Lon­don braces for Tube strike for all-night ser­vices

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL -

Lon­don was braced Wed­nes­day for the sec­ond shut­down of the Un­der­ground within a month as trade unions stage a strike over plans to run Tube trains all night at week­ends.

The walk-out will last from 6:30 p.m. (1730 GMT) un­til Fri­day morn­ing, caus­ing dis­rup­tion for mil­lions of com­muters and tourists.

It will also hit football fans trav­el­ing to see English cham­pi­ons Chelsea host Ital­ian side Fiorentina in a friendly game at Stam­ford Bridge on Wed­nes­day.

Over­ground trains and buses will run as nor­mal.

It comes less than one month af­ter a sim­i­lar strike shut down the Un­der­ground net­work, which han­dles up to four mil­lion jour­neys ev­ery day, for the first time in 13 years in early July.

Unions are locked in a bit­ter dis­pute with Tube op­er­a­tor Lon­don Un­der­ground over plans to run trains through the night on Fri­day and Satur­days from Septem­ber 12.

Af­ter talks broke down again on Mon­day, union lead­ers called for the launch of the new ser­vice to be post­poned un­til a deal can be reached about staff pay and work con­di­tions.

Mick Cash, leader of the RMT union, said the all-night ser­vice was “rushed and botched from the off,” and said it would now bal­lot more work­ers for in­dus­trial ac­tion.

Lon­don Mayor Boris John­son said how­ever that staff have al­ready been of­fered a “gen­er­ous” pack­age that would not see any­body work­ing more hours than they do at the mo­ment.

He re­jected sug­ges­tions that the night Tube was a pop­ulist mea­sure that would only ben­e­fit rev­ellers, say­ing it was also aimed at the city’s many shift work­ers who must cur­rently en­dure lengthy jour­neys by bus.

“These are not party an­i­mals, not just peo­ple go­ing home af­ter a night out, they are the work­ing peo­ple of Lon­don,” the mayor told BBC ra­dio.

Cur­rent timeta­bles vary depend­ing on the line but trains be­gin in the outer edges of Lon­don some time af­ter 5:00 a.m. and the last ser­vices leave the cen­tre about half past mid­night.

From Septem­ber, trains will run 24 hours on Fri­day and Satur­day on five of the 11 lines, bring­ing Lon­don in line with other cities such as New York, Ber­lin and Syd­ney.

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