FOURTH day of Tube strike chaos in London (but only TWO days of strikes)


Commuters faced misery as they had to find alternative ways into work as the service recovers from yesterday's union action

Commuters faced misery as they had to find alternative ways into work as the service recovers from yesterday’s union action

Tube chaos has continued into a fourth day as all London Underground lines were shut until ‘mid-morning’ – despite no strike called for today.

Commuters faced misery as they had to find alternative ways into work as the service recovers from yesterday’s union action.

But in another blow Uber hiked its prices again this week as passengers were slapped with eye-watering ‘surge fares’.

It comes as Labour was accused of being in chaos over the strikes after failing to condemn the second crippling walkout.

Meanwhile ministers were last night facing growing calls to ban strikes by transport workers amid this week’s misery.

All Tube lines were down again early on Friday morning until 8am due to what is thought to be the service recovering from strike action.

Bakerloo, Central, Circle, District, Hammersmith and City, Jubilee, Metropolitan, Northern , Piccadilly, Victoria and Waterloo and City were all suspended.

Transport for London told commuters struggling to get to work they should expect problems travelling on the days after strikes.

It tweeted last night: ‘If you can, travel later in the day on the days after strikes (Fri 4 March). Avoid early morning travel.’

Commuters at Paddington Station in London during a strike by members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT)

Commuters at Paddington Station in London during a strike by members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union (RMT)

Yesterday marked another day of commuter despair as the militant RMT union staged a second 24-hour walkout of Underground staff.

Key workers and hospital patients were caught up in the mayhem as passengers tried to board packed buses.

The strikes were held on Tuesday and yesterday, with the effects of the walkouts bleeding into Wednesday and today, stretching the chaos out over four days in all.

Underground staff are protesting over fears of staff cuts and changes to work conditions and pension schemes as TfL looks to recover from the pandemic.

In another blow for travellers, Uber users were hit by hiked fares as they were forced to turn to the app amid transport chaos.

Prices were around double, with a normal taxi from Kennington to Kensington costing £25 and one from Kensington to Tooting hitting £20.

In another blow for travellers, Uber users were hit by hiked fares as they were forced to turn to the app amid transport chaos

In another blow for travellers, Uber users were hit by hiked fares as they were forced to turn to the app amid transport chaos

In another blow for travellers, Uber users were hit by hiked fares as they were forced to turn to the app amid transport chaos

Commuters faced almost a week of chaos on the Tube

TUESDAY 

A 24 hour strike was in force throughout the day, from 00:00 to 23:59, with the vast majority of routes completely shut following a walkout of 10,000 workers.

Services were suspended on all lines except the Overground, DLR and TfL Rail – though a significantly reduced service did open on the Central, District and Northern lines by mid-morning. 

WEDNESDAY

No strike action is scheduled but commuters arrived to find stations closed during the morning rush hour. 

The TfL website just after 7am showed all lines were either suspended, part-suspended or running with a reduced service or minor delays, with the exception of the Victoria and Central lines, as well as TfL rail. 

Guidance says to expect severe disruption on all lines and advises to travel later in the day if possible. The last Piccadilly line service from Acton Town to Uxbridge will run 15 minutes early, departing at 00:44 

THURSDAY

Another 24 hour strike is scheduled, as TfL says to expect ‘severe disruption’ to all lines and stations, adding that it’s ‘highly likely’ no services will run. Bosses also say workers should consider working from home where possible. 

FRIDAY

No strike action is scheduled during the day but commuters are likely to experience further delays. Guidance says to expect severe disruption on all lines and advises to travel later in the day if possible. 

Then in the evening, there is planned strike action between 2030 and 0429. Central and Victoria lines could be affected. A good service is expected on the Victoria line (including Night Tube). A regular service is expected on the Central line (at least two trains per hour through central London). 

SATURDAY

In the evening, there is planned strike action between 2030 and 0429.  Central and Victoria lines could be affected. A good service is expected on the Victoria line (including Night Tube). A regular service is expected on the Central line (at least two trains per hour through central London).   

