Tube Strike on Boxing Day!

Tube Strike on Boxing day!

A judge has refused to halt a strike called by the union Aslef. Aslef wants all workers on Boxing Day to be paid 3 times normal pay, and possibly a day off in lieu.

The management of London Underground argued that the strike was illegal because the union had balloted members not rostered to work on Boxing day. This would have increased the total number balloted; thus giving the result more legitimacy. It might also have increased the number voting for a strike, but this is not known.

The judge’s view apparently was that balloting only those rostered to work on Boxing Day was asking too much of the union. It is also unclear whether the relevant legislation specifies only those working on the relevant day/s should be balloted.

Underlying this legal dispute is the conflict over the right to strike at all. Further, there is the populist feeling that it is particularly harsh decision to strike on this day as it traditionally a day for many to go shopping at the sales. There is a suggestion here that the union is being particularly harsh to the large travelling public.

There are 3 answers to this. One, there is never a good time to strike, as somebody is always affected by a strike. Secondly, tactically if you decide to strike at all you want maximum effect; and a quick return to negotiation. Thirdly, the union was rightly confident that it’s action was legal. Finally, there is a long tradition of three times pay on a Bank Holiday.

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