Following London facing two days of disruption on the Underground network, Chelsea and Fulham MP, Greg Hands, has come out in support of fellow commuters, and accused the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) Union of 'holding Londoners to ransom' with their strike
Hammersmith & Fulham, according to the most recent census, has more Tube users than any other Borough in Britain, so the strike was bound to be disruptive to Greg’s constituents. During the union led walk out nearly all lines on the Underground system were affected, including local District Line services, where the Richmond branch was closed, as well as Sloane Square station, and Fulham Broadway was closed on Tuesday.
Greg Hands said: “This is economic sabotage from militant trade unionists holding my constituents and Londoners in general to ransom. And all, it seems, in an effort to prove their leftist credentials in advance of a leadership election.”
Greg was able to get to the House of Commons from his home in Fulham on the days, using either the bus or the Tube, and was impressed with the resolve shown by thousands of his constituents determined to beat the strike.
Hard working Londoners and commuters faced similar disruption in February this year, when RMT workers again went on strike in opposition to plans by London Underground (LU) and the Mayor to modernise the Tube network.
The Mayor of London and LU set out plans for the future of the Tube at the end of last year. They hope this will include a 24 hours service at weekends, move station staff away from ticket offices to help customers on platforms and ticket halls, and improve customers’ experience and safety. The RMT are opposed to London Underground plans to close 260 ticket offices with the possible loss of 950 jobs.
The union and London Underground have met more than 40 times through the arbitration service Acas since the last 48-hour strike in February, but talks broke down on Monday.
Greg praised travellers for their patience and perseverance during the disruption as well as all TfL and London Underground workers who help keep the network running. He said via Twitter on Tuesday: “Well done to the large number of Tube and bus workers at work today, keeping London's economy moving!”, and added on Wednesday “Another day of Tube strikes. My constituents are defiant against the RMT wreckers selfishly jostling for position to succeed Bob Crow...“Am told that almost 90% of Oyster cards were used yesterday, showing the strike is being defied! Well done to all Tube staff working today!”
Transport for London said 50% of services were running compared to about 40% during the February walkout. London Underground has said it plans to run as many services as possible, supplemented extra bus and river services TfL said about 87% of Oyster cards that would usually be seen on the network were used on Tuesday, and there were almost 8,000 buses on the roads - the most ever operated in London - after an extra 266 were put into service. These included 40 vintage buses including the green Regent Mark III built in the 1950s. It also said there has been a 70% increase in Barclays cycle hires.