It comes as Labour was blasted over its silence over London Underground strikes yesterday after failing to condemn the second crippling walkout.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan was booed while attending a glitzy music awards ceremony, with one punk group publicly savaging him for not dealing with the crisis.

Critics questioned why the mayor was attending the event instead of holding talks to try to halt the industrial action.

Meanwhile, party leader Sir Keir Starmer has chosen to remain silent on the crippling issue.

And analysis of Labour MP Twitter accounts found at least 15 used their profiles to back the strikes, with several proudly posting pictures of themselves on picket lines.

Ministers and MPs led an angry backlash, pointing out that those on lower incomes would be hit the hardest by the strikes.

And Mr Khan was booed on stage as he presented a gong at the NME Awards at the O2 Academy Brixton in south London on Wednesday night.

He was seen rubbing shoulders with celebrities such as YouTuber Amelia Dimoldenberg at the do. But he was also rounded on by those frustrated with strikes.

Punk-grime duo Bob Vylan, who were there to present the award for Best Festival in the UK, said: ‘Sadiq you need to sort these trains out. Do you understand?

‘You have to keep this city moving bro because people need to get to work, you understand? Come on, we’ve got to do better.’

Tory MP Greg Smith, who sits on the Commons transport committee, said: ‘It’s wholly unacceptable for people’s daily lives, their income, their livelihoods to be disrupted in this horrendous way. 

‘It’s literally taking food off people’s tables. People who were stuck in the rain on Tuesday and who couldn’t get about today will be raising many an eyebrow as they see the Labour mayor was swanning around at a glitzy event with celebrities rather than hammering it out with the RMT to end this nonsense.’

Speaking in the Commons, fellow Conservative Bob Blackman said: ‘The trade unions, for the second day this week, have brought London literally to a halt.

‘At this time of course, there is one person that’s completely silent about that – the do-nothing Mayor of London.’ 

Commons Leader Mark Spencer branded Mr Khan’s record ‘absolutely appalling’. Conservatives also condemned figures showing the RMT has given Labour and its MPs hundreds of thousands of pounds in recent years, sparking accusations that union barons had ‘bought the party’s silence.’

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: ‘For the second time this week, TfL Tube strikes have brought London to a standstill.

‘Given the Government has provided almost £5billion to protect services and TfL jobs throughout the pandemic, this is no way to repay hard-pressed taxpayers who are simply trying to get to work and home.’

Tory MP Andrew Bridgen said: ‘Through multiple donations the RMT has bought the Labour Party’s silence on an issue that’s crippling the capital and damaging our economy at a crucial time.’

A spokesman for Mr Khan defended his attendance at the awards, saying the mayor ‘will always support the capital’s creative industries as it continues to recover from the pandemic.’

A Labour spokesman said: ‘Transport for London’s finances have been decimated during the pandemic.

‘Sadiq Khan has been working hard to get it back on track, while Conservative ministers continue to play politics with TfL’s finances.’

RMT chief Mick Lynch said: ‘Our members across London Underground are making it crystal clear again this morning that they are not going to be used as pawns in a political fight between the mayor and the Government which threatens their futures and their livelihoods.’

Meanwhile ministers were last night facing growing calls to ban strikes by transport workers.

MPs said tough new laws were needed to smash the power of militant unions and prevent them from ‘holding the country to ransom’. 

They said ministers should even consider an outright ban on walkouts by workers who deliver ‘critical services’, including public transport.

That would mirror the ban on police officers striking due to them providing an emergency service.

It could also mimic stricter rules in countries such as France and Germany, where to be considered lawful, industrial action must be ‘proportional’ to its aims. 

Tory MP Greg Smith, who sits on the Commons transport committee, said: ‘There is definitely a case to be explored to prevent those in key critical national infrastructure, which includes getting people to work on public transport, from being able to disrupt that.’

A Department for Transport spokesman said last night: ‘Rail strikes have a real impact on people’s lives… which is why we are looking at how we can limit the impact of this action.’

Vladimir Putin’s useful numbskulls: ANDREW PIERCE examines the shameful record of militant union chiefs behind London’s crippling Tube strike

This week, London has once again been crippled by Tube strikes: industrial action slammed as irresponsible by business leaders and naturally hated by the capital’s residents.

The walkouts – more are threatened – have seen 200 Underground stations close, caused chaos during rush hours, cost the city up to £100million and savaged businesses that were only just struggling back on to their feet after two years of on- off lockdowns.

But the timing is terrible for another reason, of course: Vladimir Putin’s deranged invasion of Ukraine and its destabilisation of our world.

And on that score, the National Union of Rail, Maritime and Transport Workers (RMT) might have chosen its moment to wage class war rather more carefully, given the rather troubling fondness that several of its senior members have expressed for Russia in the past.

The RMT has contained pro-Russian elements for years: at its annual meeting in 2014, soon after Putin first began his attempts to annexe eastern regions of Ukraine, the union passed a motion denouncing Western support for the ‘far-Right regime in Kiev’. Putin must have been delighted.

It also supported what it called the ‘antifascist resistance in Ukraine’ – but was silent when it came to criticising Russia directly. Individual RMT members, however, go much further.

London has once again been crippled by Tube strikes: industrial action slammed as irresponsible by business leaders and naturally hated by the capital’s residents. Pictured: RMT president Alex Gordon

London has once again been crippled by Tube strikes: industrial action slammed as irresponsible by business leaders and naturally hated by the capital’s residents. Pictured: RMT president Alex Gordon

Take RMT assistant general secretary Eddie Dempsey, who enjoys a somewhat unproletarian salary package of £108,000. He has said he wants to ‘implement in this country policies which are socialist’ – but another country seems to interest him even more than his own.

If Putin has a number of ‘useful idiots’ in the West, Dempsey has surely been among the most useful. In 2015, not long after the Russian dictator’s first invasion of Ukraine, the RMT’s man thought it would be a good idea to visit that country’s Donbas region.

Here, he posed for photographs with the Putinite warlord Aleksey Mozgovoy, a commander in the hideous ‘Ghost Brigade’ of pro-Russian separatists: branded a ‘terrorist organisation’ by Ukraine’s Supreme Court.

In Dempsey’s deluded eyes, Mozgovoy was a ‘charismatic anti-fascist’.

Instead of calling out the Ghost Brigade for the blood-stained aggressors they are, the union leader praised them as ‘volunteers’ while calling the West’s efforts to broker peace in the region a ‘US-orchestrated coup’.

And when, just two weeks after Dempsey’s happy snap, Mozgovoy was killed in a bomb and machine-gun attack, the union baron wrote a fawning obituary for the terrorist in the Communist newspaper Morning Star.

In 2020, a court found that Mozgovoy had planned and ordered the ambushing and murder of a family for money. How’s that for ‘charismatic anti-fascism’? Dempsey also saw fit to sign a recent letter from the notorious Stop the War coalition, which criticised Nato for showing ‘disdain for Russian concerns’ in Ukraine.

RMT Assistant General Secretary Steve Hedley (pictured) poses in a Soviet-style soldier's hat with an assault rifle

RMT Assistant General Secretary Steve Hedley (pictured) poses in a Soviet-style soldier’s hat with an assault rifle

It pointedly failed to criticise Russia for massing up to 190,000 troops on the Ukraine border – the prelude to Putin’s monstrous war.

Will Dempsey now express regret for his bizarre stance?

The Labour MP Chris Bryant, who sits on the foreign affairs select committee, certainly thinks so, saying: ‘He should apologise – and be ashamed of himself.’

But Dempsey, sadly, is only one of the RMT’s hard-Left numbskulls.

The union’s own president, Alex Gordon – a member of the Communist Party of Great Britain’s executive committee – has never made any attempt to hide his beliefs. In 2015, after Mozgovoy was killed, Gordon shared a post online that read: ‘A person can be murdered but not his ideas.’

In 2020, he cheerily tweeted: ‘Happy 150th Birthday, Lenin!’ – celebrating the architect of Russia’s 1918 Red Terror that saw about 100,000 people executed as the Bolsheviks cemented their revolution.

Then there’s Steve Hedley, assistant general secretary of the RMT. He has appeared in pictures brandishing an automatic rifle while wearing a Russian fur hat emblazoned with a hammer-and-sickle badge and has declared: ‘We want to overthrow capitalism and create a socialist form of society.’

Hedley, whose online campaign page declares he wants to ‘fight the bosses’, has the rare distinction of being to the Left even of John McDonnell, Jeremy Corbyn’s Marxist ex-shadow chancellor.

Mr Hedley has the rare distinction of being to the Left even of John McDonnell, Jeremy Corbyn’s Marxist ex-shadow chancellor

Mr Hedley has the rare distinction of being to the Left even of John McDonnell, Jeremy Corbyn’s Marxist ex-shadow chancellor

After Putin’s goons committed their sickening atrocity in Salisbury in 2018, McDonnell – in a rare moment of good judgment – called for a moratorium on Labour members appearing on Russia Today, Putin’s English-language propaganda channel (now under investigation by the broadcast regulator Ofcom because of its brazen pro-Kremlin propaganda).

Hedley declared the moratorium was ‘absolute liberal nonsense’ and accused ‘Mac Donell’ (sic) of joining ‘the jingoistic anti-Russian bandwagon’.

The RMT was kicked out of the Labour party in 2004, but in 2018, during Corbyn’s leadership, they said they would once again ‘align’ themselves with the party.

And they’ve certainly been generous to trusted Labour MPs. Ian Mearns, for example, has received an astonishing £86,000 from the RMT since 2016, while his Gateshead constituency party has received £12,500 since 2015.

Mearns is chairman of the RMT’s 24-strong parliamentary group, which also includes Diane Abbott and the Corbynista former leadership candidate Rebecca Long Bailey.

Former Labour transport secretary Lord Adonis, who often had to deal with the RMT’s 1970s-style intransigence, is appalled by the union leaders’ failure not to criticise Putin in the most ferocious terms.

Former Labour transport secretary Lord Adonis (pictured), who often had to deal with the RMT’s 1970s-style intransigence, is appalled by the union leaders’ failure not to criticise Putin in the most ferocious terms.

Former Labour transport secretary Lord Adonis (pictured), who often had to deal with the RMT’s 1970s-style intransigence, is appalled by the union leaders’ failure not to criticise Putin in the most ferocious terms.

Adonis tells me: ‘The British people have no time for fascist dictators. Churchill saw off Hitler and Mussolini in the 1940s in our ‘finest hour’, and our freedom and prosperity flow from his stand against fascism and dictatorship. Working people in Britain are not going to fall for apologists for Vladimir Putin.’

Quite so. So why have so many on the far-Left appeared in the past to swallow the Kremlin’s lies instead of supporting their own democratic country and its allies?

Tory MP Bob Seely, a former Army captain who lived in Kyiv in the 1990s, offers one explanation.

‘Because Putin opposes the UK and the US, they think he is on their side, somehow – and because some have a legacy romantic attachment to the Soviet Union, they see Putin as someone who shares their anti-capitalist urge,’ he says. ‘They may also see Putin, in some weird and pathetic way, as a successor to the Soviet Union.’

Dempsey did not express regret for his association with Mozgovoy when the Mail contacted the RMT last night. Asked if the union backed the Ukrainian government, the RMT said in a statement: ‘The union does not support either Vladimir Putin or his actions in Ukraine.’

Pointedly, though, these self-proclaimed ‘anti-fascists’ don’t show any support for the brave struggle of a democratic country against a real fascist in the Kremlin.  

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