Tube strike: 48 hour walkout begins across London

Strike comes after Bob Crow and Manuel Cortes went to City Hall in an attempt to confront Boris Johnson on Tuesday

London Underground staff have started a 48-hour strike in a row over ticket office closures, after Prime Minister David Cameron said the action would “inflict misery” on Londoners. 

He urged union leaders on Tuesday to call off the strike, which is now likely to cause travel chaos in the capital over the next few days.

The spokesman said Mr Cameron "thinks that Bob Crow's strike is plain wrong and Bob Crow should call it off rather than inflict misery on hard-working families in London".

The comments followed a confrontation between London mayor Boris Johnson and Mr Crow, the Rail Maritime and Transport union (RMT) general secretary on an LBC radio show.

The row broke out after the general secretaries of the RMT and the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA), Bob Crow and Manuel Cortes, today went to City Hall in an attempt to confront Boris Johnson.

They have accused Mr Johnson of failing to meet them to discuss the closure of ticket offices.

Read more:
Tube strike: Which lines will be open to keep London moving?
How the Tube strikes will affect your journey (and stress levels)

The mayor was at the central London studios of LBC radio for his weekly phone-in, when Mr Crow spoke to him on his mobile from outside City Hall.

"We are not here to score points - all we want is an opportunity to negotiate about the Tube.

"We are asking you to listen to our point of view. We would love to call the strike off."

Mr Crow accused the mayor of refusing to suspend the ticket office closures.

Mr Johnson replied: "That is complete nonsense. We are more than happy to engage on these issues.

"Of course there are job losses involved but there are no compulsory redundancies.

"We have already had more than 1,000 people showing an interest in voluntary redundancy.

"Call off this pointless strike which will do nothing other than cost your members their wages."

Mr Crow said later it was clear the mayor was still refusing to meet unions.

The ongoing tube strike is expected to services for 48-hours, and at the same time next week.

Transport for London warned that services will be hit on Tuesday until Friday morning, causing travel chaos for passengers.

Ahead of the radio show this morning Mr Crow said: "We have exchanged letters with Boris Johnson and it's now time to meet face to face - if he won't come to us then we are showing our willingness to engage by travelling to him. This dispute is too important for London for anyone to retreat into their bunker.

"We are making it clear again today that if Boris Johnson lifts the threat to jobs we will suspend the action to allow for fresh talks from a clean slate. It is not too late for Boris to take up that fair and reasonable offer and we are at City Hall to make it happen."

Yesterday, the London Mayor Boris Johnson accused rail union boss Bob Crow of holding London to ransom Yesterday, the London Mayor Boris Johnson accused rail union boss Bob Crow of holding London to ransom

Mr Cortes of the TSSA added: "It is time for Boris to stop playing politics with the Tube. He may impress the right wing of the Tory Party by picking a fight with us but he is doing no favours to the travelling public.

"They want what we want. A properly staffed, safe and secure tube network."

On Monday, the London Mayor Boris Johnson accused rail union boss Bob Crow of holding London to ransom ahead of the two strikes. His comments came after photographs appeared in the press showing Mr Crow sunbathing on a beach in South America.

In his weekly column for the Daily Telegraph, the mayor said that while he did not begrudge Mr Crow his holiday, he was not entitled to "disrupt the lives of millions of people who are not on holiday but who want to work".

Mr Crow hit back, however, and stressed that his holiday was "booked up well before" the strike action. Mr Crow was also questioned about whether his high-profile was a distraction and how much the holiday cost, with some claiming it was £10,000.

"If I'm going to spend £10,000 on a car, or if I'm going to spend £10,000 on a holiday, or £10,000 on cigarettes, that's up to me," said Crow.

"I'm not being a distraction at all. What do you want me to do? Sit under a tree and read books of Karl Marx every day?" he added.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Software / Web Developer - ASP.NET

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company produces a wide ra...

Recruitment Genius: Office / Sales Manager

£22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Established and expanding South...

Recruitment Genius: Administrative Assistant / Order Fulfilment

£14000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join a thrivi...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Uncapped OTE: SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consulta...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones