Tube strike – live updates
- Largest walkout on the London Underground since 2002
- More than 20,000 workers strike over pay and night shifts
- First Great Western rail services also hit by strike
- Read the latest summary
The taxi app Uber has been criticised over pricing after claims that it has tripled prices in some areas during the strike. PA reports:
Commuters used social media this morning to report rises as high as 200% as they sought to find alternative ways to work, with the Underground out of action.
Uber said its programming means that in times of high demand for cars, prices are increased to encourage more drivers on to the roads.
The RMT’s general secretary, Mick Cash, has dismissed First Great Western’s claims to be running a 60% service as “pure fiction”.
The company have been forced into wholesale shutdowns , with a manager-run skeleton service in some areas , due to the strike action as passengers will confirm. It does no one any favours driving more people onto dangerously overcowded trains.
The solution to this dispute isn’t manufactured figures and PR stunts it is serious talks addressing the core issues that have forced our members to strike.
The big significance of this dispute is that all four of the main Tube unions are involved, writes Dave Hill.
That doesn’t happen often and comradely bonds aren’t always warm. The effectiveness of the strike, with every line suspended for the whole of Thursday, is crucially down to the participation of members of Aslef, the union that represents the majority of Tube drivers. Aside from past dust ups over Boxing Day pay, this group of workers doesn’t down tools readily. Its district organiser Finn Brennan chooses the words “sensible and moderate” to describe the organisation, then points to the outcome of the strike ballot: 98% in favour on an 81% turnout. Feelings are running high.
Brennan insists that pay is not the central issue with the Night Tube. It’s about rosters and unsocial shifts and work-life balance in an increasingly pressured system. “There’s an intensification of demands on drivers,” he says. “More and more weekend working, more and more of a squeeze. Throwing money at this won’t help. The London economy is what it is and if you want change, you have to negotiate it through.”
First Great Western said more than 60% of its services were operating as normal today, despite the RMT’s separate dispute with the company over proposed cuts to guards and buffet cars on new trains.
Here’s a summary of where things currently stand:
Boris Johnson has cast more doubt over the date for the introduction of the Night Tube, according to PA.
The queue for taxis at Paddington goes on and on, according to video from the BBC’s Richard Main.
For some commuters it was just a walk in the park …
Wimbledon’s famous queue was markedly shorter this morning, numbering perhaps 1,000 rather than the tens of thousands that often line up outside the grounds, writes Esther Addley.
Women’s semi-finals day is often the quietest day of the tournament – the club does not sell tickets for Centre Court or court number 2 on the last four days of the Championships, and the women’s matches often attract a lower attendance than the men’s, particularly when Andy Murray is playing.
But those fans who had made it to the All England Club shortly before the gates opened expressed surprise that they hadn’t had to join the end of a much longer queue.
LBC host James O’Brien launched a passionate defence of the strikers and an attack on London Underground and Boris Johnson on his show this morning.
I don’t know for sure who is in the right and who is in the wrong on this. But I know historically I wouldn’t trust Boris Johnson … if I was married to him. Tube drivers don’t necessarily strike me as people dedicated to the destruction of this city.
What I really don’t know is how we have ended up hating people who can take a swing back at their bosses.
Green Party leader Natalie Bennett is backing the strike. In a statement she said:
“I stand in solidarity with the workers striking this week. These strikes are the last resort of workers seriously concerned over issues of safety, staffing and pay, and it is clear that employers in both cases have failed to provide the reasonable assurances that their employees have the right to ask for.
“In any significant change to services and the conditions of those who work on them – be it the night Tube or the new inner-city trains – the needs of those who will be staffing them must be a high priority, and workers forced to take industrial action to ensure that this is the case have my support.”
Streets surrounding Paddington station were gridlocked as commuters waited for buses during rush hour this morning, writes Aisha Gani.
Passengers, some with large suitcases from Heathrow, thronged Praed Street as police officers and volunteers helped with directions.
A sea of people queuing for alternative buses extended down the pavement, while commuters had to watch numerous already full buses go by before they could get on.
