This week, Tube workers in London will be striking for 48 hours, in protest of planned ticket office closures which will result in the loss of up to 950 jobs. Read more about the strike here.
We asked Voices readers what they thought about the planned closures, here's what they had to say:
Last August at Baker Street station, I wanted to add some credit to my Oyster card. Unfamiliar with the ticket machines and unwilling to delay others, I joined the queue for the ticket office. There were two tourists ahead of me, both with minimal spoken English. Eventually the patient and courteous man in the ticket office discovered the error, and rectified the matter. Who is so deluded that they think a bank of machines and more retail outlets will ever replace this kind of service, the idea that has provoked the current dispute with the RMT union? Such expertise and understanding cannot be quantified, and are of immense benefit to London’s image as a tourist-friendly city.
S Lawton, wrote into The Independent
Sometimes you want to speak to a human and not a machine. Especially if you are a tourist as figuring out London travel is complicated enough.
Sam Fletcher, via the i paper's Facebook page
The Workers have a point. What's more they are well within their rights to strike. One would hope other unions learn by example
@RobertReims, via Twitter
Not having the tube affects me a lot less than not having a job affects a tube worker.
@Kthelastman, via Twitter
As for wages; underground staff are very well paid and have one of the best pensions anywhere. Bob Crowe is an old school Union man who rejects any modernisation while sitting in his office counting his £100,000+ salary. There will still be staff on stations, but no ticket offices manned by offish and in the main un-helpful staff who either moan about you using a debit card or not having the right change.
Neil Collins, via the i paper's Facebook page
I've generally been opposed to striking but I fully support the action being taken over ticket office closures. When I worked as a CSA (Customer Service Assistant) I dealt with dozens of problems daily which could only be resolved by our ticket office. Issues such as faulty Oyster cards, incorrect tickets purchased at a machine, in-depth queries re tickets & fares, ticket machines not accepting damaged notes etc etc. All of these are issues which are currently solved via a quick visit to a ticket office but which can become a major problem if there's no office open.
When I joined London Underground myself and others were told our comparatively high levels of staffing were the number one advantage our metro service had over any other. The removal of ticket office staff from their customer facing roles is a huge mistake which flies in the face of the values LUL used to hold so high. It will result in customers receiving a less convenient service and possibly even a less safe one.
Jon Biles, former Tube worker, via Independent Voices
Politicians claim the strikers are causing trouble to many London families. Surely if they are so concerned about families in London they wont be making 950 people unemployed?!
Kimberly Wagstaff, via The Independent's Facebook page
If there are going to be no compulsory redundancies and the stations will still be staffed (with staff outside the ticket office rather than inside) which is what TFL are proposing then I don't see any reason to strike. Most people use oyster, there will be machines and staff on hand to help you use them, so there is no need for a dedicated ticket office nowadays
James Hardy, via the i paper's Facebook page
Given that Johnson ran twice saying there would be a ticket office open in every station then they are right.
Ashley Harmston, via the i paper's Facebook page
When negotiations fail a strike is the last ditch attempt to fight for rights and conditions. Strikes are inconvenient but I fully support them. People fought hard in generations past to set up unions to ensure workers' rights were respected and we've seen unions battered and broken since Thatcher.
Does Boris not give a monkey's backside about safety concerns, not to mention the jobs that will be lost if these plans go ahead?
Suzanna Bosworth, via the i paper's Facebook page