London Underground says its running trains on all but the Circle, Bakerloo and Waterloo & City lines despite today’s strike by members of the TSSA and RMT unions.
The strikes are being held in protest at plans to close ticket offices and axe hundreds of jobs. A total of 950 posts are at risk, although around 200 new jobs will be created when a new night Tube service starts in 2015.
Unions say the changes will make the network less safe for passengers, claims denied by LU and City Hall who insist by redeploying staff from ticket offices they’ll be able to better serve passengers.
Today’s strike is the first of two 48-hour walk-outs and will last until 20:59 Thursday 6th February. A second strike will be held on 11 February.
LU yesterday announced 450 staff had already applied for voluntary redundancy leading one London Assembly member to describe the strikes as “bonkers”.
Tube bosses have drafted in hundreds of back office staff and managers to support non-striking drivers and say they will run as many services as possible.
The boasts are in stark contrast to Tuesday night when the strike say major disruption to the network, with all but one line suspended or subject to delays.
Passengers are being warned to check before they travel at tfl.gov.uk and by following @TfLTravelAlerts, @TfLTrafficNews and @TfLBusAlerts on Twitter.
LU Managing Director, Mike Brown said: “Many thousands of LU and TfL staff are working hard to keep customers informed and ensure we keep London moving and open for business today. My message to the leadership of the RMT and TSSA is that they should do the right thing, call off this completely unnecessary strike and work with us to help shape the future of the Tube.
“All Tube stations will remain staffed and controlled at all times when services are operating, and we’ll be introducing a 24-hour service at weekends during 2015. In future, there will be more staff in ticket halls and on platforms to help customers buy the right ticket, plan their journeys and to keep them safe and secure.
“We’re committed to implement these changes without compulsory redundancies and there’ll be a job for everyone at LU who wants to work for us and be flexible.”
Green party London Assembly Member Darren Johnson called on the Mayor to “should step back, rethink his plans, withdraw the closure plans and allow meaningful negotiations to take place.”
He added: “In return, the unions should agree to call off further strikes.”
Assembly Member Johnson said the Mayor “has failed to explain how the 100,000 passengers who use ticket offices every day, will be dealt with in the event of ticket office closures and the loss of 950 station staff” and suggested “many Londoners are still unclear how safety standards and the quality of the service, can be maintained with so many staff being made redundant.”