Tube cleaners on zero hours contracts were sent home from work this morning after the tube strike resulted in the closure of all 270 of the capital’s underground stations, writes Nadia Khomami.
The cleaners, based at Elephant & Castle, were told their services were no longer needed after they had already made their way into work. They said the cancellation was “just another example” of the little regard London Underground has for the treatment of its staff.
One source, who has been working as a tube cleaner through a third party agency for the past year, said: “Working for an agency means I cover people when they don’t show up for work. I was called by my supervisor yesterday and told to come to Elephant & Castle station today. I woke up very early this morning and took two buses. But when I got there the station was closed. I was with another agency cleaner and two staff cleaners. We waited for a long time until our supervisor finally called us.
Labour leadership contender Jeremy Corbyn is backing the union’s concern about staffing levels and safety on the proposed night Tube. He said:
“No one is fooled by the mayor’s spin that this is primarily about pay. There is big concern that in stations outside central London, night tubes will be stopping at stations that will have no minimum staffing levels – which could mean just one member of staff dealing with the public coming home after a late night out. This is a safety nightmare and clearly not good for these staff or the public.
“Boris Johnson has presided over worsening employee relations on the Tube. He must now talk and end the disruption that his approach has caused.”
At 8am commuters were streaming out of Euston station, but with no Underground, the bus stops were more crowded than usual, writes Mark Tran.
The 205 heading east towards Liverpool St and the City was particularly sought after. One filled up quickly after pulling, leaving not a few frustrated – but not too ill-tempered.
Liza McGuigan, an accountant rom Northwood would normally have caught the Tube to Liverpool St, but today it would be the 205 – or walking.
The NSPCC spotted a shameless opportunity for some publicity, but it’s for a good cause.
The strike has fuelled right wing calls to weaken the unions.
Writing in the Spectator Leo McKinstry has a long shopping list for curbing union power.
It is intolerable that millions of commuters should effectively be held to ransom by a self-serving minority. With a majority government, the Prime Minister is no longer forced to tolerate it.
Cameron can now tighten the conditions under which a strike could be held. At present, the lives of millions can be disrupted on the votes of a tiny minority of members. In one grotesque recent case, a London bus strike was threatened earlier this year on the support of 16% of those entitled to vote. The Conservatives have pledged to introduce a threshold of 40%. That would end the ability of hardliners to disrupt public services without the support of the majority.
Tube drivers striking today start work on 50k & get 43 days holiday a year. Little wonder the public have no sympathy.
The taxi app firm Hailo says its has seen a 500% increase in prebooked taxis with demand running at double the level it got on New Year’s Eve.
RMT’s lead negotiator John Leach has hit back at Boris Johnson’s claim that that the strike is politically motivated.
“It is political because he [the mayor] has put through a cuts agenda for the next six years … and at the same time rolling out this night tube which is not funded properly,” Leach said.
Chief secretary to the Treasury Greg Hands condemned the strike as “irresponsible” and defiant of customer demands for night Tubes.
I condemn the irresponsible Tube strike by the RMT today, in defiance of customer demand for (limited) nighttime Tube service.
It’s “absolute carnage” out there.
Frustrated commuters have talking to Aish Gani at Paddington.
Judith & husband, lugging around three suitcases, came off a 14hr flight from Canada and have waited 1/2hr for bus pic.twitter.com/4qtho732HW
London Mayor Boris Johnson said the strike was “totally unnecessary” and was causing huge disruption to Londoners and to businesses. PA quotes the mayor saying:
“I think most reasonable people will look at the offer that’s on the table from London Underground and find it impossible to fathom why the unions are rejecting it.
I also think it’s extraordinary that the union leadership hasn’t even put the offer back to their members to formally consider.
Hailo taxi drivers have had a busy morning.
The Guardian’s Aisha Gani has been braving the chaos, queues and picket lines around Paddington Station.
I have been speaking to train driver & colleagues from First Great Western striking today who’ve been here since 6am pic.twitter.com/EziaqTqJt2
Here’s the the queue for Taxi’s at Kings Cross.
The bus queue at Victoria station could be even longer. It takes two minutes to walk the length of the line, according Ryan Hunter who posts a speeded up video version.
