There’s been a collective groan around the Scout London office at the breaking news that ASLEF’s planned tube strike on Boxing Day will go ahead following a Judge’s ruling at the High Court.
The union had announced a series of four one-day strikes starting on 26 December. Needless to say the decision hadn’t exactly gone down well with leaders, businesses or the general public in the capital.
With the full support of Boris Johnson, Transport for London took the union to court yesterday in an attempt to halt the planned strike.
In court yesterday lawyers for TfL had argued that ASLEF had held what it described as a ‘false mandate’ by balloting members who weren’t even scheduled to work over the festive period in order to gain the required support.
ASLEF is demanding triple pay and a day off in lieu for any drivers working over the Christmas period. TfL had responded to the demands by stating that drivers already had allowances in their existing contracts to compensate them for working on public holidays.
The news will come as a huge blow to traders who were banking on the Boxing Day sales to bring much needed custom to the capital’s shopping centres. Sales to date are estimated to be 10% below those recording in 2010.
The prospect of industrial action has also cast doubt over the traditional Boxing Day football fixtures. The local derby between Chelsea and Fulham will go ahead regardless given the close proximity of the two grounds, but others will now be in doubt.
The news of the court decision won’t matter to Arsenal Football Club who had already announced the postponement of their match against Wolves. That game will now be held 24 hours later on 27 December.
Mr Justice Eder has not yet given any reasons for his ruling, which will matter little to those Londoners affected by the decision.
ASLEF General Secretary Mick Whelan commented “Whilst we’re obviously very pleased with today’s verdict, we feel that two days have been wasted going through the courts when we could spent that time finding a resolution to this dispute.” Scout notes that no mention is made of the plight of Londoners, but there you are.
The remaining strikes are planned for 16 January, 3 and 13 February.