London Underground workers start 48-hour strike

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Media captionThe strikes are affecting all Underground lines

London Underground workers have gone on strike over proposals by Transport for London (TfL) to cut jobs and close ticket offices.

The RMT and TSSA union members started a 48-hour walk out at 21:00 GMT.

The unions want TfL to suspend its plans to close all ticket offices and cut 950 jobs. The authority has said the measures are needed to modernise and save £50m a year.

London Underground plans to run a limited service until Friday morning.

'Deeply regrettable'

In addition, Network Rail has put in place a 40mph speed restriction across parts of the Southeastern network until Wednesday evening because of a risk of further flooding, landslips and falling trees.

On Twitter, Prime Minister David Cameron said the "shameful" strike would bring "misery to millions of Londoners".

In response, an RMT representative said Mr Cameron should get mayor Boris Johnson to stick to his election promise to Londoners not to close ticket offices.

Labour's leader Ed Miliband said the strike should not go ahead and it was "deeply regrettable" that no negotiation or meetings with the mayor and TfL seemed to have happened.

On Monday, the conciliation service Acas said seven days of talks had ended without agreement.

Since then, in a phone conversation on LBC radio, RMT union leader Bob Crow told London Mayor Boris Johnson the strike would be suspended if the job cuts were withdrawn.

Mr Johnson urged union leaders to begin negotiating, telling BBC London the strike would "make absolutely no difference to the long-term future of their members".

He has said there will be no compulsory redundancies.

Image copyright PA
Image caption TfL has said about 100 extra buses will be laid on

'Frankly embarrassing'

The strikes will affect all Underground lines with only limited services expected on the following:

  • Bakerloo line - Trains will run between Queen's Park and Elephant & Castle every six minutes
  • Central Line and Piccadilly line - Trains running, with no service operating through the central areas
  • Circle line, District line, Metropolitan line and Hammersmith & City line - Some trains running, but not stopping at certain stations
  • Jubilee line - Trains running between Stanmore and Finchley Road and between Waterloo and Stratford
  • Northern line - Trains running, except to Mill Hill East
  • Victoria line - Trains running between Seven Sisters and Victoria

Around 100 extra buses will be laid on, while normal services will run on London Overground and Tramlink.

Fans going to the O2 Arena in Greenwich to see singer Taylor Swift experienced disruption to their journeys.

And some supporters at the Fulham v Sheffield United FA Cup match at Craven Cottage had to find alternative routes home.

Simon Thomas, chief executive of Hippodrome Casino in Leicester Square, said it was "frankly embarrassing" that the ICE gaming industry exhibition at the ExCeL Centre would be disrupted by the industrial action.

He said: "Gaming industry executives from across the world are in London this week and it is outrageous that this strike is being held."

Dave Jacobs, from Southend in Essex, said his wife would be unable to leave hospital in Chelsea, west London, where she is being treated this week because she would not be able to complete the District Line journey.

He said: "This is the 21st Century and offices are no longer needed if machines can do the job. Roll with the times Mr Crow."

The second 48-hour walkout is due to begin at 21:00 GMT on 11 February.

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