Row over weekend night service shuts London Underground
Commuters in Britain’s capital London face yet another day of chaos as staff on busy Underground lines have gone on a 24-hour strike.
All Tube lines paralyzed by the strike which is second in a month over the night service dispute.
The walkout which began from 18-30 BST on Wednesday forced millions of Londoners to run for alternate services such as ferries and buses. Many people preferred to walk down or simply ride bicycles to reach their workplaces.There are reports of hundreds of traffic jams with most congested roads around Parliament Square where delays were close to one hour.
The industrial action brought by transport unions in dispute over introduction of 24-hour train services on weekends from September.
Unions have already rejected an offer made by London Underground (LU) and said they were left with no choice but to go ahead with the strike action.
The LU’s offer included a 2% salary increase this year, plus an extra £200 per night shift for drivers for a limited time and a £500 bonus for night Tube staff. London’s Mayor Boris Johnson described the offer as “generous”.
The offer did not impress the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) that has been seeking guarantees about the number of weekend night shifts drivers and other staff will be forced to work.
“The offer tabled by London Underground is just a rehash of an earlier package and does nothing to tackle the fundamental issue of our members being called into work at the beck and call of management to plug staffing gaps in the mayor’s botched night Tube plans,” Mick Cash, RMT general secretary said
Steve Griffiths, London Underground’s chief operating officer expressed concern over the rejection of what he called “extremely fair offer”. “We have made every effort to reach agreement with the unions and avoid this unnecessary strike action”.
Griffiths also said that the London Underground has volunteers hundreds of people to help citizens and visitors get around during the strike. Around 250 extra buses and more river services are being provided.
The industrial action which, has been joined by four major unions, is to continue until Friday morning. Unions have, however, warned that more strikes could take place unless the dispute over payment and working conditions is resolved.