Belfast Telegraph

Passengers hit by delays during rail and Tube strikes

Rail and Tube passengers have suffered delays and disruption because of two separate strikes in rows over staffing.

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union on Southern Railway and parts of London Underground staged 24-hour walkouts, saying both were "solidly " supported.

Picket lines were mounted outside rail and Tube stations.

The Southern strike was the 29th since a bitter dispute about staffing and the role of conductors broke out last year.

The company said it was planning to run three-quarters of services.

The Tube strike started at 9pm on Tuesday in a row over the displacement of staff.

The action halted the Waterloo and City line and affected the Central line.

Peter McNaught, operations director for the Central line, said: "I apologise to customers for the disruption that this unnecessary strike is causing.

"We have made all reasonable efforts to resolve this dispute through talking through the issues with the unions, and we have minimised the number of employees affected from over 30 to eight.

"All of these moves are within the long-standing agreements we have made with the unions. We call on the RMT to honour this long-standing agreement and join us for more talks to resolve this issue."

Mick Cash, RMT general secretary, said the union had made "strenuous efforts" to resolve the Tube dispute, adding: "The action is rock solid today with the impact severe and widespread, and the blame for that lies firmly at the door of an intransigent LU management that refuses to see sense.

"If LU are allowed to get away with this move on the Central line they will start shunting drivers around at the drop of a hat regardless of the consequences.

"Our members will be sent out from pillar to post to plug gaps that are solely down to staffing shortages. With massive budget cuts in the pipeline at LU this is a straw in the wind as to how the company expects to operate in the future."

Members of the drivers' union Aslef were also on strike on the Tube.

Mr Cash added: "RMT guards members on Southern Rail are standing firm in their action in defence of rail safety despite a vicious campaign of bullying and intimidation by bosses.

"Our members' resilience for nearly a year now is a credit to the entire trade union movement.

"These are local people fighting for safe railways for their local communities. Instead of a campaign of threats and intimidation from the basket-case Southern Rail outfit their professional concerns about the implications of axing a second safety-critical person from the trains should be taken seriously."