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Tube Drivers In Boxing Day Strike Over Bank Holiday Pay

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Tube drivers are striking over bank holiday pay | PA

London Underground drivers are to stage three strikes, including one on Boxing Day in a move that threatens to blight the capital with travel chaos.

Members of Aslef, the UK union for train drivers will walk out for 24 hours on 26 December and again on 18 and 25 January.

Workers voted by 9-1 in favour of strikes, in a ballot which Aslef spokesman said "shows the strength of feeling that remains on this issue. The union is committed to finding a solution which offers voluntary working and compensates those who do attend."

It will be the third successive Boxing Day walkout by Tube drivers in a dispute over Bank Holiday pay which dates back to an agreement in 1992.

The stoppage will disrupt Tube services on a busy day in the capital, causing chaos for shoppers, sports fans and visitors.

Talks have been held at the conciliation service Acas, but the dispute remains deadlocked.

Howard Collins, London Underground's chief operating officer, said before the strike dates were announced: "We have been in discussions with the Aslef leadership to find a way to end this dispute and we made what we believed was a very fair offer.

"Unfortunately, this was not accepted and the offer has now been withdrawn so that further options to resolve the issue can be explored with the union at Acas today.

"LU has a long-standing agreement with all trade unions which covers working arrangements on Bank Holidays, including Boxing Day. However, we have shown good faith and tried to find ways forward.

"Further industrial action will not achieve anything and I would urge Aslef leadership to work with us to resolve this dispute."

Howard Collins, LU's Chief Operating Officer, said: "It is unbelievable that, rather than have serious discussions, some officials in the Aslef trade union would demand £250 up front just to keep talking. Hard pressed Londoners, shop workers and businesses in the city will wonder what world they are in.

"Train drivers are paid a salary that reflects some bank holiday working. However we also know everyone deserves time off which is why fewer drivers are rostered to work this Boxing Day.

"Londoners will rightly ask how being paid twice for the same day's work ever makes sense - but especially in tough economic times. We will seek to reconvene talks - in our case with no preconditions."