London commuters faced travel mayhem as the Night Tube was disrupted on Friday as planned walk-outs go ahead.
Disruptions hit both the Victoria and Central lines as TfL said they are running a “special service” on both lines while after tube drivers walked outstrikes were on.
The strike action began 7pm and it was expected to last until 4.29am on both Friday and Saturday with TfL warning of “severe disruption” as commuters spill onto other lines and buses.
TfL have reported on the Circle and Victoria lines: “RMT STRIKE ACTION: The RMT has announced strikes to coincide with the re-introduction of Night Tube services on the Central and Victoria lines on weekends throughout December.
“TfL is warning customers that both lines are expected to be severely disrupted from 19:00 onwards, with little or no service from this time overnight on 10 and 11 December and 17 December. Customers are advised to check before they travel and use buses to complete their journeys where required.”
The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union walk-outs follow an announcement from TfL in October Night Tube services on the Central and Victoria line would resume for the first time in 20 months.
The union is asking TfL to hire dedicated Night Tube drivers for the relaunch.
A TfL spokesman said the strike action will “impact Londoners and the city’s recovery at a crucial time”.
He added: “The RMT has taken this action over new rosters, which have been agreed by the other recognised union and were introduced for Tube drivers in August.
“This strike action has been called despite the new rosters including assurances that there will be no job cuts, providing certainty and the option of permanent work for those on part-time contracts and only scheduling four night shift weekends per year - shifts which can be swapped with colleagues for duties at other times of day if that works better for them.
“Talks between TfL and RMT are ongoing as TfL seeks to try and avoid this unnecessary action.”
Almost 30,000 passengers used the Night Tube when it resumed last weekend.
Transport for London said passenger numbers overnight last Saturday were about a third of pre-pandemic levels.
Nick Dent, London Underground’s director of customer operations said: “We’ve been in talks with the RMT for months to try and avoid this needless strike action.
“I apologise to customers for the disruption they may face and urge the RMT to continue talks with us, rather than threatening London with further strikes at a crucial time for its recovery.”
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “This action was wholly avoidable if LU Management had engaged seriously with us in crucial talks at ACAS this week.
“Tonight’s disruption is entirely down to tube bosses bulldozing through arrangements that abolished the Night Tube driver grade, lumping everyone into a central pool where they can be shunted about at will in a drive to cut costs.
“Sadiq Khan needs to face up to his responsibilities as well and pressure LU for a fair and just settlement. The Mayor and his officials need to recognise our determination to defend progressive and family friendly working practices. We remain available for talks.”