Unions to begin third Tube strike

Millions of passengers will face more misery on the Tube today when two transport unions begin another 24-hour strike on the London Underground (LU).

The strike, the third by the TSSA and RMT transport unions, is in protest over job cuts for 650 ticket office staff and 150 station managers.

Services will begin to be affected from around 7pm tonight, with Transport for London (TfL) saying that services will not return to normal until Thursday morning.

TfL said: "We'll run as many Tube services as we can, but some lines will have a restricted service and some stations will be closed."

Extra bus and river services are being laid on to get Londoners to and from work, while planned roadworks are being delayed or curtailed where possible.

TfL has said that LU was able to operate 40% of its services during the last strike day on October 3.

A fourth stoppage is planned for November 29.

London Mayor Boris Johnson said: "Londoners have shown that they will not be deterred from their daily business by these pointless strikes.

"The action of the union leaderships may cause some inconvenience but we are determined to keep the capital moving by providing a plethora of alternatives so that people can get around.

"Whether by bus, boat or bike, when Londoners beat the strike for a third time I hope the RMT and TSSA leaderships will face facts and see that their action achieves nothing aside from depriving their members of another day's pay."

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said today: "All we have been asking is that the London Mayor stick to the pledge he made during his election campaign, when he too recognised that people wanted to see stations staffed properly. The message is simple: suspend these cuts and we will suspend our action.

"Only last week Tube workers were commended by the inquest into the July 7 bombings for their selfless actions in rescuing victims, yet among them are the very grades that the Mayor is now intent on cutting.

"Far from keeping his word, the Mayor now has more than 2,000 Tube jobs in his sights. He now has a choice. He can either be remembered for devastating Tube safety and the fabric of the network or he can work with us to defend it."

TSSA leader Gerry Doherty said: "Boris has broken his word to Londoners on delivering a world-class Tube in time for the Olympics in 20 months' time.

"He has also broken his word on keeping full-staffed ticket offices open. Instead of trying to impress the Tory shires with his anti-trade union rhetoric, he should be sitting down with us to work out a fair solution to this dispute which no one wants."