London suffers biggest subway strike in three years


Victor Jack

LONDON (Reuters)-Stores and businesses in central London hoping to get a much-needed boost from Black Friday sales have been hit by the disruption of the subway network as drivers staged the largest strike since 2018.

The 24-hour strike that started at 04:30 GMT resulted in the suspension of the Piccadilly Line, Waterloo Line and City Line, and delays on the Jubilee Line, Central Line, Victoria Line and Northern Line.

Transport for London (TfL) stated that it operates 58% of regular services.

The 2,000 members of the Railway, Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) went on strike after the TfL plan to let subway drivers work at night.

The target of the strike was five lines where Transport for London hired full-time drivers for the night subway. The Waterloo and City lines were also suspended because it shared many drivers with the Central Line.

During the pandemic, subway services on Friday and Saturday nights have been suspended. It was originally scheduled to restart on Saturday with limited services.

Joe Swaffham, 36, traveled from North Greenwich to Moorgate to work for a maintenance company. He said that his commute time was twice as long, causing him to be 45 minutes late for work.

“Commuters were not so forgiving when trying to get on the train, and I was pushed to the platform twice-fortunately, the Jubilee line has glass walls to ensure safety,” he said.

“But I don’t think train workers should be forced to work without a contract,” he added.

Stores in central London said the strike may affect Black Friday sales, one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

Ross Morgan, managing director of the London Business Alliance Centre, which represents 500 companies in the West End, said: “The timing of the strike was particularly disappointing and it was a real blow to the hotel and retail industry in central London.”

TfL stated that it has no plans to hold talks with RMT leaders. “We are still willing to discuss, but there are no specific plans at this time,” a spokesperson said.

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