Chaos for London commuters as Tube workers strike again

People wait for buses at Waterloo station in London during a strike by members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT), as commuters face another day of travel chaos on Thursday due to a fresh strike by thousands of workers which will cripple Tube services in London. PA Media.

Commuters faced another day of travel chaos on Thursday because of a fresh strike by thousands of workers which crippled Tube services in London.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) walked out for 24 hours in a deadlocked dispute over jobs, pensions and conditions, which led to most services being suspended for the second time this week.

Picket lines were mounted outside Tube stations and the union said its members were solidly supporting the industrial action.

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A stoppage on Tuesday led to the Tube being suspended during the rush hour, with only a few services running later in the day.

Disruption continued on Wednesday, with a knock-on impact on services expected on Friday as well.

Transport for London (TfL) has advised people to work from home if they can on Thursday, saying there are likely to be no Tube services.

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There were huge queues at bus and taxi ranks as people switched to other forms of public transport to get to work.

The RMT fears that spending cuts linked to a funding deal by the Government will lead to hundreds of job losses, reduced pensions and worse working conditions.

Andy Lord, TfL’s chief operating officer, said: “I would ask anyone who needs to use the Tube on Thursday to check before they make their journey, consider whether they are able to work from home and use alternative modes of transport where possible.

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“It’s highly unlikely there will be an Underground service running during the strike action and, if any service is provided, it will not continue into the evening.

“Services will also be severely impacted until mid-morning on Friday, March 4 because of a number of factors including the placement of drivers and trains following a day without service.

“I apologise to customers for this and understand they will be frustrated by this strike action, but urge them not to take it out on those who are trying to help.

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“We haven’t proposed any changes to pensions or terms and conditions, and nobody has lost or will lose their jobs because of the proposals we have set out, so this action is completely unnecessary.

“We know our customers deserve better than this continued disruption and that is why we’re urging the RMT to talk to us so we can find a resolution to this dispute which has already damaged London’s recovery from the pandemic.”

A man walks past the closed gate to a Victoria Underground station entrance in Victoria, London, during a strike by members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT). Commuters face another day of travel chaos on Thursday due to a fresh strike by thousands of workers which have crippled Tube services in London. PA Media.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “Our members across London Underground are making it crystal clear again this morning that they are not going to be used as pawns in a political fight between the mayor and the Government which threatens their futures and their livelihoods.

“The funding crisis at TfL which is at the heart of this dispute is not of our making and our members are not prepared to take a hammering to pay for it.

“This week we have seen workers fighting back across London against attacks on themselves and their colleagues from political machinations that are out of their control.

“They have sent out the clearest possible message that they expect the threats to jobs and pensions to be lifted and basic assurances to be given.

“The fight goes on and our executive will consider the next steps in the campaign.

“We remain available for talks with those in a position to offer a concrete solution rather than the hollow words we have been hearing from the mayor and his senior officials.

“We have repeatedly offered a way forward and it’s time for those calling the shots to start listening.”

No 10 has urged both sides in the Tube strikes to “get around the table” to resolve the issues at hand.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: “I think these ongoing strikes clearly are bringing misery to many Londoners, and we want both sides to get around the table and put an end to this disruptive action.

“It’s a blow to businesses as they recover from Covid restrictions and it’s stopping people from getting to work.”

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Shannon Butcher