Shops hoping Boxing Day bargain-hunters will boost their coffers after a gloomy Christmas could be thwarted again by tube strikes, which union bosses are determined will go ahead.
In what has become almost a Christmas tradition to compare with brussels sprouts and the Queen's Speech, Transport for London said services would be operating on most Underground lines but warned passengers that disruption was likely.
Strikes are scheduled for the London Underground on Boxing Day
The train drivers' union Aslef is stopping work on Boxing Day in a strike that has already led to the Premier League London derby between Arsenal and West Ham United being postponed.
TfL said they condemned Aslef "for completely unnecessary disruption to Londoners on Boxing Day" and said they were "making every effort to minimise disruption and to support the economic life of London".
The strike, and two further walkouts on the last two Fridays in January, is over a long-running row about bank holiday pay.
Extra buses will be laid on for those travelling to the West End, as well as the Westfield shopping centres in Stratford, east London, and White City, west London, TfL said.
The congestion charge will also be suspended but suburban rail services and the Overground would be suspended on Boxing Day.
But there would be some services operating on Southern and South Eastern trains into London Victoria and London St Pancras International stations as well as on the Gatwick Express and Stansted Express.
TfL urged shoppers to consider walking into the West End from either Victoria or St Pancras, which would take about 20-25 minutes.
Howard Collins, London Underground's chief operating officer, said: "Train drivers are paid a salary that reflects some bank holiday working, but the Aslef leadership is demanding to be paid twice for the same work and has rejected our attempts to resolve the matter.
"The scandalous actions of the Aslef leadership are an attempt to hold Londoners to ransom, and demonstrate a wholesale disregard for our customers - making life harder for shoppers, sports fans, retail workers and businesses amongst others at an important time.
"They also show a disregard for the thousands of transport staff who will be working hard to help people get around the capital.
"We will be running as many services as possible, supported by London's 700 bus routes, but there will be disruption and we would urge customers to check the TfL website and local TV and radio bulletins for up-to-date travel information."
In a statement, ASLEF said: "The union is being blamed for taking industrial action on London’s tube network on Boxing Day. The real fault lies with a management that has failed both us and the public.
"For three years on the run, our members have voted by over 90% to take industrial action on Boxing Day.
"There is clearly a major problem. But London Underground refuses to deal with it - or even treat it seriously.
"What we are asking for is not complex. We want a volunteer service on Boxing Day with those working getting more than flat time. An enhancement for this day will ensure members will be able to swap duties with someone who wishes to work.
"We don’t expect support or gratitude from the public who will be inconvenienced on 26 December. But we hope there will be understanding."
One man who is pleased about the strike is West Ham manager Sam Allardyce. He told the Daily Mirror he was pleased his team's match against Arsenal was called off - because all his strikers are injured or banned.
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