‘Absolute Carnage’ As Tube Drivers Go On Strike

In the biggest Underground walkout in over a decade, the Tube network was shut down with stations closed, while other forms of transport were packed, even though extra bus and ferry services were laid on.

Sky News reports that twice as many people as usual hired bikes to get to their companies, while many commuters chose to walk miles in the sunshine as roads were packed with cars.

As business groups warned the strike will cost the capital’s economy tens of millions of pounds, London Underground bosses contacted the conciliation service ACAS to help arrange new talks with union officials.

The Government and London mayor Boris Johnson have criticised the strike action, but unions have pointed the finger at London Underground, and also called for further discussions to resolve the dispute.

The strike, which is over the introduction of an all-night service on parts of the network from September, ended on Thursday evening.

But passengers have been advised it could take until Friday morning for services to return to normal.

Travellers have described “absolute carnage” as they tried to get into work.

One commuter said police were called to a bus stop after the driver refused to move because his vehicle was too packed.

The traveller tweeted: “Absolute carnage on 113 bus. Driver refuses to drive as bus is too packed! Police was called and they just arrived! #tubestrike.”

Others described delays on the roads, with many getting up hours earlier than normal and rerouting their journeys in an attempt to get in on time.

Some train platforms and buses were reported to be full before 6am.

There were also signalling problems at London Bridge, which heaped further misery on passengers.

As well as 200 more buses, Transport for London said trams would run a peak-time service all day.

The mobile-based service Uber has been criticised by commuters after fares were said to have doubled in some areas during the strike.

Some users reported rises as high as 200% as they looked for alternative routes to work.

A spokesman for Uber said its programming means prices are increased in times of high demand to encourage more drivers onto the roads, and customers are made aware of the fare increases before they book.

Thousands of striking workers from the four trade unions involved in the walkout mounted picket lines outside stations.

The boss of London Underground, Mike Brown, said the industrial action was “totally unnecessary”.

He claimed LU had put together a “remarkably fair” pay offer for the introduction of the night service.

Steve Griffiths, LU chief operating officer, said: “We have put forward a very, very fair offer, which consists of an average salary increase of 2 per cent, 1 per cent 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.”

Mr Johnson said most Londoners would look at the offer and “find it impossible to fathom why the unions are rejecting it”.

LU has claimed it did not receive a response to the latest “fair and competitive” offer made on Monday, and urged the unions to put it to workers.

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said the strike had “rock solid” support from workers.

He said the disruption caused by the strike “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,” he added.

TSSA leader Manuel Cortes has called for talks at the conciliation services ACAS on Friday.

The Tube strike coincides with a 48-hour stoppage by workers on First Great Western, which caused disruption to trains to and from London Paddington.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union are striking over jobs and buffet facilities on new trains.