Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Strike Shuts London's Docklands Light Railway Until Thursday

  • RMT union members walk out over outsourcing, safety concerns
  • Talks with DLR managers at Keolis-Amey fell apart Monday

London’s Docklands Light Railway, which connects the U.K. capital’s main financial district with the Canary Wharf office complex and London City Airport, has shut for 48 hours for the first time in its 28-year history as staff strike over the outsourcing of work.

The walkout by members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union began at 4 a.m. Tuesday and the network will remain shut until late morning Thursday after last-ditch talks failed to find a resolution, DLR said. The main line terminating next to the Bank of England has closed, along with the rest of the network.

Commuters outside London City Airport
Commuters outside London City Airport
Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

London’s underground Tube network in east London and on the Jubilee, Central and District lines will be “much busier” than usual, Transport for London, which oversees the city’s public transport, said in a statement. Additional buses have been placed along the DLR network with key stations, including Canary Wharf, Canada Water and Canning Town, expected to be “exceptionally busy.”

The action concerns the use of agency staff by operator Keolis-Amey Docklands and the monitoring of staff with closed-circuit cameras, according to RMT General Secretary Mick Cash, who said management had also failed to carry out sufficient levels of risk assessment -- jeopardizing the safety of employees and the public.

‘Strength of Feeling’

“Pickets have been out in force and it’s now time for Keolis-Amey to recognize the sheer strength of feeling on the shop floor and to get round the table for meaningful talks,” Cash said in a statement.

Keolis SA, a unit of France’s state-owned railway SNCF, and builder Ferrovial SA’s Amey Plc arm, won a tender to manage the DLR last December. Serco Plc previously ran it for 17 years.

“We are disappointed that strike action called by the RMT leadership is causing disruption to DLR customers,” Rory O’Neill, TfL’s DLR director, said Tuesday. The only way to resolve the dispute with Keolis-Amey is through “meaningful discussion,” he said.

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