Transport Chaos As Southern Rail And Tube Strikes Go Ahead

Clapham Junction evacuated due to overcrowding

Southern trains and local tube services have now been hit by industrial action due to continue until mid week.

Station and revenue tube staff from the RMT and TSSA unions voted to strike on Monday 9 January. In addition Southern Rail staff are strking on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday of this week.

Clapham Junction station was evacuated this morning (January 9th) due to overcrowding, with Southern Rail trains not stopping at the platforms. The station has now reopened and normal services have resumed.

There were some District Line trains running at Wimbledon station, where a queuing system was put in place. Local Northern Line stations were reported to be closed.

Over 3,000 RMT tube station staff members were balloted for action over reduction in the number of staff working in tube stations and the closure of tube ticket offices. The union says these measures have compromised safety. Over 85% voted for strike action and 94% for action short of a strike.

Mick Cash, RMT General Secretary, said: "With the constant overcrowding on stations and platforms it is only a matter of time before there is a major tragedy if we don’t act decisively. Our dispute is about taking action to haul back the cuts machine and put safety back at the top of the agenda."

TSSA members working in tube stations are currently refusing to work overtime as they take action short of strike. They claim there has been an increase in abuse of staff since the job cuts initiated under Boris Johnson came into effect.

TSSA General Secretary, Manuel Cortes, said: "Whilst Talks at ACAS have seen LU concede they do need to re-employ more staff on our tube, they are so far unwilling to give the assurance that they will restore adequately safe-staffing levels to make our Tube safe again."

"Our members are fed-up of being made scapegoats for passenger frustrations with the new - and failing - ticket-vending machines. They are fed-up of being pressured into overtime to try to cover-up the misguided decision to cull over 800 jobs, and fed-up of being fearful at work because of the systemic failure of LU to adhere to safety guidelines set in the wake of the King's Cross Fire which killed 31 people."

Brian Woodhead, London Underground operations director, said: "We have always committed to reviewing our new staffing model with the trade unions during its first year. We are recruiting additional staff for stations and believe this will help us to provide a better service.  

“We will continue working with the unions, as well as implementing recommendations made by the London TravelWatch review, to ensure our customers feel safe, fully supported and able to access the right assistance at all times.”

There are also strikes planned on Southern Rail services from tomorrow (January 10th). ASLEF has announced a reduction of the industrial action this week from six days to three, although further strikes are planned for the end of the month (see below). Services will also be disrupted for the rest of the week due to an overtime ban.

Southern Rail drivers are striking over the proposed introduction of driver-only operated trains which they says affects passenger safety. ASLEF's general secretary Mick Whelan said, "We understand that passengers, paying inflated fares for a service that was crap before any action was taken, are naturally upset...but we are receiving far more messages of support and 73% of the public want a guard on very train."

The new dates for the Southern Rail drivers’ strikes are:

Tuesday 10 January
Wednesday 11 January
Friday 13 January

Further strikes have been announced for:

Tuesday 24 January
Wednesday 25 January
Friday 27 January

January 9, 2017