Tube strike 2014: Travel chaos as industrial action over ticket office closures hits underground services in London

Staff walked out at 9pm and disruption is expected until Friday morning

Millions of commuters in London faced long delays and disruption today as a 48-hour strike over Tube ticket office closures hit services.

Members of the Rail Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) and the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA) walked out at 9pm last night in protest at the closure of all ticket offices, with the loss of 950 jobs.

There was an immediate impact on services but disruption is expected to be widespread during the rush hour later today and tomorrow as millions of commuters attempt to journey around London.

Around three and a half million trips are made each day on the London Underground's eleven lines.

London Underground said it was operating train services on eight of their lines despite what they described as the "completely unnecessary" strike.

However, services were crippled by the strike straight away this morning with Oxford Circus tube station opening at 7am and closing just eleven minutes later due to a lack of staff. It later reopened.

 

Elsewhere, Victoria Station remained closed earlier despite a notice saying that a limited service would begin at 7am - it also later reopened.

Images emerged on social media of large queues building outside some stations.

The strike has also had a knock-on impact on services elsewhere with reports of London Overground trains being so crowded that passengers were unable to board them at stations in north-west London.

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

As expected queues formed at bus stations across the capital.

RMT leader Bob Crow said: "As we expected the action is rock solid this morning and has reduced the network to a skeleton service with only a few ghost trains running through closed stations.

"That is simply a reflection of the staff anger at attempts to bulldoze through cuts to jobs, services and safety which would reduce the Tube to a dangerous, hollowed-out shell", Mr Crow told BBC London 94.9.

"We're available today and later tomorrow for talks and we want to resolve this. The mayor should do the honourable thing and meet with us."

"We respect the mayor. We may disagree with him," he continued. "But all we want to do is to listen to our point of view."

Commuters wait for gates to open to the District Line at Liverpool Street station at 7am this morning Commuters wait for gates to open to the District Line at Liverpool Street station at 7am this morning TSSA leaders claimed the service had been reduced by 70% and called on Boris Johnson to "end government by gimmick" and "enter serious talks".

Train passengers were also having problems because of a return to the wet and windy weather which has devastated travel across the UK.

Southeastern trains said the forecast weather, after the wettest January for a century, presented a risk of further flooding, landslips and falling trees.

Network Rail has put in place a 40mph speed restriction across parts of the Southeastern network.

Meanwhile, politicians have condemned the industrial action, with Conservatives again calling for changes to employment laws covering the numbers voting for strikes in a ballot.

Yesterday, a spokesman for the Prime Minister said Mr Cameron "thinks that Bob Crow's strike is plain wrong and he should call it off rather than inflict misery on hard-working families in London".

RMT leader Bob Crow on the phone to Boris Johnson outside City Hall RMT leader Bob Crow on the phone to Boris Johnson outside City Hall

Boris Johnson responded to the disruption caused by the strikes saying: "We are doing all we can to try and get people to work."

"I recognise in some cases it is difficult, and I feel enormous sympathy for Londoners this morning, but the blame for this strike lies squarely with union leaders who have resorted to myths and stunts in a pathetic attempt to justify a strike that is utterly pointless."

"It's appalling that a tiny minority of union members have sought to disrupt the working lives of millions of Londoners today. It's clear that at a minimum we need a 50% strike threshold for a key public service like the mass transit system of our capital city."

Finsbury Park chaos Earlier this week, Mr 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.


Watch a video from the picket line last night

 

 

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Life and Style
Mary Beard received abuse after speaking positively on 'Question Time' about immigrant workers: 'When people say ridiculous, untrue and hurtful things, then I think you should call them out'
tech
Life and Style
Most mail-order brides are thought to come from Thailand, the Philippines and Romania
life
News
i100
Life and Style
tech
Voices
Margaret Thatcher, with her director of publicity Sir Gordon Reece, who helped her and the Tory Party to victory in 1979
voicesThe subject is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for former PR man DJ Taylor
  • Get to the point
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

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions