Tube strike: Journey was a like a silent, polite rugby maul

 
A squashed commuter

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Many commuters will have experienced what I did this morning.

A grim, dreadful train crush of a journey more reminiscent of a silent, polite rugby maul.

While the buses, the roads (cyclists seemed to be the happiest today) and the trains have been very, very busy London Underground said it has been able to run some services.

Commuters I spoke to, though, said it was rammed and the trains were sporadic.

LU claims it ran eight out of 11 lines. The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union said there was a "skeleton service".

Again, raising the level of strike mandate has reared its head.

The mayor said he would like it in the Conservative Party manifesto. Others believe it's a distraction and this is really about poor industrial relations and political animosity and change management.

So are there any winners?

Politically, both sides will claim a sort of victory. Both sides say they will stand firm.

Can this staff redeployment actually be sorted through talks? Or will it get railroaded through? We will probably find out on Friday.

There are certainly losers - namely London's commuters and the capital's economy.

 
Tom Edwards Article written by Tom Edwards Tom Edwards Transport correspondent, London

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  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 36.

    Does anyone really think a tube without staff would be a good idea? Automated systems are great except when they fail, when you need help, when there is an emergency, or if you are a lone women and the station is full of aggressive drunks. Tube staff must be stupid if they think this strike does them any good at all but driverless trains and unstaffed stations will put lives at risk.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 35.

    Victoria Line at Kings X was crowded, got on second train within 5 minutes, nothing out of the ordinary. Swiched at Victoria to District, got on first train within 2 minutes. Me thinks the BBC have a line 'commuter chaos' and the story will fit whatever the facts.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 34.

    I understand the deep resentment posted on here, but if your company was cutting 950 jobs, and those workers were told that they faced redeployment up to 20 miles away, compulsory night working and pay cuts of up to 30% would you do nothing and just accept it? By reasonably negotiating with the unions the mayor and Tfl could have prevented this strike.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 33.

    They always use strike action to hold commuters to ransom. They don't have the support of the government or the support of the public, and strike for the sake of it, because they are selfish & not in touch with reality. We have a high unemployment rate with graduates unable to find jobs, well there's your solution. Sack the lot of them and hire people who are desperate & more than happy to work

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 32.

    Andy mentioned Bob Crow's enormous salary, council house and exotic foreign holidays.

    We should also mention the fat-cat tube drivers, who are reported to have negotiated an annual package worth £52,000. I don't begrudge those who wage that dwarfs mine, but this is far more than appropriate. They're worse than bankers.

  • rate this
    +6

    Comment number 31.

    Oliver Winters
    Angel to Liverpool St is less than 2 miles walk, 30mins max why on earth would you get a tube on a strike day?
    Last time I went to a ticket office I was told to use a machine, so seems the staff don't want you to use the ticket offices anyway, machines are much quicker and easier (and not rude)

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 30.

    for Bob Crow, read Arthur Scargill

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 29.

    I sometimes feel more would be achieved if we could just bang their heads together.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 28.

    robrat41
    Only 30% voted for a strike and I suspect few of those are effected by the VOLUNTARY redundancies. Considerably more than half of the redundancy places have been applied for. At this rate there are likely to be more people applying for redundancy than spaces available
    Just a shame Bob had to interupt his £10k holiday to cause disruption to many who wish they could afford such luxury...

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 27.

    Someone said "Have you ever seen a ticket clerk emerge from his bunker to help anyone?"

    No! I had the disabled barrier refuse to open for me when there was no-one attending the gates. The person in ticket office point-blank refused assistance and told me I'd have to wait for someone else to come!

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 26.

    It's a power struggle. Always has been. Have a look through the historical reasons for tube strikes over the last 10 years. The bottom line is you can't fight modernisation and change. But the RMT will make no mistake. It's their raison d'etre. Unions of their nature are a thing of the past. They served their purpose well but they too need to reflect what is required in todays society.

  • Comment number 25.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 24.

    I accept that the unions admitedly over play the safety card and don't want to lose membership and power. A lot of tube workers are caught in the middle, but face the choice of strike or roll over. We lose pay and face abuse when back at work. It's not a choice made lightly. I like Val's idea that hits the coffers but not the customers. That is planned for some future dates.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 23.

    reasonabletubeworker said: "customers who will suffer with less help and are forced to use self service technology."

    I seem to recall that only 3% of ticket sales are from ticket offices. Not exactly 'forcing' customers to do anything, if 97% of them have already CHOSEN other ways to buy!

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 22.

    In reality the closure of ticket offices is a side issue in this. Neither side, The mayor and TfL or the unions (I'm in TSSA) are being honest with the public. This is ultimately an idealogical dispute about public services. The reason metros are cheaper in other major world cities is that they are almost completely publicly subsidised. Here the government is dramatically reducing the subsidy.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 21.

    Re the strike, I do understand why they're striking. Losing nearly 1,000 workers is a pretty big blow - and I don't buy TfL's talk of putting more workers on platforms etc. I have an Oyster card like everyone else but I'm worried that there will be no-one to help when you have a ticketing issue. However, the last strike didn't do anything - shouldn't the RMT and TSSA think of something else?

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 20.

    Not quite the best way to elicit public sympathy. Bring on driverless trains.

  • rate this
    +7

    Comment number 19.

    The 'Elf and Safety' argument for keeping ticket offices open is nonsense. Have you ever seen a ticket clerk emerge from his bunker to help anyone?

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 18.

    I'm lucky in that I have the option to work from home but did make it in today. Driverless trains cannot come soon enough.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 17.

    One of the worst things about it has been the uncertainty - I needed to get back home to Hertfordshire last night after the strike started, and what they had said about which lines would be open turned out not to be true. After more than an hour and a half spent trying to get from Angel to Liverpool Street I was five minutes away from missing the last train home! That's to say nothing of today...

 

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