Londoners face tube strike chaos as underground worker pictured 'sleeping' at desk

by 05/02/2014 09:43:00 0 comments 1231 Views
  • Bob Crow was sunning himself on the beach in Rio last week as he prepared to take workers out on strike
  • The firebrand was called a 'dinosaur' by Jeremy Paxman on Newsnight but replied 'they was around for a long while'
  • Skeleton London Underground service operating on most lines - but millions have faced disruption
  • David Cameron 'unreservedly condemns' the strike action - and tells Ed Miliband to do the same
  • Two-day strike is expected to cost the economy tens of millions of pounds... and it will be repeated next week
  • Boris Johnson said closing ticket offices and bringing in new technology will save 'hundreds of millions of pounds'

By Rob Cooper

PUBLISHED: 08:33 GMT, 5 February 2014 | UPDATED: 13:43 GMT, 5 February 2014

Boris Johnson got the Underground to work this morning in a show of defiance as a two-day Tube strike ordered by firebrand Bob Crow failed to bring London to a standstill.

As staff walked out in a row over 950 proposed ticket office job losses, a picture emerged of a sleepy-looking worker apparently dozing on the job in a control room at Paddington Station.

The image appeared on Twitter today and - although it is unclear when it was taken - it will enrage commuters who faced extra-long journeys to their offices as a result of the industrial action. A spokesman for Transport for London said an investigation is underway.

Mr Crow - who has a bronze tan after sunning himself on the beach in Rio last week - was criticised by Downing Street this morning for pressing ahead with the strike and heaping misery on families.

David Cameron 'unreservedly condemned' the strike action during Prime Minister's Questions today, and told Ed Miliband he should do the same.

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'Asleep on the job': A London Underground ticket office worker appears to be sleeping in her chair as she relaxes at Paddington station. Today Underground workers walked out on strike over proposals to axe 950 ticket office jobs

'Asleep on the job': A London Underground ticket office worker appears to be sleeping in her chair as she relaxes at Paddington station. Today Underground workers walked out on strike over proposals to axe 950 ticket office jobs

Overcrowding: Chaos at Stratford Underground Station this morning as commuters arrived in the capital on overground services. People were forced to get buses and wait for irregular Tube services

Overcrowding: Chaos at Stratford Underground Station this morning as commuters arrived in the capital on overground services. People were forced to get buses and wait for irregular Tube services

Strike beaters: Boris Johnson, the London mayor, gets the Tube to work this morning as Transport for London put on a limited Underground service. The Tory mayor, who has condemned the industrial action, is seen here on a train at King's Cross

Strike beaters: Boris Johnson, the London mayor, gets the Tube to work this morning as Transport for London put on a limited Underground service. The Tory mayor, who has condemned the industrial action, is seen here on a train at King's Cross

Strike action: Boris Johnson meets commuters and staff at London Bridge station this morning on his way to work as industrial action brought the tube network to a standstill

Strike action: Boris Johnson meets commuters and staff at London Bridge station this morning on his way to work as industrial action brought the tube network to a standstill

Crush: An Underground passenger, using his iPad, his crushed up against the door on one of the few Tube services that was running in London oday

Crush: An Underground passenger, using his iPad, his crushed up against the door on one of the few Tube services that was running in London oday

Queue: Commuters wait for tube trains at London Bridge Underground station this morning as the start of 48 hours of industrial action caused widespread disruption across the capital

Crush: Hundreds of people try and get on Jubilee line trains at London Waterloo this morning where a limited service was running

Crush: Hundreds of people try and get on Jubilee line trains at London Waterloo this morning where a limited service was running

Disruption: Huge crowds gathered at the Underground stations that are open across London this morning as a 48-hour tube strike got underway

Disruption: Huge crowds gathered at the Underground stations that are open across London this morning as a 48-hour tube strike got underway

Travel chaos: Hundreds of commuters queue outside the underground station at London Waterloo hoping to get on one of the few tube trains that are running as normal

Travel chaos: Hundreds of commuters queue outside the underground station at London Waterloo hoping to get on one of the few tube trains that are running as normal

Travel chaos: Commuters queue outside the underground station as a tube strike over ticket office closures caused chaos across London

Travel chaos: Commuters queue outside the underground station as a tube strike over ticket office closures caused chaos across London

Strike action: Bob Crow is seen at his union headquarters in London today as the capital is brought to a standstill by industrial action

Bronze Bob: Fresh from sunning himself on a beach in Rio, union leader Bob Crow took London underground workers out on strike today - causing travel chaos for millions of people

BBC 'PRO UNDERGROUND STRIKE'

The BBC appeared to back the Tube strike this morning by only featuring passengers who said they understood why Underground workers were not in work in coverage of the walk out.

