”

The RMT general secretary, Mick Lynch, said tube workers were not going to accept poor offers and the “continual undermining of conditions”.

One of the RMT’s demands is the restoration of heavily discounted train travel on national rail services used to get to work – which has not been offered to new staff since 1996. Staff and one family member are given free travel across TfL services.

Lynch added: “The refusal of TfL to restore staff travel facilities and create a two-tier workforce is also unacceptable. Our members have made it clear that they are prepared to take action and we urge TfL to enter into meaningful conciliatory talks to avert disruption in the capital.”

The previous two threatened tube strikes in the capital in 2023 were called off after progress in talks. However, there appears to be less headway for negotiation this time.

Should the strikes go ahead, London Overground and Elizabeth line trains will run but may be extremely crowded and affected at stations shared with underground lines. Buses are likely to be busier and slower because of greater road congestion.