Transport Secretary criticises union over strike
Grant Shapps, the Transport Secretary, has criticised the RMT union over today’s strike which brought travel chaos to London.
He said: “Having funded TfL to the tune of £5bn to protect jobs & London’s transport system throughout Covid, it’s a kick in the teeth for Londoners to suffer from @RMTunion strikes. I urge the @MayorofLondon & @TfL to get this resolved + Union to call off Thurs counterproductive strike.”
However, the union responded by reposting a comment, which read: “Nice spin. What you mean is that you’ve stripped TfL of £bns of funding that they need and deserve, and the RMT are pointing this out to you with the only means they now have left.”
What is still running?
The following services are currently running:
Central Line – operating between White City and Ealing Broadway / West Ruislip, Liverpool Street and Loughton and between Newbury Park and Leytonstone via Woodford.
District Line – operating between Upminster and West Ham and between High Street Kensington and Wimbledon.
Northern Line – operating between East Finchley and High Barnet / Mill Hill East and between Edgware and Golders Green.
Piccadilly Line – operating between Acton Town and Hounslow Central.
TfL Rail, the DLR and Tram services are operating normally.
London Overground is running a reduced service.
Recap – what’s the strike over?
Nearly all Transport for London services are currently suspended due to a 24-hour strike.
While some parts of the Northern, District, Central and Piccadilly lines are operating reduced service, all other lines have been suspended.
Some 10,000 London Underground workers from the RMT union have gone strike – with another strike set to go ahead on Thursday, March 3.
The strike is over a jobs dispute, with unions concerned that spending cuts could lead to hundreds of job losses and reductions in pensions and working conditions.
TfL has denied this claim, saying no jobs would be lost and it has not proposed any changes to pensions or terms and conditions.
TfL’s chief operating officer, Andy Lord, said: “We haven’t proposed any changes to pensions or terms and conditions, and nobody has or will lose their jobs because of the proposals we have set out, so this action is completely unnecessary.”
Footage shows large queues of people waiting for buses as Tube services are largely suspended across the capital.
TfL urges union to call off Thursday’s strike
TfL chief operating officer Andy Lord has appealed to the RMT to call off its second strike that is scheduled for Thursday, writes City Hall editor, Ross Lydall.
Speaking to the Standard, Mr Lord said “no proposals” had been tabled to change pension benefits. He said TfL had a “pretty good relationship” with the RMT, of which 4,900 members – 94 per cent of those taking part in the ballot – voted to strike.
Mr Lord said: “The challenge here is that some of their more militant membership and union leadership seem to believe that no change and the status quo is the only way forward.
“The Government have already provided £5bn to TfL. We need to become more efficient as an organisation.
“The frustration for all of us today is that the RMT are taking this action when we have not tabled anything [on pensions].
“I really want the RMT to talk with us and work with us. They have not published any further [strike] dates at this point. I encourage them to consider calling off Thursday’s strike. All it’s doing is making our financial position worse.”
Nothern and Piccadilly resume service in parts of line
The Northern and Piccadilly lines have partial service in some areas of their route according to TfL.
The Northern line is operating between East Finchley and High Barnet / Mill Hill East at a reduced frequency, said TfL.
There is no service on the rest of the line.
The Piccadilly has partial service operating between Acton Town and Hounslow Central at a reduced frequency.
The Central and District remain part suspended.
All other lines on the London Underground are suspended due to strike action called by the RMT union in a row over job losses and pension payments.
The knock-on effect of the Tube closures was apparent at queues for the taxi rank at Kings Cross, which snake around the corner, reports Barney Davis.
Accountant Georgia Mably, 45, said: “I’m only going in because the big boss is coming over from Brussels.
“Loads of overground trains have been cancelled as well.
“Thursday I’m definitely working from home.”
Sadiq Khan: Strike causing ‘severe blow’ to Londoners
Sadiq Khan said: “It’s very disappointing this RMT strike has gone ahead. It is causing very serious disruption to Londoners and businesses that are trying to recover after two devastating years.
“TfL have tried to mitigate the impact of the RMT strikes but there is currently no service across the Tube network so we are asking Londoners to check before they make their journey, consider whether they are able to work from home and use alternative modes of transport where possible.
“This action is causing misery for Londoners and businesses alike and damaging TfL at the worst possible time.
“It’s gone ahead despite there being no job losses, and no changes to pensions or conditions. I urge the RMT to come to the table and work with TfL.”
Hundreds attempt to pack onto Liverpool St buses
City of London Police are on crowd control at Liverpool Street as hundreds of people attempt to crush on to the already packed buses, reports Barney Davis.
Police have to shout “stand back” in scenes more reminiscent of kettling at a protest. Some are seen arguing back with officers trying to get them into a line to prevent a commuter crush.
One PC accused a particularly perturbed man, “Didn’t you have your breakfast this morning?” A City of London PC told the Standard: “Some people give you a bit of jip but I would be annoyed if it was my bus too.
Looking up at the grey sky as rain lashed down on the masses below, he adds: “And it’s always on the best days for it.”
Australian national John Landsdowne, 32, who works in marketing, was busy filming the thousand-strong queue said: “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Through a wry smile he adds: “It’s crazy but you Brits love it eh?”
Police help with crowd control outside Liverpool St station
Police could be seen helping with crowd control outside a busy Liverpool St station this morning.
Officers from City of London police could be seen on hand to help manage the throng of people attempting to board buses from the major transport hub.
One witness said: “Absolute carnage at Liverpool Street Station this morning”. The Standard has contacted the force for details.