Despite thousands of Londoners taking to Twitter to complain about disruption to their journeys because of the tube strike, passengers interviewed by the Corporation all favoured the strikes.

Three tube passengers were interviewed by the broadcaster at Euston station, with their views broadcast in Radio 4's News Bulletin at 5.30am today.

None said they would be adversely affected by the limited service, which has left many unhappy Underground commuters seeking alternative travel arrangements - walking miles to get to work or cramming onto packed buses.

Two of the three interviewed said they understood Rail, Maritime and Transport union boss Bob Crow's reasons for calling the 48 hour strike, while the other said she was not bothered about the walk out.

'Look, fair play to them,' one of those interviewed by the BBC last night said.

'They're not getting paid enough - if they want to strike, let them strike.'

He was branded a 'dinosaur' by Jeremy Paxman on the BBC's Newsnight but, faced with the accusation, he replied: 'At the end of the day, they [the dinosaurs] was around for a long while.'

Although many Underground train stations are closed, a skeleton service is operating on most lines enabling many commuters - including London Mayor Mr Johnson - to get the Tube to work as normal.

Thousands more avoided central London altogether by taking the day off or working from home.

Services were hit last night immediately after the two-day strike over 950 ticket office job losses started at 9.30pm. Train passengers were also having problems because of a return to the wet and windy weather which has devastated travel across the UK.

Southeastern trains said the forecast weather, after the wettest January for a century, presented a risk of further flooding, landslips and falling trees. Network Rail put in place a 40mph speed restriction across parts of the Southeastern network.

Commuters this morning condemned the industrial action amid confusion about what train services were still running.

Pregnant Alison Randall, 32, who works in HR and lives in Croydon in south London said: 'I'm supposed to be in Canary Wharf and don't know how I'm going to get there.

'I'm seven months pregnant so I don't want to be walking long distances or wait half an hour to get onto a packed tube train. And there are no buses running to Canary Wharf.

'The only people who lose out because of this strike are ordinary commuters.

'The London Underground doesn't care because they still have our money because we all buy season tickets. And the strike is not going to make any difference anyway.'

@AngryBritain tweeted: 'Not really sure how striking by human beings in protest over being replaced by machines who are still working is a winning idea?'

Crowds gathered round Waterloo Station and scrambled to take buses. But some commuters said there was a shortage of replacement services.

@mattnicholls tweeted: 'Not much sign of these fabled "extra buses" in Camden this morning. Waited 20mins for a 168 that was - predictably - full.'

Jo-Ann Robertson added: 'After queuing for 30 minutes I am now on the bus. I don't understand why Bob Crow thinks that striking is going to move things forward.'

London's mayor Boris Johnson called the strike 'pointless' and said that bringing in automatic tube payments to replace ticket offices will save 'hundreds of millions of pounds'. 

CHAOS ON THE UNDERGROUND: TUBE STATIONS CLOSED AND A SKELETON SERVICE IN OPERATION DURING STRIKE

A 48-hour tube strike got underway last night - and although a skeleton service is in operation most services are cancelled. Many stations are closed altogether, with occasional services on most lines.

Bakerloo - Trains from Queen's Park to Elephant & Castle. Not stopping at Edgware Road, Embankment, Kilburn Park, Lambeth North, Maida Vale, Piccadilly Circus or Regent's Park stations

Central - No service through the central area. Trains from Epping to Leytonstone, and West Ruislip to White City

District - Trains from Upminster to Wimbledon every eight minutes, and Ealing Broadway to High St Kensington every 20 minutes. Not stopping at Aldgate East, Becontree, Blackfriars, Bromley-by-Bow, Dagenham East, Dagenham Heathway, East Ham, Elm Park, Gloucester Rd, Hornchurch, Plaistow, Sloane Sq, Stepney Green, Temple, Upminster Bridge, Upney or Upton Park

Hammersmith & City and Circle - Trains Hammersmith to Moorgate. Not stopping Barbican, Euston Square and Great Portland Street

Jubilee - Trains Stanmore to Finchley Road, and Waterloo to Stratford. Not stopping Bermondsey and Southwark

Metropolitan - Trains Harrow-on-the-Hill to Aldgate. Not stopping Barbican, Euston Square, Great Portland St, Northwick Park and Preston Rd

Northern - Trains over the whole line (except to Mill Hill East) via Bank and Charing Cross branches. Not stopping at Borough, Chalk Farm, Clapham North and South, Colliers Wood, Embankment, Goodge St, Hampstead, Highgate, Leicester Sq, Mornington Crescent, Old Street, Oval, South Wimbledon, Tooting Bec, Tufnell Park and Warren Street.

