Tube strike: why was it called off and what will happen next?

London Underground, The Tube, turns 150

Both London Underground and the unions claim to be happy with the outcome, but talks are just beginning

LAST UPDATED AT 15:21 ON Wed 12 Feb 2014

THE threat of a second 48-hour strike on the London Underground was averted yesterday by a last-minute agreement between Tube bosses and the unions. But many commuters have been left bewildered by the decision and what it means for the future of the Underground.

The industrial action was called off after unions accepted the offer of an extended consultation period over plans to close all Tube ticket offices, a proposal that would mean the loss of 750 jobs, and freeze voluntary redundancies.

London Underground says its proposed changes will help modernise the network. Unions are opposed to the idea and say they were striking in order to protect passenger safety as well as prevent job losses.

Why was the strike called off?

Effectively the two sides have agreed merely to hold talks. The deal reached yesterday between the unions and London Underground ensures that:

  • The unions suspended this week's strike action.
  • There will be two months of intensive talks during which no further industrial action will take place.
  • A station-by-station review of London Underground's proposals will take place. This could mean some ticket offices will remain open.

What will the unions do next?

RMT leader Bob Crow appeared to claim victory when he told "RMT will continue to put up a case to retain ticket offices and the onus is now on London Underground to make the case for individual office closures and to make that case to both the unions and the travelling public".

Asked if he thought it was possible that the threat to close every ticket office was merely a ploy to make the closure of /most/ offices seem more palatable, Crow said: "If that's the case then it was a stupid game to be playing and we hope that you've called that wrong.

"We deal with the facts and the facts are that LU and the Mayor told us, and the people of London, that their plan was to close all ticket offices and that they have now moved from that position."

What is London Underground's next move?

Mike Brown, managing director of London Underground, said: "We have always said that we want the unions to engage fully with us, to help shape our proposals for the future of the Tube.

"The hard work of both the LU and union negotiating teams and the progress we have made at Acas over the last few days means we can do that without further unnecessary disruption to Londoners."

Tube Strike called off after last-minute deal

11 February

A 48-hour strike due to start this evening has been called off after both unions involved in the dispute reached a deal with London Underground.

The RMT and TSSA suspended their industrial action hours before their members were due to walk out, bringing two more days of chaos to London's transport network.

London Underground bosses "proposed two months of intensive talks with the unions, starting on Wednesday," the BBC reported. "A station-by-station review will also take place, which Tube bosses said could result in some ticket offices remaining open.

The dispute arose from Transport for London's decision to close all staffed ticket offices, which could lead to the loss of 750 London Underground jobs

The TSSA said in a statement: "We have now agreed a process where all our serious concerns over safety and job losses will be seriously addressed through the normal channels. We are obviously pleased that we have agreed this process, which will allow us to suspend our strike immediately, and cancel it later when the agreement reaches us in a formal document."

Before talks re-started this morning the RMT's John Leach had said the chances of the strike being called off were "quite slim", but this afternoon union leader Bob Crow welcomed the deal.

"We now have a golden opportunity to look again in detail at all of the concerns we have raised about the impact of the cuts on our members and the services that they provide to Londoners," he said. "That is exactly what we have been calling for throughout this dispute."

Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, said: "TfL's negotiators have been ready since November to discuss the detail around ticket office closures and wider modernisation of the Tube. It's welcome news that the unions appear to recognise that, and will return to full and substantive discussions with TfL between now and the end of the consultation period in early April."


Tube strike: which lines are running today?

6 February

LONDONERS are facing a second day of delays and disruption as a 48-hour strike enters its final day. Industrial action, which began on Tuesday evening, forced many stations to close and reduced services on all Tube lines. A similar pattern of disruption is expected today, before services return to normal tomorrow morning.

Which services are currently affected by the strike?

The DLR, bus, Overground and Tramlink services are unaffected by the strike, but all London Underground lines are likely to experience disruption, with many lines partially or entirely closed. Services are less frequent than usual and scheduled only between 7am and 11pm. Details of services currently running on each line are listed below.

Bakerloo line: Trains are operating between Queens Park and Elephant & Castle every 10 minutes, but there is no service on the rest of the line.

Central line: Trains are running between White City and West Ruislip/Ealing Broadway every ten minutes and between Marble Arch and Epping/Hainault via Newbury Park about every 12 minutes, with no service on the rest of the line.

Circle line: Trains will not run, but stations will be served by the District, Hammersmith & City and Metropolitan lines.

District line: Trains will run between Wimbledon and Upminster and between High Street Kensington and Ealing Broadway every 12 minutes – but there is no service on the rest of the line.

Hammersmith & City line: There is a service operating between Hammersmith and Moorgate every ten minutes, but no service on the rest of the line.

Jubilee line: Trains are running between Stanmore and Finchley Road every five minutes and between Waterloo and Stratford every eight minutes, but there is no service on the rest of the line.

Metropolitan line: A service is operating between Harrow-on-the-Hill and Aldgate every ten minutes.

Piccadilly line: Trains are running between Acton Town and Heathrow Terminals 1, 2 and 3 every 30 minutes.

Victoria line: Services are operating between Seven Sisters and Brixton about every five minutes, but there is no service on the rest of the line.

Waterloo & City line: There is no service on the Waterloo & City line.

Northern line: There is currently a good service running on the Northern line.

Blogger Ian Mansfield has mocked up a Tube map that reflects services expected to run during the strike.

Who else will be affected?

Although buses are not directly affected by the Tube strike, they are likely to be much busier than usual. Taxis and rental ‘Boris bikes' may also be harder to come by.

Where can you get live travel information?

TfL says it is hard to predict where the worst delays will occur, but it has advised passengers to follow @TfLTravelAlerts, @TfLTrafficNews and @TfLBusAlerts on Twitter and check before they travel.

When does the strike end? 

The 48-hour strike began at 9.30pm on Tuesday. It therefore officially ends at 9.30pm on Thursday, but services are not expected to return to normal until Friday morning. Another strike is planned for Tuesday to Thursday next week.

Why are Tube workers going on strike?

The dispute results from TfL's decision to close all staffed ticket offices, which could lead to the loss of 750 London Underground jobs, and to operate a 24-hour weekend service on some Tube lines from next year.  · 

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No rail service of any sort west of Exeter, so England cut off from Cornwall and likely to be for weeks; but that is obviously much less important than a few people having to get a bus rather than the tube in that London...

Economically it is.

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