Rail disputes threaten disruption
A series of rail disputes have erupted, threatening disruption to passengers over Christmas and leading to a fresh row over fare increases.
London Underground (LU) drivers voted overwhelmingly in favour of striking on Boxing Day in a row over pay, drivers on London Midland will walk out on December 23 in a separate clash over pay and conditions, while workers at Arriva Trains Wales also backed industrial action.
Meanwhile, First Capital Connect was accused of "daylight robbery" after a union said it had discovered some of its fares were going up by as much as 46% in the New Year.
Members of Aslef on LU backed industrial action by 9-1, threatening disruption to soccer fans and Christmas shoppers in the capital.
The union is claiming triple pay and a day off in lieu for its members working on December 26, saying LU is refusing to offer any extra pay.
Aslef general secretary Keith Norman said: "It is painfully obvious to any reasonable person that Boxing Day is not an ordinary working day and therefore it is no surprise that Aslef members have reacted in the way they have."
The vote was 1,025 in favour of striking, with 127 against, a 9-1 majority in favour of taking action on Boxing Day.
The Tube has been hit by a series of strikes in recent weeks by members of the Rail Maritime and Transport union and the Transport Salaried Staffs Association in a separate row over jobs.
A Transport for London spokesman said: "It is disgraceful that Aslef should try to hold Londoners and London Underground to ransom in this way.
"London Underground has a long-standing agreement with all of its trade unions which cover staff working arrangements on bank holidays, and Boxing Day is included in that agreement."