As commuters struggle to get to work thanks to the DLR strike, many are expressing concern (and at times even genuine confusion) about how precisely this has happened, given the service runs on driverless trains.
Some people questioned how exactly driverless trains are able to strike…
How can the DLR have strikes wen the trains are driverless ????— . (@IAmLewis_1) November 3, 2015
I'm confused... DLR trains are driverless, the stations are open-no ticket barriers.who exactly is striking today-the machines?! #dlrstrike— Clare Absolon (@Wander_wayfarer) November 3, 2015
Some expressed concern that robots are in fact starting to become self-aware…
How is the DLR on strike? Have the robots unionised?— Ben Steele (@CaptainSte3le) November 3, 2015
One person suggested that this was in fact a sign of how bad working conditions are…
The DLR is going on strike; you know it's bad when the robots start walking out!— Chris Abraham (@CJAbra) November 2, 2015ADVERTISEMENT
Others suggested this could in fact be the beginning of the end…
This DLR strike is cryptic. Aren't those stupid trains driverless? ARE ROBOTS STARTING TO STRIKE?? OMG.— Nero (@XChefnero) November 3, 2015
DLR, London's driverless trains are on strike. THE ROBOT UPRISING HAS BEGUN!— The Zan (@zmarkan) November 3, 2015
Although the DLR is 'driverless', and operates completely automatically, each train must carry a "captain" - the person charged with taking control in the event of an emergency.
No trains are allowed to run without a captain on board.
Some noted that the DLR strike showed Boris Johnson's threats to bring in driverless trains on the London Underground to avoid strikes were baseless.
This is why Boris Johnson's 'driverless tubes' trolling during every tube strike is so stupid. DLR is driverless... https://t.co/ClDNvl2AxV— James Walsh (@jamesofwalsh) November 3, 2015
Ahead of the strike, Transport for London’s DLR director Rory O’Neill warned that it was “unlikely” that any trains on the service would run.
He added that bus, Tube and rail services would be operating as normal.
Massive queues could be seen at a number of Underground stations including Canada Water and London Bridge as passengers had to seek alternative routes.
Avoid Canada Water! pic.twitter.com/yDnfK2PLrv— Riikka (@RiikkaHei) November 3, 2015
DLR workers downed tools at 4am on Tuesday morning after last minute talks broke down between the Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers’ Union (RMT) and KeolisAmey Docklands (KAD), which operates and maintains the DLR on behalf of TfL.
City AM reports the workers are protesting against "abuse of procedures and the adoption of a wholly cavalier attitude to the issues of risk assessment, and the safety and security of both staff and the travelling public".
Speaking last week, RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Our members on the DLR are furious at the way Keolis Amey are trying to bulldoze through some of the worst working practices and conditions that we associate with the operations of the most cheapskate and anti-union companies in the transport sector.
"“The company should not have underestimated the anger of the workforce. KAD’s abject failure to address these issues left us with no option but to ballot for action and that ballot registered a massive 92 per cent in favour.
“Despite strenuous efforts by RMT negotiators in talks since the ballot was confirmed the company have dug their heels in and have failed to make progress in a number of key areas at the heart of the dispute.
“As a result, RMT has no option but to confirm 48 hours of strike action for next week. The union remains available for further talks.”
Limited services will begin on the DLR at the start of Thursday 5 November, with a full service in operation by late morning.