Tube strike: unions warn of eight-day disruption

London Underground, The Tube, turns 150

Power workers to stage walkout from 8pm this evening but Tube chiefs insist all will run as normal

LAST UPDATED AT 10:49 ON Tue 1 Jul 2014

Commuters have been told to expect travel disruption for more than a week as power workers stage a planned walkout, starting at 8pm this evening.

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union has warned of "severe consequences" for Tube operations as its members prepare for the eight-day walkout. The strike could also affect commuters when the Tour de France cycle race visits London on 7 July, it says.

However, London Underground has insisted that the Tube will run as normal. Richard Jones, London Underground's head of command and control, told The Independent there will be "no visible impact on the network should the strike action go ahead". He urged unions to "continue with constructive discussions rather than threaten pointless industrial action".

A previous strike was called off in May to allow further negotiations, but the last-ditch talks to resolve a row over pensions and working conditions appear to have failed.

Mick Cash, RMT acting general secretary, said the claim that the underground can be run without its member was "both provocative and dangerous". He described the dispute as an "all-out attack" that would hit pensions, length of service, working conditions and the futures of the staff who supply the power to the entire tube network from their base in Blackfriars.

"These staff are effectively the national grid for London Underground and this action will have the most severe consequences for Tube operations but has been forced on us by management wrecking the earlier talks," he said.

A Unite spokesman, whose members will also take part in the walkout, said: "The blame for any disruption will lie with the management because this dispute should have been resolved weeks ago. The travelling public faces the very real prospect of their journeys being disrupted because of the irresponsibility of the management." · 

Disqus - noscript

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.

For further concise, balanced comment and analysis on the week's news, try The Week magazine. Subscribe today and get 6 issues completely free.