No strike? Still no service! Wednesday’s Tube walkout bleeds into Thursday as rail action cripples London commuter belt
London commuters vented their anger as Wednesday’s Underground strike continued to cause disruption throughout Thursday morning.
People going to work faced fresh difficulties this morning following yesterday’s industrial action by RMT and Aslef union workers, with stations closed up until 7am, as the service was regulated..
As of Thursday at midday, none of the Bakerloo, Circle, District, Hammersmith & City, Jubilee, Metropolitan and Piccadilly lines were operating a good service even though today is not a strike day.
Up until midday, TFL (Transport for London)’s website said that there were minor delays on most lines “while the service recovers from strike action.”
Commuters’ misery was compounded by the start of another strike today.
RMT rail walkouts
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT) walked out this morning in a long-running row over pay, jobs and conditions, affecting 14 train operators across the country, including multiple that run services from the capital.
The last train to Edinburgh leaves King’s Cross as early as 1.00 pm, while. no trains are running between Waterloo and Portsmouth or Dorking.
Asked why tube lines were not operating normally, even though today is not a strike day, a spokesperson for ASLEF, the union representing tube drivers, said: “I really don’t know.
“If management had done its job properly, trains should be in place in their depots by 4.00 or 5.00am after a strike that ended at one minute past midnight.”
A spokesperson for TfL explained that certain lines would take longer to resume a normal service after a strike, depending on the number of depots that serve them and their length.
The Piccadilly Line would take the longest to start up fully because only two depots serve it, meaning it would take the most time for there to be enough trains running to ensure a regular rhythm.
“Post shutdown people and trains are in the wrong place, and it’s a case of putting them in the right place”, he said.
“Between one minute past midnight and 5.00, 6.00 am very few people are working. We can’t do anything in those hours because no one’s working, operationally it’s very difficult”, he added.
The lack of trains forced some to cram into buses during rush hour, over six hours after the strike ended.
Commuters however expressed their frustration on Twitter, complaining that the disruption made them less sympathetic to strikes:
Will there be more rail strikes?
On Thursday morning, as rail strikes across the country took place, and millions of Londoners faced disruption due to the Tube action hangover, union boss Mick Lynch said the disruption may continue.
Mick Lynch, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union, said the row which is disrupting train services is “stuck in a deadlock.”
He told the PA news agency that the latest offer aimed at stopping the strikes is “underfunded”.
Members of the RMT at 14 train operating companies are striking on Thursday, leading to some areas of the country having no rail services.
Mr Lynch said: “The Government backs up the train operating companies and gives them their mandate.
“They’ve offered a pay proposal that’s 5% for last year and 4% for the coming year, which is way below the rate of inflation.
“But they’ve said all of those pay increases such as they are, which amount to pay cuts, have got to be funded by changes to our members’ working conditions.
“So it’s a self-funded pay rise really, and that’s very difficult for us because the conditions they’re putting on that deal are just not acceptable to our people.
“So we’re stuck in a deadlock really where the offer is underfunded, the conditions are not acceptable and we haven’t got a way forward.”
Press Association – Alan Jones and Neil Lancefield
After Wednesday’s Underground strikes and Thursday’s rail disruption, hospitality leaders pleaded for a resolution, saying pubs, bars and restaurants were “suffering”.
As Tube and rail strikes grind London to a halt this week, trade body UKHospitality has claimed that pub and restaurant businesses are expected to lose as much as £600m.
“Our pubs, bars, coffee shops, hotels and restaurants, to name a few, continue to suffer as collateral damage, with total lost sales since the start of the dispute last year now expected to reach more than £3bn,” Kate Nicholls, chief executive UKHospitality, said.
Meanwhile, afresh offer aimed at resolving the long-running dispute involving nurses, ambulance staff and other NHS workers is expected to be announced later on Thursday.
Unions representing hundreds of thousands of health workers have been locked in talks all week with the Department of Health and ministers to try to break the deadlock.
It is understood that the proposed deal includes a one off payment for the current financial year, which has been at the heart of the dispute.
The Government is also expected to increase a previously suggested rise of 3.5% for the next financial year from April.
Unions will have to ballot their members before the dispute ends, and would suspend future strikes while that happens.
Unions were making no comment on Thursday.
PA – Alan Jones