Third London Underground strike ends


A third 24-hour Tube strike over job cuts, which caused severe disruption for passengers, has come to an end.

Unions said 11,000 members took part in the walkout, which began on Tuesday night.

Transport for London said more than 40% of services had run, exceeding their expectations, but things will not return to normal until the morning.

The Waterloo and City Line is running, the Circle Line is shut, and all other lines are part suspended.

The Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA) and Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union are involved in the dispute over plans to cut 800 mainly ticket office jobs, which they claim would have an impact on the safety of passengers.

Staff began to return to work at 2100 GMT.

Mike Brown, managing director of London Underground (LU), said: "Around 40% of Tube trains were running with 75% of stations being served and trains operating on all but one line.

"At points today we have managed to run nearly half of our services and have carried around half the number of customers."

He claimed this was due to more train drivers and maintenance staff coming into work compared to the first two strikes. The unions denied this.

'Transport for Lies'

An RMT union spokesman said it was their most successful strike so far in this dispute and they had picket lines at more than 100 stations and depots.

He said all lines were either part suspended or not running at all and that "ghost trains" were running through closed stations, adding: "Transport for London has now degenerated into Transport for Lies".

RMT leader Bob Crow said: "Rather than resorting to bare-faced lies about what everyone out there in London knows to be the truth about the disruption to services, TfL should face up to the reality that today's action has actually been the most successful to date and get the message that the time has come to stop cutting and start talking."

A TfL spokesman said the job cuts would not result in compulsory redundancies and would have no impact on safety.

"The changes we're proposing to ticket office opening hours are in line with customer demand, so that our employees are deployed in those places and at those times where passengers most value their help and reassurance," he said.

Frustrated commuters at Victoria station said getting into work had been a struggle.

Roger Mascall, 45, said: "It was terrible down there. It's the queuing to get into the station that's really bad.

"Some of the lines are totally crippled."

Despite the strike, the conciliation service Acas had announced fresh talks would be held on Thursday in a bid to resolve the dispute. A fourth strike is planned to start on the evening of 28 November.

New year strikes

BBC London's transport correspondent Tom Edwards said if the talks failed then the unions were talking about more strikes in the new year.

TfL said a technical problem had hit the cycle hire scheme which affected daily and weekly members, but that by 1700 GMT more than 18,000 journeys had been completed - 60% higher than by the same time on a normal day.

And a British Transport Police spokesman said a 31-year-old man had been cautioned at London Bridge station after striking a picketer on the back with a folded newspaper.

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