London’s 3.5 million subway commuters struggled to get into work today as London Underground workers stage a strike over plans to cut 800 jobs.
The 24-hour walkout, the last of four scheduled to protest against the reductions, began at 6:30 p.m. yesterday, Transport for London said. The organization had limited services and delays today on most lines across the network, known as the Tube.
The city is “locked down across the board,” with 114 stations closed, Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers’ Union General Secretary Bob Crow said in an e-mailed statement.
TfL said this morning about 40 percent of trains are running, more than at the same stage in the last strike. The Northern line was operating across its full length, and the Circle line was shut since most stations are covered by other lines, TfL said. The Victoria, Jubilee, Bakerloo, District, Metropolitan, Piccadilly, Central, and Hammersmith & City lines are operating a partial service.
The stoppage, the seventh to shut the Tube since 2002, involves around 10,000 employees. More than 100 extra buses and capacity for more than 10,000 extra river crossings have been organized, TfL spokesman Ben Pennington said by phone.
TfL said it carried half of its normal passenger levels during the last strike.
The action is likely to cost the economy at least 48 million pounds ($75 million), London Chamber of Commerce and Industry spokesman Andrew Horne said last week.
The timing of the strike “is terrible, with icy conditions taking hold and the possibility of snow,” LCCI Chief Executive Colin Stanbridge said in an e-mailed statement.
Temperatures in London are predicted to dip as low as minus 1 degree Celsius (30 degrees Fahrenheit) today, according to Global Weather Platform.
TfL condemned the RMT and Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association for refusing to continue what it said were constructive talks, according to an e-mailed statement.
The strike action “is about safety,” Crow said in an e- mailed statement yesterday. “We will be taking that message to passengers as we build the campaign against the tube cuts.”
Mike Brown, managing director of London Underground and London rail, today called for union members to “immediately call off their totally unnecessary strike.
‘‘We will talk to them right now on any genuine safety issues they have,’’ he said in an e-mailed statement. ‘‘We want an end to this dispute and believe that a resolution will be only achieved through talks, not by further threats to disrupt London.’’
Editors: Peter Branton, Andrew Clapham
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