London Tube strike is a symptom of London's success

London Tube strike is a symptom of London's success

As capacity and resources struggle to keep up with demand, conflict between the capital’s transport workforce and management is always likely to occur

At first sight it’s the usual Tube strike tale: the media revel in the “transport chaos”, the Telegraph lists who get paid less than London Underground drivers and Boris Johnson gets belligerent. Then, eventually, everyone who really matters sits down and does a deal. That’s what will happen this time: arcane small print agreements will be reached, small but symbolically important concessions will be made and a Night Tube service will be introduced, which is what the strike is all about in the first place.

Except that it’s about much more than that. The deep backdrop to the dispute, as with so many fraught issues in the capital, are the strains arising from success. London, a global capitalist city growing at a phenomenal speed, is engaged in a constant struggle to meet the demands its triumphs generate. More and better public transport capacity vies with housing and better pay at the top of the list. At the same time, the public money required for meeting that demand has not kept up. Yes, the mayor and Transport for London have secured hefty sums for upgrading the Underground and finishing Crossrail, but if you think that will guarantee you a seat on the Central Line during the morning peak any time soon, think again.

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Source: Guardian Transport

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