Strikes on the London Underground over the Christmas


Potential strike action on the Bakerloo, Central and Waterloo & City lines will affect services, with disruption expected across several days.

Central and Waterloo & City lines

The strike action on the Central and Waterloo & City lines would mean little or no service on those lines from 9pm on Friday 21 December until Night Tube on Saturday 22 December. This also means that there would be no Night Tube service on the Central line at all on Friday night.

TfL says that the Central line dispute concerns a driver who failed an unannounced drugs test prior to starting their shift.

A follow up test showed 19ng/mL of a cannabinoid substance. Although the standard for failure in a urine test is 50ng/mL, it’s just 15ng/mL in a confirmation test using more accurate gas chromatography/mass spectrometry (if that is what was used in this situation).

The RMT says the that the driver in question had recent eaten hemp supplements explaining the result. Although it is indeed possible to fail a drugs test for cannabis by eating hemp, it typically requires the person to have eaten considerably more than is usual.

Bakerloo line

The action on the Bakerloo line would affect stations on the southern part of the line on Boxing Day, Wednesday 26 December. If the strike goes ahead, Elephant & Castle, Lambeth North, Charing Cross, Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Circus stations may have to close at short notice, however the rest of the line will run a normal service.

The dispute on the Bakerloo line is due to union claims that London Underground is breaking agreements relating to staffing levels on the line. This follows a commitment made to resolve previous strike action in January 2017. The RMT argues that London Underground is not providing sufficient staff to manage work shifts.

If not resolved, another strike on the Bakerloo line is pencilled in for Monday 14th January 2019.


There’s also another back-office strike being carried out by staff at the Track Access Control Centre on New Years Eve, over the dismissal of a member of staff, although that is unlikely to affect services unless there’s a problem with the line, in which case it could extend the delay being caused.