Travel chaos looms for millions of Londoners planning to return to work today after the long Bank Holiday break because tube stations across London are closed because of a strike.
London Underground advised people not to travel, warning of severe disruption across the network from the start of service on Monday to 8am on Tuesday.
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) are taking industrial action in a dispute over jobs and pensions.
Transport for London (TfL) said some train services will run but many stations, especially those in central and south London, will be closed, while others may only open for limited periods.
Other TfL services, including DLR, London Overground and Trams, are not affected by the industrial action and will be running but will be busier.
TfL said no proposals have been tabled on pensions or terms and conditions, and nobody will lose their jobs because of the proposals it has set out.
As part of previous funding agreements, the Government has required TfL to work towards achieving financial sustainability on its operations by April 2023.
TfL has proposed not recruiting into around 500 to 600 posts as they become vacant.
Angry crowds at Waterloo
Frustrated commuters have gathered around the entrance to Waterloo underground station after the Tube was shut by a strike.
One commuter, Charlotte from Surbiton, said she was unsure if she would be able to complete her journey to Canary Wharf.
“We’ll see if anything opens up, and I’ll go home if it doesn’t”, she said. I’m pretty sure everyone will be delayed coming in today.”
“It doesn’t necessarily feel like it’s justified to cause this much disruption, especially when London is getting up and running again. It seems like a big setback for the city.”Charlotte from Surbiton
She said she had been traveling for almost an hour already, adding that she didn’t feel like the strike was justified.
“I don’t necessarily see the reason for the strike”, she said.
Commuters have said they are “fed up” of Tube strikes preventing them from getting to work regularly.
Up to 4,000 station staff are on strike, which has led to difficulties for people, including getting to work and taking their children to school.
Tracy Brown, 45, a mother-of-three from Acton, said: “Getting three children ready in the mornings for school is hard enough without a Tube strike making things harder.
“I am fed up of running around to get my children to school on time because some people are so greedy.”
Paul Glennon, 52, a construction worker in central London, said: “It is back to reality for all of us. No more parties and parades.
“I have spent my whole morning getting on and waiting for packed buses in the rain. Bloody nightmare.”
People urged to work from home
Richard Burge, chief executive of the London Chamber of Commerce said: “We are extremely disappointed that the RMT has called for a mass walkout by TfL workers in such close proximity to the Queen’s Jubilee Weekend when London will be full of visitors.
“The last two years hit London disproportionately hard and the capital is desperately trying to claw back some sense of normality after a tumultuous two years.
“This strike now puts TfL in a position of having to recommend that Londoners work from home.
“Ultimately, this will only harm London’s economy and it is time for TfL to sort out their dispute with the RMT so we can get back to building prosperity and showing the world that London is open business.”
Commuters at Waterloo Station have been left confused by advice on the Transport for London website about today’s Tube strike.
The TfL website advises travellers to travel between 8am and 6pm on Monday. However, it also warns that many stations will be closed throughout the day.
The entrance to Waterloo underground station remained closed as of 8.10am.
William, a commuter from south-west London, said that while he did not agree with the strike, the information given out could have been more accurate. He believed that he would be able to travel from 8am.
“I just wish they had put the correct information up”, he said.
“Personally, I don’t agree with the strikes as they stand anyway. However, if they are striking and they’ve gone through the correct process to do it, it’s out of my control. Then the information online should be the correct information that allows people to plan their journey.”
Damage to London
Andy Lord, TfL’s chief operating officer, said: “I’d like to apologise to London for the impact this strike will have on journeys.
“We know it’s going to be damaging to London and the economy, at a time when public transport is playing a crucial role in the capital’s recovery.
“While our focus is always on helping everyone travel around London whenever they want, the expected impact of the RMT’s action means we have to advise people to only travel if necessary, as many stations may be closed.
“Alternatives to the Tube, including the bus and rail networks, are likely to be much busier than usual and we expect the severe disruption caused by this strike to continue into the morning of Tuesday June 7.
“No changes have been proposed to pensions and nobody has or will lose their job as a result of the proposals we have set out.
“Working with us to find a resolution is the best course of action, avoiding the disruption this strike will cause to Londoners and the economy.”
Jobs at stake
The RMT said that, under current proposals, 600 jobs will be lost, working agreements will be torn up and the looming threat to pensions remains in place.
General secretary Mick Lynch said: “We are demanding a direct face to face meeting with mayor Sadiq Khan to sort this mess out.
“There’s no point in our union continuing to sit opposite management representatives who have neither the inclination nor the authority to negotiate a settlement, when the power lies with the mayor.”
RMT members on the Tube are also taking action short of a strike, meaning station staff might not work overtime, until Sunday July 10, which may result in short notice station closures.