RMT members have begun a 48-hour strike after talks between the union and London Underground over wage and job cuts broke down. The strike began at 1859 tonight and will continue until 1858 on Thursday.
The union is calling for a 5% pay rise and a guarantee that there will be no compulsory redundancies.
Yesterday Boris Johnson announced extra transport services aimed at keeping the capital moving in the event that the strike went ahead. Transport for London will ensure the availability of extra buses, a free River shuttle service will also run and and passengers will be able to use Oyster pay as you go on all Greater London National Rail services.
Speaking yesterday the Mayor said he was “determined to do as much as is humanly possible to ease the journeys of the millions of Londoners whose lives may be disrupted if strike action takes place.”
Peter Hendy, London’s Transport Commissioner, said: “We urge everyone travelling in and around London during the strike to check before you travel and to consider the wide range of alternative travel options by going on-line to tfl.gov.uk as well as staggering your normal journeys where possible.”
Members of the London Assembly have condemned the strike action. Caroline Pidgeon, Liberal Democrat London Assembly Transport Spokesperson, commented: “The RMT have long been spoiling for a fight. This is a pointless strike which will inconvenience millions of people and severely damage London’s economy.”
“At a time of a deep recession and rapidly rising unemployment the RMT seem determined to just add further misery to the hundreds of thousands of people who are struggling to keep their jobs.”
Highlighting Mayor Johnson’s election promises of a no-strike deal with the Tube unions Labour’s Val Shawcross said: “A more pro-active, interested Mayor would have put his prejudices to one side, rolled up his sleeves and not let the dispute escalate to this disruptive stage. He would have worked with the unions to find a fair way forward. Instead, Boris has refused to come to the negotiating table and the no-strike deal he promised on the campaign trail is looking like a ridiculous puff of hot air.”