Part of the London Underground network will grind to a halt on Tuesday evening (February 21) and Wednesday after talks broke down between rail unions and management.

The dispute centres on the “displacement” of staff and will see the Central and Waterloo & City lines affected for 24 hours from 9pm with other lines expected to be busier than usual, especially get into to the City on Wednesday.

Peter McNaught, operations director for the Central line, a key route in from east London, said: “We have made all reasonable efforts to resolve this dispute and we have minimised the number of employees affected from over 30 to eight.

“All of these moves are within the long-standing agreements we have made with the unions.

“We urge them to engage with us to resolve this issue and to withdraw the strike action, which will only cause needless disruption to Londoners.”

Mick Cash, RMT general secretary, said: “RMT negotiators have made strenuous efforts to resolve this dispute but the door has been slammed in our faces.

“If LU are allowed to get away with this move on the Central Line they will start shunting drivers around at the drop of a hat regardless of the consequences.

“Our members will be sent out from pillar to post to plug gaps that are solely down to staffing shortages.

“With massive budget cuts in the pipeline at LU this is a straw in the wind as to how the company expects to operate in the future.”

More strikes

Commuters will also face disruption on Wednesday because of another strike by RMT members on Southern Railway in a long-running staffing dispute.

And members of the RMT and the drivers’ union Aslef working on London’s Night Tube, which includes the Jubilee line, are to be balloted for strikes in a row over pay and jobs, just months after the service was launched.