Britain: Strike knocks out tube lines

November 6, 2010
Photo: Toastbrot81/Flickr

British rail unions branded Transport for London (TfL) “barefaced liars" after its management attempted to claim minimum disruption during a 24-hour strike on November 3.

London Underground services were crippled by strike action called by the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) and Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA) over safety-critical job cuts.

All 11 of the London’s Tube lines were hit by the walkout. The action was the latest in a series of strikes over plans to axe up to 2000 jobs, including 800 station staff.

The mood on the picket lines was one of determination, RMT London regional organiser Steve Hedley told the Morning Star.

“There are less stations open today and less trains running, so from our point of view it’s all going very well”, he said.

“The response from commuters has been very positive. The commuters are not stupid. They know what this is about — job cuts and safety.”

TfL claimed that more than 40% of Tube trains were operating despite the strike.

But RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: “Rather than resorting to bare-faced lies about what everyone out there in London knows to be the truth about the disruption to services, TfL should face up to the reality that today's action has actually been the most successful to date and get the message that the time has come to stop cutting and start talking.”

Crow condemned attempts by management to brush the union’s safety concerns under the carpet.

A fourth strike is planned for November 29, but TSSA leader Gerry Doherty said: “Although our members will make the final decision, I will not be urging them to take any action during the festive season.

“Our argument is not with Londoners and the travelling public, our argument is with [London Mayor] Boris Johnson. We do not want to disrupt families during Christmas or the New Year.”

[Abridged from]

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