Tube Strike 2014: As Londoners prepare for more disruption - Why is it happening? Why hasn't it been resolved? Who is to blame?

As millions of Londoners face disruption across the capital after a walkout by RMT workers here's our guide to what's going on and who's to blame...

After battling the crowds and congestion following a walkout by RMT members, Londoners face the prospect of having to do it all again. But what is the dispute about, why hasn't it been resolved and who is to blame?

Here's our quick guide.

Why is there a Tube Strike?

The Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union is taking industrial action over plans to close ticket offices on the London Underground, with the possible loss of 960 jobs.

The next round of strikes includes a 72-hour stoppage from Bank Holiday Monday.

Why does London Underground (LU) want to close ticket offices?

At the heart of the dispute is new technology. LU wants less staff working in ticket halls and claims new ticket machines mean that offices are underused. It plans to replace ticket offices with "customer service centres".

It also has repeatedly said that the changes would involve restructuring, there will be no compulsory redundancies and "not a single member of staff will be forced to leave the company".

Are ticket offices obsolete then?

Not really. 34m people used ticket offices last year, they are particularly useful for people who struggle to deal with the machines. Around 1m people used them to get a refund after being overcharged and 1.4m had their fares adjusted at an office.

Why is the RMT opposed to the changes?

The RMT primarily has concerns over safety.

As a result of the changes the number of stations staffed by just one person will double. The RMT also argue that the changes would make it more difficult for visitors to use the Tube. There are also concerns over access for the disabled. 

Commuters could also be affected as less staff will be available to deal with emergencies.

The union is also concerned about uncertainty over jobs, with staff fearing a loss of pay or changes to terms and conditions.

Crucially the RMT wants a review of ticket office closures to see if any are worth saving along with a wider public consultation on the issue.

Aren't Tube workers being greedy?

Ticket office staff generally earn a salary of between £25-27k. The average London salary is around £40,000. In this instance the dispute is about the proposed job losses and safety rather than salary.

Why can't LU and the RMT sort it out?

The union and LU have met more than 40 times since the last strike in February. To no avail.

After the previous strike action it was generally believed that a deal had been done to review station closures as per the RMT request. This has not happened - with LU blaming the RMT for failing to submit ideas. Three other unions the TSSA, Unite and Aslef are also involved in negotiations.

The dispute has been complicated by the death of former RMT General Secretary Bob Crow. Despite his public image Mr Crow was widely seen as a man who would do a deal.

Have the strikes worked so far?

The RMT says the earlier strike action was 'rock solid' a claim dismissed as 'farcical' by London Mayor Boris Johnson.

Mike Brown, managing director of London Underground, said 15% more staff worked yesterday than during the previous strike, though it is worth noting that only RMT staff are on strike this time around.

LU said half of train services ran and two-thirds of Tube stations were open, much more than during a previous strike in February.

Nearly 90% of the usual number of Oyster cards were used on Transport for London's network, according to the company.

But the RMT accused LU of "misleading" the public over the level of services and of leaving platforms and stations "dangerously overcrowded."

When are the next strikes?

The RMT say they will stage another walkout - this time for 72 hours - from 9pm on Monday 5 May.

What chance a deal?

Neither side would appear to be budging at the moment.

The RMT has repeatedly said that if LU agrees to a public consultation on ticket office closures they will suspend the action. At the moment that looks unlikely.

The RMT says...

Acting general secretary Mick Cash: "You cannot turn the crucial issue of Tube safety into a high-risk PR stunt designed to do nothing more than prop up the political position and cuts agenda of this Government and London's Tory mayor."

London Underground says...

Mike Brown, managing director of London Underground:  "Under our plans to modernise the Tube, we are committed to a safe railway with visible staff personally serving our passengers.

"Fairness to our staff is guaranteed - there will be no compulsory redundancies, there is a job for all staff wanting to remain with us and no one will lose pay."far

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Fans hold up a scarf at West Ham vs Liverpool
footballAfter Arsenal's clear victory, focus turns to West Ham vs Liverpool
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
News
news
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
Sport
football
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Qualified Primary Teaching Assistant

£64 - £73 per day + Competitive rates based on experience : Randstad Education...

Primary KS2 NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Primary NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Primary NQTs required in Lambeth

£117 - £157 per day + Competitive London rates: Randstad Education Group: * Pr...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam