The row over proposed job cuts on the London Underground is likely to cause travel misery today for thousands of commuters as workers walk out on a 24-hour strike. The industrial action began at 7pm last night as maintenance workers downed their tools. They were followed at 9pm by operational staff. In total, around 11,000 members of the Rail Maritime and Transport union and the Transport Salaried Staffs' Association are due to join the action.
Unions are claiming that a proposed cut of 800 jobs across the network will leave many stations inadequately staffed and could affect passenger safety. Transport for London claims the job losses will not result in any worker facing compulsory redundancy. According to a TfL spokesman the proposed changes have been made in response to customer demand. He added that workers would be redeployed to areas on the network where they were most needed.
A Commons motion has been tabled by John McDonnell, Labour MP for Hayes and Harlington, supporting the unions for their reaction to the proposed cuts. The motion has been backed by a number of other MPs who believe the job losses will be detrimental to passenger safety.
Bob Crow, general secretary of the RMT union, said the current industrial action could have been easily avoided if the London mayor had stuck to his election promise that London Underground stations would be properly staffed.
While issuing an apology to those being affected by the strike, Boris Johnson said there had to be reforms made to ticket offices on the network.