Commuters warned of more Tube strikes after day of disruption

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The Independent Online

Leaders of Britain's biggest rail union are expected to call more 24-hour strikes on London Underground in the wake of yesterday's walkout, which caused travel chaos throughout the capital.

Leaders of Britain's biggest rail union are expected to call more 24-hour strikes on London Underground in the wake of yesterday's walkout, which caused travel chaos throughout the capital.

Activists in the RMT union said last night that they were determined to wring concessions on pay and hours from management, and believed that industrial action was the only way to do it.

As commuters struggled to board buses and crammed the pavements walking to work, there was no sign of negotiations to bring the damaging dispute to an end. London Underground accused the union of walking out of talks on Monday. The RMT said that management had failed to negotiate seriously.

Managers said that 30 per cent of Underground services were operating with the help of members of the rival union Aslef and non-union workers, but the RMT said the trains were not running the full length of their routes and failing to stop at many stations. It was expected that the full timetable would be restored this morning after strikers began to return to work when the stoppage ended at 6.30 last night.

Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT, repeated his plea to the Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, to become closely involved in attempts to resolve the conflict. "We need someone with the authority and inclination to hammer out a deal. Instead we continue to bang our heads against a brick wall with a management Mr Livingstone dismissed as dullards and knuckleheads,'' he said. The RMT has rejected a package worth about 6.75 per cent over two years because "unacceptable strings'' had been attached to the introduction of a 35-hour week. The rail union leader said 800 jobs would be lost under the proposals, there would be a "wholesale slaughter'' of working conditions and some stations would not be fully staffed at a time of heightened fear of terrorist attack.

Mr Livingstone, who had to walk to his office near Tower Bridge, described the offer that was already on the table as "incredibly generous'', noting that it also guaranteed the company's final salary pension scheme. Only a total of 200 jobs would be lost and no one would be made compulsorily redundant, he said.

Tim O'Toole, the managing director of London Underground, apologised to the public for the disruption but said that he was encouraged by the number of drivers who had turned up for work.

Transport for London estimated that an extra million people used buses, making a total of seven million, the highest figure for 50 years.

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