Tube strike: 24-hour London Underground walkout begins

Liverpool Street Underground station closes its shutters Image copyright Twitter/afcgem
Image caption There will be no service from many central London stations

Tube staff have gone on strike across the entire London Underground network in a row over ticket office closures.

Workers from the RMT and the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA) unions are staging a 24-hour walk out.

"Last-ditch" talks, called for by the Mayor of London, failed to materialise after unions rejected a "new offer" from Transport for London (TfL).

Passengers have been warned that most Zone 1 stations are likely to be closed during the action.

A few have shut since the strike began at 18:00.

TfL has advised passengers to check for updates on its website.

It warned there would be "severely reduced service across the Tube network" and no service at all on the Victoria or Waterloo & City lines.

About 150 extra buses were set to be deployed and river services "enhanced" throughout the strike, with "travel ambassadors" deployed to help commuters, TfL said.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Sadiq Khan - who has been pictured using the Tube while mayor - said the strike was "pointless"

National Rail services will not be affected by the strike, but there will be no Tube services from key interchange stations such as Victoria, King's Cross, Waterloo, Paddington, Euston, Bank and London Bridge.

Piccadilly line services will run between Hammersmith and Heathrow Terminals 1, 2 and 3, but there will be no service to Terminals 4 or 5.

At the start of the strike London Mayor Sadiq Khan tweeted: "This tube strike will cause misery to millions of Londoners."

Mr Khan said he has instructed TfL "to continue negotiating".

The Labour mayor said TfL's negotiating team "will be available around the clock to resolve this dispute".

Calling the strike "pointless" Mr Khan said TfL's offer "will ensure station safety and staffing levels across the Tube network".

Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Some commuters took to twitter to express their displeasure at the strike
Image copyright Twitter

TfL previously said it would address the recommendations of a recent report, which found the closure of ticket offices had caused "significant issues" for Tube passengers.

Steve Griffiths, Chief Operating Officer for London Underground (LU), said the process to hire 200 extra staff had already begun.

"Taking into account existing vacancies and natural turnover this means that over 600 staff will be recruited for stations this year," he said.

Several rounds of emergency talks had failed to break the deadlock between TfL and the unions, who claim planned ticket office closures pose a safety risk to passengers.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Most stations in Zone One are expected to be closed during the walkout

The biggest rail union, the RMT, walked out of talks at conciliation service Acas on Saturday.

A "new offer", reportedly made after the RMT walk-out, had been briefly considered by the TSSA.

Expected Tube disruption:

  • The majority of central London Tube stations will be closed
  • No Underground services from stations such as Victoria, King's Cross, Waterloo, Paddington, Euston, Bank and London Bridge
  • Piccadilly line services will run between Hammersmith and Heathrow Terminals 1, 2 and 3, but not to Terminals 4 or 5
  • No service on the Victoria or Waterloo & City lines
  • Limited services on other Tube lines in outer London
  • Buses, road and rail services including the Docklands Light Railway (DLR) are expected to be much busier than usual

But on Sunday the TSSA announced it had rejected the offer after consulting its members overnight.

The RMT disputes the claim there was a new offer, telling members LU had "given exactly the same offer again" during Saturday's talks.

"This is just not acceptable. The unsafe practices and pressure on staff and passengers have to be resisted and will be," RMT regional organiser John Leach said.

Image caption The strike is expected to affect about four million commuters

Supporters travelling back from FA Cup home games at Tottenham and Chelsea were expected to be affected by travel disruption.

Some businesses have been bracing themselves for a loss of earnings during the strike.

Amy Stopher, general manager at Blanchette Soho, told the BBC her cafe was going to miss out on its usual "evening rush" of customers.

"We rely on a lot of walk-ins that we're not going to get anymore," she said.

Image copyright Oli Scarff
Image caption Bus services are expected to be much busier than usual during the strike

The ins and outs of the dispute

  • Up to 4,000 station and ticket staff will walk out in the dispute over job losses and ticket office closures
  • London Underground says it is attempting to save money so it does not have to increase the price of tickets
  • The RMT and TSSA unions say the dispute with London Underground is about staffing and passenger safety
  • 838 jobs had been axed and ticket offices closed under previous mayor Boris Johnson
  • Unions say control rooms, which oversee passenger safety and help respond to emergency incidents, have been de-staffed
  • The unions claim London Underground is only offering to reinstate 150 jobs, but TfL says 600 staff will be recruited for stations this year
  • While ticket offices will be closed staff will still patrol platforms and stations, London Underground says

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