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Tube strike brings chaos to Islington

PUBLISHED: 20:16 07 September 2010 | UPDATED: 11:10 14 October 2010

ISLINGTON was thrown into chaos as thousands of Tube staff walked out in a 24-hour strike. Up to 10,000 Tube staff – half the 20,000-strong workforce - stopped working yesterday evening, leaving commuters struggling to get to and from work today (Tuesday)

ISLINGTON was thrown into chaos as thousands of Tube staff walked out in a 24-hour strike.

Up to 10,000 Tube staff - half the 20,000-strong workforce - stopped working yesterday evening, leaving commuters struggling to get to and from work today (Tuesday).

While the Northern line was running, parts of the Victoria and Piccadilly lines were suspended and several stations - including Angel and Barbican - were closed.

Buses were so full that people could not get on, and major thoroughfares such as Essex Road and Upper Street were gridlocked.

A worker at Brian Bush newsagent's kiosk, outside Angel station, said: "It's madness everywhere you go. It always is when there's a strike - that's why they do it.

"They reckon it will cost the London economy £50m. We've been down about £400 on normal already today.

"We're going to have this for the next four months until Christmas."

Commuter Thomas Black, 27, added: "I got to the bus stop at Tufnell Park this morning and there were lots of glum faces. Around 20 to 30 people were waiting for buses in Junction Road. When they came, nobody could get on. Everybody would run to the bus doors but to no avail."

The strike, organised by trade unions RMT and TSSA, which have 8,500 and 1,800 London Underground members respectively, was the first of four between now and the end of November.

The unions have called the strikes as part of their battle against London Underground's plans to axe 800 jobs. Most of the posts that would go are ticket office staff, while some are administrative and managerial positions.

In Islington, there are drastic plans to cut ticket office opening hours.

The plans include closing the ticket office at Arsenal station at 2pm instead of 6.45pm on Saturdays, closing the ticket office at Caledonian Road station at 4.45pm instead of 8.30pm on Saturdays and closing the ticket office at Holloway Road at 5.30pm instead of 9pm on Sundays.

The unions claim that the staffing cuts would make London's stations less safe.

They claim that major disaster was recently averted at Euston when station staff spotted smoke coming from an escalator - the fire detection system had failed - and that lives were potentially saved at Moorgate when a member of station staff apprehended a man with a Samurai sword and two loaded guns.

RMT general secretary Bob Crow said: "We have laid out the clearest possible evidence to the Mayor of London and his officials that if he slashes station staffing numbers, he will be giving the green light to disaster.

"That's what RMT and TSSA are striking over - the whole future of a safe tube system is now on the block."

London Underground claims that the cuts will not affect safety on the Tube - and that they make financial sense because so few people now buy tickets from stations. Overall, sales from ticket offices are down 28 per cent over the last four years.

Mike Brown, the managing director of London Underground, said: "The RMT and TSSA leaderships have chosen to disrupt Londoners for no good reason. The safety argument they now deploy is completely without foundation. It is simple scaremongering designed to mask their wish to strike.

"The staffing changes we are making come with no compulsory redundancies, every station that currently has a ticket office will retain one, and every station will remain staffed at all times.


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