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Tube services resume after strike

London Underground services are back to normal after a 24-hour strike closed the entire system, causing travel misery for millions of commuters and holidaymakers.

The walk-out ended last night but no Tubes had run all day, forcing people to take packed buses or boats, switch to bikes or walk.

London Underground (LU) bosses have contacted the conciliation service to help arrange fresh talks over dispute, although any meetings are not expected until next week.

Acas was asked to assist to get the two sides back around the negotiating table to avoid a repeat of the industrial action.

Transport for London (TfL) put on 200 extra buses yesterday, while twice as many people as usual hired bikes.

TfL said the bus network performed well, but traffic was heavy, and the rush hour started early for the second day in succession, with many offices closing by late afternoon so staff could tackle difficult journeys home.

Business groups said the strike would cost the capital's economy tens of millions of pounds.

Picket lines were mounted outside Tube stations by members of four trade unions involved in the action in a row over the new all-night Tubes, due to start in mid-September.

Steve Griffiths, LU's chief operating officer, said: "We are, as we always have been, ready to talk at any time to sort out this dispute.

"We have made a very fair and reasonable offer to our staff, but the unions have so far refused to respond or put it to their members.

"The offer remains on the table and we are ready for talks.

"We have contacted Acas and asked them to assist us in getting back around the table.

"If the unions are serious about resolving this, we trust they will be ready to engage in meaningful talks to deliver night Tube for London.

"We have put forward a very, very fair offer, which consists of an average salary increase of 2%, 1% or RPI (whichever is greater) for next year and the one after, plus a £500 night Tube launch bonus and an additional £2,000 bonus for night Tube train drivers.

"No-one will have to work more hours than they do now, and we have a longer term plan, which will mean no-one will need to work nights if they don't want to."

London Mayor Boris Johnson cast doubt over the date for the introduction of the night Tube, refusing to rule out that the service would not be launched on September 12, as previously announced by TfL.

"We have got to get on with the night Tube.

"The unions don't like it, they don't think that we should be able to do this.

"I think it is essential for the city, they want to show that you can't do a huge change like this without them expressing their views.

"Unfortunately what has happened is that the union leadership has basically been spoiling for a big fight on this.

"I think they were very disappointed by the election result in May."

Mick Cash, general secretary of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union said: "Bulldozing through the new rosters without discussion and outside of the long-standing agreements was always a disaster waiting to happen.

"Of course staff feel angry that they are being bullied into accepting new patterns that would wreck work life balance. LU have to wake up and understand that grievance instead of pretending that it doesn't exist.

"The company also need to remember that we remain in dispute with them over the parallel issue of 850 station staff jobs losses - job losses that would make a mockery of delivering passenger and staff safety on the night tube. The ball is now in firmly in LU's court. "

Mr Griffiths thanked people for their patience yesterday and apologised for the disruption.

"We thank Londoners for their patience during the strike. We also thank the many transport staff who worked so hard to help Londoners and visitors to the city make their journeys.

"I'm sorry that people had difficult journeys yesterday and we are working hard to resolve the dispute."

LU said Tube services have returned to normal following the strike, although a signal failure at Aldgate caused some delays.

The company thanked customers for their patience during the action and urged unions to return to talks to resolve the dispute.


From Belfast Telegraph