London commuters hit by Underground train strike

4th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

Millions of commuters in London face travel chaos Monday as the latest 24-hour strike on the Underground train network causes major disruption to the city's transport system.

The second walkout in a dispute between unions and the Underground operator over proposed job cuts will force Londoners to cycle, walk or take their cars to make it into work.

About 3.5 million Underground journeys are made on a normal weekday.

Activists began mounting picket lines outside Underground stations late Sunday as the strike got under way at 7:00 pm (1800 GMT).

The Rail Maritime and Transport (RMT) union and the Transport Salaried Staffs Association (TSSA) are striking over the planned axing of 800 jobs, mostly in ticket offices.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson hit out at the strikers Monday, saying the walkout was a political attack as it coincided with the annual conference of the Conservative party, which holds power as part of a coalition government.

"This is a nakedly political strike," the Conservative mayor wrote in the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

"We cannot reward the bad behaviour of militants whose objectives are plainly nothing to do with the terms and conditions of their members, and everything to do with a political attack on the coalition government," he added.

Bob Crow, RMT general secretary, urged Johnson to stop his "posturing" and help negotiations over the job cuts to resume in a bid to break the deadlock.

The first strike took place at the start of September, and two further walkouts are planned for November if the dispute remains unsolved.

© 2010 AFP

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