In a move that looks to cause utter bedlam for commuters, workers on London Underground’s Central Line have planned a two-pronged strike on Friday the 5th October and a second one on Wednesday 7th November. The strike, as organised by ASLEF union will leave more than 800,000 passengers in hot water.
ASLEF bosses have decided to make it clear that the action is not taken lightly and of course they were planning to resolve the situation before this industrial action became necessary. Talks supposedly broke down between ASLEF and London Underground. Disputes have ranged from working hours to safety concerns employees have had. The unsafe conditions being a point that has been raised time and time again and as of yet has not been solved.
There have been mentions of abuse of disciplinary procedure and workers feel they are unfairly treated by bosses. There also seems to be some issues regarding chain of command and the delegation of responsibilities. The disagreement concerns whether managers should be able or should be forced to drive the trains themselves when necessary.
Just last year over 900 jobs were cut entirely from the London Underground and staff chose to strike then for what they saw as an understaffed death trap of a workspace. We can conclude that the staff members concerns for safety have yet to be addressed and this recurring problem has, as of yet, no resolution in sight.
Questions must also be asked of the drivers themselves who choose to strike. Those who do not work for London Underground are unlikely to be sympathetic when they have to arrange alternative transportation to work. Strikers are often criticised for their lack of consideration to how much this ill effect the running of an entire city.
However, this only proves just how integral the staff at London Underground are and how they are yet to be treated to the standard of workplace safety that they require. Strike action is intended to prove this. The information has been distributed reasonably quickly and people should have time to make one-off arrangements on the days specified.
The government have considered in previous years to make it more difficult to strike for those working on the London Underground. The legislation doing the rounds would make it so that 50% of the voters from the union would have to be in favour for the strike to stand be democratically sound.
The bright side is that unlike strikes from the past decade only one line will be affected and as anyone who uses the London Underground knows, there is very rarely a day when all the lines are running smoothly anyway. Begs the question: will it cause as much disruption as everyone thinks?