Piccadilly - No service through the central area. Trains Acton Town to Heathrow Terminals 1-3 and Arnos Grove to Cockfosters. Trains not stopping at Heathrow Terminal 4 or Southgate

Victoria - Trains Seven Sisters to Victoria, not stopping Warren Street

Waterloo & City - No service

Travel chaos: Commuters try and cram onto a bus outside Angel Underground station this morning as the tube was largely shutdown by strike action

Travel chaos: Commuters try and cram onto a bus outside Angel Underground station this morning as the tube was largely shutdown by strike action Standoff: A woman stands in front of a bus to Trafalgar Square in Cannon Street this morning protesting she will lose her job if she can't get on. The bus - which was packed at 6.30am this morning - eventually drove off

Standoff: A woman stands in front of a bus to Trafalgar Square in Cannon Street this morning protesting she will lose her job if she can't get on. The bus - which was packed at 6.30am this morning - eventually drove off

Rush hour chaos: Commuters leave London Waterloo this morning facing disrupted journeys to work because of industrial action. Workers walked out in a dispute over 950 ticket office job losses

Rush hour chaos: Commuters leave London Waterloo this morning facing disrupted journeys to work because of industrial action. Workers walked out in a dispute over 950 ticket office job losses

Waterloo crush: The busy concourse at London Waterloo station this morning on the first full day of the Underground strike

Waterloo crush: The busy concourse at London Waterloo station this morning on the first full day of the Underground strike

Long wait: Commuters look out for the next bus to arrive outside London Waterloo train station this morning at the start of an Underground strike

Long wait: Commuters look out for the next bus to arrive outside London Waterloo train station this morning at the start of an Underground strike

Bus queue: Commuters at London Waterloo station wait for buses this morning. Many people reported the services were overcrowded and there were not enough of them

Bus queue: Commuters at London Waterloo station wait for buses this morning. Many people reported the services were overcrowded and there were not enough of them

Disruption: People wait for buses at London Waterloo this morning as the tube strike delayed journeys to work

Disruption: People wait for buses at London Waterloo this morning as the tube strike delayed journeys to work

Busy: Commuters walk across London Bridge this morning. Rather than wait for the Tube, many people walked to work this morning after getting off overground services

Busy: Commuters walk across London Bridge this morning. Rather than wait for the Tube, many people walked to work this morning after getting off overground services

Bus queue: Commuters at London Bridge wait for buses today as a 48-hour strike brought the Tube network to a near standstill. London Overground services were running as normal

Bus queue: Commuters at London Bridge wait for buses today as a 48-hour strike brought the Tube network to a near standstill. London Overground services were running as normal

Bus queue: People wait for public transport at London Victoria this morning as the two-day Underground strike begins. It will be repeated next week

Bus queue: People wait for public transport at London Victoria this morning as the two-day Underground strike begins. It will be repeated next week

Closure: Westminster Tube station which was one of the many closed stations on the Underground network because of industrial action

Closure: Westminster Tube station which was one of the many closed stations on the Underground network because of industrial action

Shutdown: A Tube train lies empty with the lights switched off on the platform at Oxford Circus today during the Underground strike

Shutdown: A Tube train lies empty with the lights switched off on the platform at Oxford Circus today during the Underground strike

Tube shutdown: Two passengers wait on an empty platform at Westminster underground station for limited train service as underground train workers go on a 48-hour strike over planned closure of ticket offices and job cuts

Tube shutdown: Two passengers wait on an empty platform at Westminster underground station for limited train service as underground train workers go on a 48-hour strike over planned closure of ticket offices and job cuts

Closure: The entrance to the Central Line is shut at Oxford Circus today because of industrial action

Closure: The entrance to the Central Line is shut at Oxford Circus today because of industrial action

Queue: People try to board a bus outside London Victoria station this morning

Queue: People try to board a bus outside London Victoria station this morning

Very British queue: People make an orderly line outside London Waterloo as they wait for taxis this morning at the start of a two-day strike

Very British queue: People make an orderly line outside London Waterloo as they wait for taxis this morning at the start of a two-day strike

Cab queue: People wait for taxis outside Marylebone station in west London this morning at 7.30am as the two-day tube strike gets underway. The disruption will be repeated next week with another strike

Cab queue: People wait for taxis outside Marylebone station in west London this morning at 7.30am as the two-day tube strike gets underway. The disruption will be repeated next week with another strike

Queues: Traffic on the North Circular in Woodford, north east London, this morning as people who normally travel to work by rail got into their cars because of the Underground strike

Queues: Traffic on the North Circular in Woodford, north east London, this morning as people who normally travel to work by rail got into their cars because of the Underground strike

'We need to modernise and automate the tube. We need to take advantage of new technology that fives people the option of automatic payment systems that will enable us to save hundreds of millions of pounds,' he said.

'We can put that into new track, new signalling and to allow, for instance, to run trains 24 hours.'

David Cameron 'unreservedly condemned' today's Tube strike in the Commons and said there was no reason for Tube workers to be taking part in the strike.

He said: 'We need a modernised Tube line working for the millions of Londoners who use it every day.

'The fact is only 3 per cent of transactions now involve ticket offices to it makes sense to have fewer people in those offices but more people on the platforms and the stations.

'So I unreservedly condemn this strike. When the shadow defence minister (Vernon Coaker) was asked to do so today, he actually said it was a matter for the union.

'I hope when the Leader of the Opposition gets up, he will unreservedly condemn this strike today.'

Mr Miliband made no mention of the strike during his questions despite noisy calls for him to do so throughout the session.

After Mr Miliband completed his questions, Mr Cameron added: 'Isn't it interesting that with six questions and an invitation to condemn the strike today, not a word?'

He asked: 'London is a 24/7 global city and the commercial centre of the western world. With the economy growing and unemployment falling, will you agree the efforts of the RMT union to bring London to a halt through the Tube strike is nothing short of economic vandalism?'

Bob Crow, leader of the RMT, used an analogy involving chimney sweeps to explain they were not anti-modernisation.

'We don't go round saying because central heating is coming in we still need chimney sweeps because houses are being built without chimneys,' he said on Newsnight.

'So what do you do with them? You turn the chimney sweeps into central heating engineers and that is what we are saying about London Underground.'

During the interview, he added: 'Technology is coming in and we want to sit down the the company (Transport for London) and agree how this is being applied.

'What we want to do is sit round a table, not to be told that workers of 25 or 30 years are out of the job. These people  were heroes by the way when the terror attacks took place in London.

'Surely you don't just come out and say with three months notice we are going to get rid of these jobs.' 

Disruption: Hundreds queue outside Waterloo Underground Station before 7am this morning when a limited tube service was due to get started

Disruption: Hundreds queue outside Waterloo Underground Station before 7am this morning when a limited tube service was due to get started

Defiance: Some Underground workers went to work as normal today in defiance of Bob Crow's call for action over ticket office closures

Defiance: Some Underground workers went to work as normal today in defiance of Bob Crow's call for action over ticket office closures

Bob Crow and Manuel Cortes, leaders of the RMT and TSSA unions, have accused the mayor of refusing to meet them to discuss the ticket office closures.

As the row raged, commuters and other passengers faced travel misery until services return to normal on Friday.

Another 48-hour strike is planned from 9pm next Tuesday.

Business groups warned the strikes will cost London's economy tens of millions of pounds.

London Overground trains became so crowded that passengers were unable to board them at stations in north-west London.

To add to the chaos a packed Overground train at North Wembley was delayed after a passenger pulled an emergency cord.

Disruption: Workers get onto an Underground train this morning on a crowded platform. Some services are operating as normal - but most are cancelled altogether because of the strike

Disruption: Workers get onto an Underground train this morning on a crowded platform. Some services are operating as normal - but most are cancelled altogether because of the strike

Disruption: Commuters wait for the underground station to open this morning as tube workers went out on strike. A reduced service was operating - but it was starting later than normal

Disruption: Commuters wait for the underground station to open this morning as tube workers went out on strike. A reduced service was operating - but it was starting later than normal

Mr Crow said: 'As we expected the action is rock solid this morning and has reduced the network to a skeleton service with only a few ghost trains running through closed stations.

'That is simply a reflection of the staff anger at attempts to bulldoze through cuts to jobs, services and safety which would reduce the Tube to a dangerous, hollowed-out shell.

'No one can now question the determination of the Tube workforce in the face of the mayor's cuts plans.

'I am making it clear again this morning that the unions remain available for talks at any time aimed at resolving this dispute and we just hope that offer is taken up.

