Bakerloo line staff to stage two Tube strikes next month in passenger safety row

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

London Underground workers on the Bakerloo line are to stage strikes on two Saturdays in February.

Members of Aslef on thBakerloo line will walk out on February 4 and 11 after voting in favour of industrial action.

The union is in dispute over a plan it says would allow trains to go into sidings and depots without a check to ensure that passengers have left the train.

Aslef dubbed the proposal ‘flash and dash’, warning that passengers would have to depend on hearing unreliable PA announcements on 50-year-old trains to avoid being taken into depots and sidings.

Currently, trains are physically checked to make sure they are empty and it is safe for the driver to proceed, but the union said management want to remove this safety check as part of a cost-cutting plan.

Finn Brennan, Aslef’s organiser on the Underground, said: “This puts both passengers and staff at risk.

“Previous experience had shown that removing physical checks means that thousands of passengers are unwittingly taken into sidings or depots.

‘We understand the pressure that London Underground is under to cut costs, but this cannot be at the expense of the safety of passengers and staff.”

Aslef members will refuse to take trains into sidings or depots without safety checks.

Strike action is already planned by Aslef at 15 rail companies across the country on February 1 and 3.

Transport for London said: “The safety of staff and customers is our number one priority and we have never compromised on safety and never will.

“No one wants to see strike action on the network, especially when we are trying to encourage commuters and visitors back into London. We will continue to work with Aslef and urge them to call off this action.”

TfL added it has made no changes to safety checks, but as a result of technological advancements, is proposing to end a redundant requirement to always check trains to make sure they are empty when they reach the end of a journey.

As a result of barriers installed in the doors of carriages, it is not possible for customers to exit onto the tracks.

The Office of Rail and Road were consulted on these plans and raised no objections. They have already been implemented on the Waterloo & City line.

TfL said any customer who has not left a train before it reverses would travel in safety to the departure platform and then need to change to continue their journey. This would take only a few minutes.