Piccadilly Line Tube drivers due to walk out on strike

Piccadilly Line The RMT says it has concerns over the 'ageing Piccadilly Line Fleet'

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Tube drivers will stage the first of three 24-hour strikes later over a "breakdown in industrial relations", the RMT union has said.

About 400 drivers on the Piccadilly Line, members of Aslef and RMT, are expected to strike from 21:00 GMT.

Transport for London (TfL) advised commuters to finish any journeys on the line by 22:30 GMT.

The London Underground line carries 600,000 passengers a day and is the only Tube service to Heathrow Airport.

TfL said people travelling to the airport could use Heathrow Connect and Heathrow Express services instead, and promised extra buses.

'Vulnerable position'

It will provide updates on its website and at the @TfLTravelAlerts, @TfLTrafficNews and @TfLBusAlerts Twitter accounts.

The Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union is due to strike for 24 hours on 19 April and 21 April. The RMT said 85% of the members polled voted for strike action.

The union said several issues had led to the call for strike action, including concerns over the "ageing Piccadilly Line fleet", which had "left drivers in a vulnerable position".

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: "There has also been an appalling lack of consistency by local management when it comes to addressing the long-running issues impacting on the Piccadilly Line and which RMT, as the main driver's union, has raised repeatedly over a number of years."

Finn Brennan, Aslef's London Underground organiser, said: "We have set out in detail our concerns about the misuse of the disciplinary process which was the catalyst for our ballot. It is now up to management to respond to these issues if they want to avoid strike action.

"So far senior management have not been prepared to intervene or even to meet with the trade unions. They are taking a completely hands-off attitude to the dispute and the disruption in will cause to the people of London."

The Piccadilly Line has some of the oldest trains on the network, known as "1973 stock", and in January it experienced a problem with a door opening on a moving train.

TfL subsequently said it had carried out checks which showed it was an "isolated incident". It urged the union to continue discussions.

Operations director Pat Hansberry said: "We urge the union leaderships to work with us constructively to resolve these local issues, so that Londoners aren't subjected to pointless disruption."

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