Tube strike 2014: Embattled RMT insists next wave of strike action is ‘on’ amid fresh row over effectiveness of walkout

Rail, Marine and Transport Union accuses Boris Johnson of orchestrating a ‘personal crusade’ for Tory party leadership in bid to defy the union
  • @TomEPPayne

The Rail, Marine and Transport Union (RMT) has insisted that next week’s planned 72-hour tube strike will go ahead – despite questions about the effectiveness of this week's walkout.

Speaking to The Independent this morning, a spokesman for the union said “the strike is on” and accused those against the strike of “propagating everything London Underground tells them.”

Mike Brown, managing director of London Underground, said that 15 per cent more staff worked on Tuesday than during the previous strike. Staff numbers have been bolstered because members of the TSSA union aren’t taking part in this month’s strikes, although they did in February.

In a strongly-worded statement on their website this morning, the RMT accused Boris Johnson of using Londoners as “pawns in his personal crusade for the leadership of the Tory Party”.

However, although large crowds built up at stations and buses were crammed, it is understood that nearly 90 per cent of the usual number of Oyster cards were used in London on Tuesday.

And on Wednesday morning, London Underground said it was running services on all eleven lines – a first for strike day, according to chief operating officer Phil Hufton.

Heathrow Express also announced that it was ferrying its usual daily volume of 17,000 passengers between the airport and central London in spite of the strike.

This week’s strike has also described as less effective than February’s walkout, which brought similar scenes of chaos and disruption to the capital.

 The statistics have been described by the Conservative’s Bob Neill as a “big wake-up call” for the union.

“The RMT, who have been used to trying to hold London to ransom for a long time, don’t have the clout they used to think they have,” Mr Neill told MailOnline.

 “Londoners have voted with their feet and their Oysters cards and that’s a big wake-up call for the RMT.”

Mayor Boris Johnson this morning told BBC Radio: “We've got to get through this. We cannot allow ourselves to be defeated.”

If next week’s strike action goes ahead, the RMT will stage a walkout – this time for 72 hours – from 9pm on Monday 5 May.