Travel misery caused across London amid Tube strike

·3-min read
Travel misery caused across London amid Tube strike (PA)
Travel misery caused across London amid Tube strike (PA)

London is experiencing disrupted travel across the city as London Underground workers strike.

Many Tube line services are suspended with a very limited operation elsewhere, according to Transport for London’s (TfL) website.

Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) workers are taking industrial action over issues including jobs and pensions.

There is also disruption to bus services in west and south-west London and parts of Surrey due to a strike on Friday and Saturday by bus drivers who are members of Unite. Sixty-three bus routes are being affected.

Mainline train services started later than normal on Friday due to the knock-on effect of Thursday’s RMT strike at Network Rail and train operators across the country.

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Just 70% of services will run across Friday as a whole and a further walkout on Saturday will reduce service levels to 20%.

Nick Dent, TfL’s director of customer operations, said it was “a difficult day” for travel in the capital.

He told Sky News: “We have done everything we can to avoid this strike going ahead today.

“Unfortunately, the disruption is going to be pretty significant to London today.

“We’re advising customers not to travel on the Tube at all.”

News Shopper: Passengers walk past information notices at Stratford train station in east London (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
News Shopper: Passengers walk past information notices at Stratford train station in east London (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Passengers walk past information notices at Stratford train station in east London (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Responding to RMT claims that TfL is having secret negotiations with the Government about cutting jobs and pensions, Mr Dent said the transport body has been working with ministers “all the way through the pandemic to try to secure a long-term funding settlement for London”.

He went on: “We of course conduct those negotiations confidentially. They are market-sensitive. We’ve explained that very clearly to the trade unions.

“But we have been working with all of the trade unions, including the RMT. We’ve been very open and transparent about the impact of the pandemic on our finances all the way through the last couple of years.

“We’ve assured them that we’ll continue to keep them updated.

“But, importantly, we have assured them that there are no proposals currently to change the TfL pension scheme, and if there were proposals in the future, then of course they will be consulted in detail.

“They’ll be involved very closely.”

London Mayor Sadiq Khan said: “The only reason for the strikes in recent weeks in London is because of the conditions the Government is trying to attach to a funding deal, and the trade unions are concerned about the consequences of those conditions on their members.

“This is about pension concerns that trade unions have.

News Shopper: People waiting for buses outside Victoria Station, central London, amid the Tube strike (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)
News Shopper: People waiting for buses outside Victoria Station, central London, amid the Tube strike (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

People waiting for buses outside Victoria Station, central London, amid the Tube strike (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

“I don’t want these conditions imposed on our transport workers.”

Meanwhile Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said railway reforms will be imposed if workers do not agree to new deals.

Asked by Sky News if compulsory redundancies were on the table for rail workers, the Cabinet minister said: “The deal that is on the table actually means largely no compulsory redundancies at all.

“If (the unions) are not prepared to put that deal to your membership we will never know whether members would accept it.

“What I do know and I can say for sure is if we can’t get this settled in the way that we are proposing, which is ‘please put the deal to your membership’, then we will have to move to what is called a section 188; it is a process of actually requiring these changes to go into place so it becomes mandated.

“That is the direction that this is moving in now.”

Mr Shapps claimed that outdated work practices needed to be updated, adding: “If we can’t get those modernisations in place we will have to impose those modernisations but we would much rather do it through these offers actually being put to their members.”