'We have set out a clear route to move this issue forwards and we await a response from LU.' Get to work: Boris Johnson goes through the gates at King's Cross station to get his tube train to work this morning. A skeleton tube service is in operation today

Get to work: Boris Johnson goes through the gates at King's Cross station to get his tube train to work this morning. A skeleton tube service is in operation today

Tube journey: Boris Johnson poses for a mobile phone photo at King's Cross this morning as he gets the Northern Line to his office

Tube journey: Boris Johnson poses for a mobile phone photo at King's Cross this morning as he gets the Northern Line to his office

Strike breaker: Boris Johnson shakes hands with a London Underground worker who is not out on strike today - despite the two main unions telling their workers not to go in today or tomorrow

Strike breaker: Boris Johnson shakes hands with a London Underground worker who is not out on strike today - despite the two main unions telling their workers not to go in today or tomorrow

Journey to work: Boris Johnson leaves his home on his bicycle this morning and makes his way to an underground station as he goes in to City Hall

Journey to work: Boris Johnson leaves his home on his bicycle this morning and makes his way to an underground station as he goes in to City Hall

Strike action: Boris Johnson condemns the walkouts on Twitter - and posted a picture of himself on his way to work on the Underground

Busy: Waterloo train station at rush hour this morning. Many overground train lines were quieter than normal as commuters worked from home to avoid the disruption

Busy: Waterloo train station at rush hour this morning. Many overground train lines were quieter than normal as commuters worked from home to avoid the disruption

Long bus stand: People wait for buses at London Victoria today after tube strikes brought travel chaos to the capital

Long bus stand: People wait for buses at London Victoria today after tube strikes brought travel chaos to the capital

Bus queue: Commuters board the number 73 service at Victoria train station this morning as a tube strike brought gridlock across London

Bus queue: Commuters board the number 73 service at Victoria train station this morning as a tube strike brought gridlock across London

Closed: People wait to get into the underground station at Victoria as a limited tube service got underway at 7am

Closed: People wait to get into the underground station at Victoria as a limited tube service got underway at 7am

Queue: Commuters go through the gates at Victoria to get on one of the few tube services that was running despite the strike action

Queue: Commuters go through the gates at Victoria to get on one of the few tube services that was running despite the strike action

Long journeys: Crowds of commuters walk across London Bridge this morning. Many people were walking from mainline stations to work because of the disruption

Long journeys: Crowds of commuters walk across London Bridge this morning. Many people were walking from mainline stations to work because of the disruption

Bus queue: Commuters wait for buses at London Victoria outside the tube station today

Bus queue: Commuters wait for buses at London Victoria outside the tube station today

Mr Cortes said fewer than a third of normal Tube trains were running during this morning's rush hour with 'overwhelming' support for the action from his members.

He called on the mayor to enter into immediate peace talks and end 'government by gimmick' in the capital.

'All we have is a fringe service in the outer suburbs with virtually the whole of central London dependent on a skeleton service. Over 70% of the normal service is at a standstill.

'It is now time to end government by gimmick and for Boris to enter serious talks.

'His so-called army of volunteers has turned out to be a phantom army as the scores of closed stations illustrate only too clearly.

'Londoners and the travelling public deserve better than this. We remain ready to talk immediately, any time, anywhere.'

The TSSA union said LU's so-called army of volunteers failed to show up, leaving police officers to control crowds outside Tube stations.

The union said 26 police officers were on duty outside Brixton station and more than a dozen in Stratford, controlling crowds and re-directing passengers to buses.

Mr Cortes added: 'Boris Johnson should be charged with wasting police time. Last week, he claimed he had a 1,000-strong army of volunteers who would keep the capital moving.

'Well, they proved to be a phantom army. Just like his pledge to keep all Tube ticket offices open, this turns out to be another inoperative statement.

Shutdown: Crowds of commuters gather outside Stratford Underground station this morning at the start of a two-day strike

Shutdown: Crowds of commuters gather outside Stratford Underground station this morning at the start of a two-day strike

Travel chaos: Crowds of people wait for buses this morning in Stratford as the two-day tube strike got underway

Travel chaos: Crowds of people wait for buses this morning in Stratford as the two-day tube strike got underway

Chaos: People wait outside Stratford Underground Station hoping to get on one of the few tube services running

Chaos: People wait outside Stratford Underground Station hoping to get on one of the few tube services running

Strike disruption: Angel tube station in north London is closed today as a two-day strike on the Underground brought travel disruption to millions

Strike disruption: Angel tube station in north London is closed today as a two-day strike on the Underground brought travel disruption to millions

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