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Fresh strike cripples Tube services

London Underground services have been crippled because of a strike by workers in protest at job cuts, causing misery for commuters and other travellers.

All 11 of the capital's Tube lines were hit by the walkout, the latest in a wave of industrial unrest causing increasing concern among business groups and politicians in the capital.

Transport for London said more than 40% of Tube trains were operating on Wednesday morning, despite the strike by thousands of members of the Rail Maritime and Transport union and the Transport Salaried Staffs Association.

But the unions said disruption to services was worse than during two previous strikes, claiming that LU was running "ghost trains" through closed stations.

RMT leader Bob Crow said: "All the reports from the front line are that the action over safe Tube staffing levels is rock solid the length and breadth of the system, as our members send out the clearest possible message to the mayor to call a halt to the cuts before there's a major disaster.

"TfL have been reduced to running ghost trains through closed stations and once again we have evidence of breaches of safety regulations with untrained staff left in charge of stations without adequate safety training. That is a desperate gamble with passengers' safety simply to prop up London Underground's PR effort.

"This strike is about Tube safety and safe staffing levels. We have had a clear choice - accept the cuts and wait for a disaster or stand up and fight for a safe and secure Tube system. Our members have shown their determination to fight and we call again for TfL and the mayor to halt the cuts and open meaningful talks that end the crisis management on the London Underground."

Picket lines were mounted at more than 100 stations and depots, with the unions warning that a fourth strike will go ahead at the end of the month unless the row over jobs is resolved.

Despite the strike, the conciliation service Acas announced that fresh talks will be held on Thursday in a bid to resolve the dispute.

The unions are protesting at plans to axe 800 mainly ticket office jobs, although they claim the number is set to rise to almost 2,000.

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