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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

London tube strike: major disruption as 24-hour walkout hits travel

London tube strike: major disruption as 24-hour walkout hits travel

Entire underground suspended during Tuesday morning rush hour with picket lines outside stations
Commuters have been facing chaos after thousands of tube workers went on strike over Transport for London spending cuts.

TfL encouraged people to work from home on Tuesday and Thursday as a result of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union’s strike. The union said members were “solidly supporting” industrial action with picket lines outside tube stations.

Another 24-hour walkout is planned for Thursday, with knock-on effects on services on Wednesday and Friday. The union fears spending cuts will lead to hundreds of job losses and reductions in pensions and working conditions.

The entire underground was suspended during the Tuesday morning rush hour, although limited services returned later on a few lines. People tried to get to work on buses or in taxis but huge queues formed, forcing many to give up and go home, the Press Association reported.

Angry commuters were left unable to get to work. Sean Reynolds told the Evening Standard: “This is unacceptable. I have only just started going back to the office full time. Fares are going up and now this, it’s just not on.”

Meanwhile, Damian Callaghan said: “This is terrible for the economy. The tube workers should be ashamed.”

Transport for London (TfL) has said no jobs would be lost and it had not proposed any changes to pensions or terms and conditions.

TfL’s chief operating officer, Andy Lord, said: “We haven’t proposed any changes to pensions or terms and conditions, and nobody has or will lose their jobs because of the proposals we have set out, so this action is completely unnecessary.”

He encouraged people to work from home on Tuesday and Thursday. Asked about what provisions had been made for key workers who were not able to work from home, Lord said: “We’ve laid on extra buses and we also have all our other TfL services which are operating normally. I hope that they will be able to get to work without too much of an inconvenience.”

The RMT general secretary, Mick Lynch, said: “Sadiq Khan should be standing up to Tory ministers who want to needlessly attack jobs, pensions and conditions of key transport workers.

“It is this political failure that has left tube workers with no choice but to strike this week. Our members have been left paying the price for a turf war between City Hall and the government and they are not having it, as can be seen right across London today.”

Train passengers in the south of England were also hit by disruption unrelated to the tube strike. Network Rail said a suspected power supply failure had led to a “complete loss of signalling” in Ashtead, Surrey.

A spokesperson for Khan, the mayor of London, said the strikes would cause disruption to Londoners and businesses trying to recover from two devastating years.

“It will also damage TfL’s revenues at a time when TfL is already under huge financial strain due to the pandemic,” they said. “TfL are working to mitigate the impact of the strikes but disruption is inevitable.

“Sadiq doesn’t want to see strike action and is imploring the unions to come to the table and work with City Hall and TfL.”

The action came on the day rail fares were increased by an average of 4.8%, causing more misery for passengers.
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