Tube strike starts as talks fail
PA Wire/Press Association Images
The 48-hour Tube strike has begun causing travel chaos across the capital after a break-down in last-minute talks between the RMT and London Underground.
Boris Johnson has called the industrial action ‘pointless’ and said the union is ‘set against modernisation’.
Workers walked out at 9pm last night, and will return at 8.59pm on Wednesday, but commuters are warned that disruption could continue into Thursday morning.
Talks at the conciliation service Acas yesterday lasted just a few hours with no sign of a breakthrough, despite the RMT saying it had put forward proposals which it believed could have led to the strike being suspended.
Its acting general secretary Mick Cash said: “London Underground have dug themselves into an entrenched position and have refused to move one inch from their stance of closing every ticket office, in breach of the agreement reached previously through Acas which enabled us to suspend the previous round of action.
“Despite the spin from London Underground, nothing that they are proposing is about ‘modernisation’.
“The current plans, closing every ticket office and axing nearly a thousand safety-critical jobs, is solely about massive austerity cuts driven centrally by David Cameron and his Government and implemented by Mayor Boris Johnson.”
Members of the RMT are also set to strike for 72 hours from 9pm on Monday 5 May, if no agreement is made.
The Mayor of London urged the union to call off the strike, and accused it of being more interested in its own leadership election than the interest of its members.
He said: “It seems the RMT leadership is set against modernisation and has no fresh ideas of its own.
“Commuters and businesses will suffer because a few narrow-minded union barons are currently flexing their muscles in a fight for the leadership of a union where just 30 per cent of members support a strike.”
With much of the Tube in central London out of action TfL tweeted to say more than 250 extra buses will be run on key routes during the strike.
For more travel updates throughout the action follow us on Twitter @London24.