There is an extraordinary queue for buses at Liverpool Street according to video by Seb White.
First Great Western says its services have been severely hit by a separate dispute involving RMT workers.
On many of its lines there are no services at all and the main commuter service between London and Bristol is only running at one train per hour. The union said trains that are running are “dangerously overcrowded”.
RMT members across First Great Western are solidly supporting the 48 hours of strike action over the threat to jobs, services and safety. Pickets are out in force and the mood is united and determined as we fight for workplace justice.
FGW are running a skeleton service in some areas which is dangerously overcrowded and being operated by inadequately trained managers, raising serious safety issues which RMT will be taking up formally.
Johnson insisted that unions have been presented with a “handsome offer” to staff, but were refusing to discuss it.
“Our negotiators have found that they [the unions] have absolutely no interest in doing a deal. They are determined to not put the package that we are offering to their membership, and I think they should,” the mayor said.
London Mayor Boris Johnson has suggested the timetable for introducing all-night Underground services may slip. When asked about the 12 September deadline on BBC London, Johnson evaded the question.
Transport for London has confirmed there are no Tube services running today, due to what it described as “an unnecessary strike”.
In a statement it said:
LU has tried everything possible to engage the unions over the last five months to try to reach an agreement on pay and the introduction of the Night Tube 24-hour Underground services at weekends from September. The process has been hampered by the unions frequently walking out of negotiations or refusing to turn up. LU received no response to the fair and competitive pay offer made last Monday.
A night time Tube service is something Londoners and businesses have been requesting for many years. It will make life easier for everyone, cut journey times, create jobs and boost the economy. We want to reward our staff for its delivery and have been open and transparent in our negotiations with the trade unions – but unfortunately they have failed to engage. We have put forward a very, very fair offer, which consists of an average salary increase of 2%, 1% or RPI (whichever is greater) for next year and the one after, plus a £500 night tube launch bonus and an additional £2,000 bonus for night tube train drivers. No one will have to work more hours than they do now, and we have a longer term plan, which will mean no one will need to work nights if they don’t want to. Given these commitments, the key question Londoners will rightly be asking, is why the unions have refused to put this new pay deal to their memberships and instead opted to push on with completely unnecessary strike action, which is inflicting major disruption on Londoners and businesses today.
The RMT union says the support for the strike has been rock solid.
The strike action on London Underground is rock solid across all lines, all grades and all depots and the unity and solidarity of the entire workforce, which has now brought London to a standstill, must force the tube bosses back to the negotiating table to address the issues at the heart of this dispute.
That means an end to the attempt to bulldoze through new working patterns that would wreck work/life balance and leave staff in safety critical jobs burnt out and stressed out at a time when tube services are facing unprecedented demand. We’ve wasted three months in negotiations that failed to address staff concerns and it’s essential for London that there’s no repeat of that fiasco and that puts the ball firmly in LU’s court this morning.
Tory MP Guy Opperman looks on the bright side. It’s a beautiful day to bike, he tweets.
Cycled in to HOC past many Londoners walking, in cars or queueing for buses as tube drivers on strike again over pay.But beautiful day 4
The Tube strike is not the only reason why it may be tempting to take the day off today. There’s also the Ashes, Wimbledon and the Tour de France. Stuart Heritage has a skiving guide.
Steve Griffith,s London Underground’s chief operating officer, claims London’s commuters are “coping well” with the strike.
Speaking to the BBC London he said 200 extra buses had been put on. “At the moment London is very resilient,” he said despite reports of fights for buses.
Some commuters have already been turned away from packed buses, according to the BBC’s Richard Main.
Thinking of walking to work? Fallon London has a guide to how long it will take to walk between Underground stations.
Welcome to live updates on the biggest strike on the London Underground for 13 years.
Commuters face a hellish trip into work after a 24-hour walkout, which started last night, forced the whole of the London Underground [LU] network to close for the first time since 2002.
Tube strike politically motivated – union bosses need to explain why they refuse to put new offer to members – disgraceful – call it off!
Source: Guardian Transport