Tube strike misery for bargain hunters

The latest Tube strike caused disruption on every line in the capital yesterday as the drivers' union claimed it could have been avoided.

Boxing Day sales shoppers struggled to get around as the one-day stoppage went ahead after London Underground (LU) lost a legal challenge.

Members of the drivers' union Aslef walked out over a claim for triple pay and a day off in lieu.

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London district organiser Steve Grant said: "It's been 100 per cent solid from our members and it seems other unions' members have supported our action without any picket lines at all.

"The company was forcing people who had booked today off to work and only paying them flat time."

He added: "The strike didn't have to happen if LU or the Mayor's office had negotiated. We have been trying to negotiate this for two years."

But LU hit out at the timing of the strike, with managing director Mike Brown saying: "The union leadership has shown complete disdain for all who want to visit family and friends or hunt a good bargain during what is one of the busiest shopping days of the year."

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And London Mayor Boris Johnson accused the union of "trying it on". He said: "The demands being made by the leadership of Aslef are monstrous.

"It has been clear ever since the Gregorian calendar was reformed in the mid-18th Century that Boxing Day 2010 would fall on a Sunday.

"So why do they demand more money with three weeks to go?

"They are breaking the deal and trying it on."

The Tube was operating on all lines that were scheduled to run, but with a significantly reduced service. Passengers were advised to make use of buses and river services.

Meanwhile members of the RMT union were staging two walkouts at midnight last night.

Drivers for Arriva Trains Wales were holding a 24-hour

stoppage over pay and conditions, while union members at

Northern Rail were striking for 48 hours over Christmas and New Year pay.