A strike by London Underground drivers has brought London’s transport network to a halt.
Overground, DLR, Elizabeth line, buses and trams are running, but are much busier than usual.
Members of the train drivers union Aslefand the RMT working for London Underground have walked out in a dispute over working arrangements and pensions.
Aslef says the action “will bring the network in the capital to a standstill”.
Geolocation technology company TomTom said that at 7am the average time it took to drive 10km (6.2 miles) in London was two minutes longer than what is usual at that time, at 15 minutes and 27 seconds.
There were 387 traffic jams in the capital stretching for a total of 406km (252.3 miles).
Transport for London (TfL) has said that “little or no service is expected on the tube network.”
Disruption will continue into Thursday (16 March), when a national rail strike involving the RMT will impact services across the country.
Tube trains that do run are likely to be more crowded than usual due to the latest round of national rail strikes involving the RMT, which begins on Thursday and continues on 18 and 30 March plus 1 April.
Because of the national rail strike, TfL says: “Some services may be unable to stop at all stations or run to their normal destination.”
RMT union boss Mick Lynch says strikes will continue ‘for as long as it takes’
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch has congratulated London underground staff who have chosen to strike today.
Over 10,000 RMT members, along with members of the train drivers union Aslef, have shut down the capital’s transport network today (15 March) in a dispute over working arrangements, job cuts and pensions.
Workers from across London Underground set up picket lines across most major tube stations, ensuring that the London Underground was completely shutdown.
RMT joins several unions taking strike action today across the economy on a variety of industrial matters, including better pay, good working conditions and job security.
The union wrote to London Mayor Sadiq Khan yesterday outlining how job cuts must be halted and that safety of the traveling public was foremost in tube workers minds.
Mick Lynch said: “I congratulate all our London Underground members who have taken part in this strike action today.
“It shows how determined we are to reach a negotiated settlement to this long running dispute.
“Attacks on pensions, conditions and job losses will not be tolerated and the traveling public needs to understand that understaffed and unstaffed stations are unsafe.
“We will continue our industrial campaign for as long as it takes.”
Joanna Whitehead15 March 2023 09:49
London buses inundated with commuters, while taxi drivers strike gold
According to Transport for London (TfL), the tube handles up to five million passenger journeys a day.
At peak times, there are more than 543 trains whizzing around London.
While many workers across the capital have made plans to work from home, not everyone is so lucky.
Pictures show huge queues of commuters trying to reach their destination on London’s oversubscribed bus services, in the wake of this morning’s strike.
London taxi drivers are also benefiting from the strike, with long queues seen at ranks around the capital.
“Budget day is normally a quiet day for Londons hard pressed cabbies,” wrote one London cabbie.
“But, the London Underground strike will put a smile on their faces!”
Joanna Whitehead15 March 2023 09:21
Further tube strikes ‘very likely’, says union
Aslef district organizer Finn Brennan confirmed that today’s strike is the first time Aslef have taken action across the Underground since 2015.
He stated that 99% of members voted in favor of the strike.
“It is not a strike about pay, it is not a strike looking for more time off,” he said.
“We simply want TfL to commit to negotiate with us about changes instead of trying to impose changes.
“There is a huge hole in TfL’s budget as a result of the pandemic and they want to fill that by cutting staff numbers, cutting working conditions and crucially cutting staff pensions.
“We have always said we are prepared to negotiate change but, quite understandably and quite rightly, our members are not prepared to pay the price for the hole that has been left in TfL’s budget by the Government’s failure to properly fund public transport in London. “
He added that further strikes are “very likely”.
Joanna Whitehead15 March 2023 08:54