Tube strike: Travel disruption continues into Friday on London Underground

Commuters waiting for London Underground services to resume on Friday morning Credit: PA

Commuters faced a fourth day of travel disruption on Friday following the end of a 24-hour strike that closed almost all lines and dozens of stations.

The latest round of industrial action by the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers' (RMT) ended just after at midnight on Friday (4 March) but London Underground lines didn't reopen until 8am.

Transport for London (TfL) showed severe and minor delays across most Underground lines on Friday morning.

RMT members staged two 24-hour strikes on Tuesday and Thursday in a deadlocked dispute over jobs, pensions and conditions.

Tuesday's RMT strike brought the capital's Tube network grinding to a halt. Lengthy queues formed at bus stops around central London as commuters attempted to navigate the city by bus.

Commuters wait for London Underground services to resume on Friday morning Credit: PA

Andy Lord, TfL’s chief operating officer, said on Thursday: “Services will also be severely impacted until mid-morning on Friday March 4 because of a number of factors including the placement of drivers and trains following a day without service.

“I apologise to customers for this and understand they will be frustrated by this strike action, but urge them not to take it out on those who are trying to help.

People waiting for buses at Waterloo Station at rush hour on Thursday when services remained severely disrupted. Credit: PA

“We haven’t proposed any changes to pensions or terms and conditions, and nobody has lost or will lose their jobs because of the proposals we have set out, so this action is completely unnecessary.

“We know our customers deserve better than this continued disruption and that is why we’re urging the RMT to talk to us so we can find a resolution to this dispute which has already damaged London’s recovery from the pandemic.”

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TfL has criticised RMT's latest round of industrial action, which has been launched by thousands of workers, including Tube drivers.

The transport operator has said there are no proposals on pensions or terms and conditions, and nobody has or will lose their jobs because of the proposals it has set out.

However, RMT has said the strikes centre on the financial crisis affecting the London Underground.

The union's bosses claimed the capital's public transport cash crisis has been "deliberately engineered" by the Government to drive a cuts agenda that they say will affect jobs, services, safety and threaten working conditions and‎ pensions.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “Our members across London Underground are making it crystal clear again this morning that they are not going to be used as pawns in a political fight between the mayor and the Government which threatens their futures and their livelihoods.

“The funding crisis at TfL which is at the heart of this dispute is not of our making and our members are not prepared to take a hammering to pay for it.

“This week we have seen workers fighting back across London against attacks on themselves and their colleagues from political machinations that are out of their control.

Sadiq Khan accused union leaders of letting the government “off the hook” by carrying out the strikes.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan speaking at a Forest Hill school on Friday

Speaking on Friday, the mayor urged the RMT to resume talks with TfL rather than stage further walkouts.

“What I say to the RMT, with the greatest respect, is them having these strikes lets the government – who are responsible for the pensions review – off the hook, and punishes Londoners, punishes Londoners’ businesses, many who have really struggled over the last two years.

“We saw on Tuesday and Thursday Londoners not being able to go to hospital appointments, Londoners not being able to go to college.

“Many Londoners who can’t work from home having two, three, four-hour journeys to get to their place of work.

“What the RMT should be doing is getting around the table with TfL, who are willing to talk.”

The London mayor insisted TfL “would have gone bankrupt” if it had not accepted the Government’s funding package.

“That doesn’t benefit the RMT or its members,” Mr Khan said.

“That’s why I say to the RMT ‘get back round the table, talking is far better than striking’.”