LONDON: London Underground staff have launched a 24-hour strike that threatens to make for a painful Monday commute in the British capital, after talks broke down in a long-running dispute over job losses.
|A sign displaying tube strike information is displayed near the entrance of Leicester Square underground station in central London. (AFP/Justin TALLIS)|
The walk out started at 6.00pm on Sunday (2.00am Singapore time Monday) and sees the majority of stations within central London shut, while underground services were expected to be severely reduced across the network.
Riders take up to 4.8 million trips on the tube network every day and the strike will put huge pressure on other means of transport such as the bus and rail network.
Transport for London (TFL), the local government body responsible for the transport system in the capital, said normal services were expected to resume by Tuesday morning.
Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union decided to go ahead with the walk-out after failing to reach an agreement over the closure of ticket offices and staffing reductions.
The RMT said nearly 900 jobs have been axed and promises by London Underground for new hires did not go far enough.
"London Underground has not put forward acceptable proposals to address the staffing and safety issues," RMT general secretary Mick Cash said in a message to union members.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan called for the cancellation of the strike, the latest in a series of walk outs since 2014 over the dispute.
"This strike is going to be a huge inconvenience to commuters, tourists and TfL staff. There is already a good deal that will ensure station safety and staffing levels across the tube network," he said in a Facebook post.