Strike action by unions is 'inconvenient' and a 'nightmare' for commuters

East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Commuter Julie Slaughter Commuter Julie Slaughter

Hundreds of commuters have faced travel disruption this morning following a 48 hour strike on London's Underground.

Commuters using the Victoria line and Central line walked miles or travelled for up to an hour by bus to get to Highams Park and Chingford to use the Greater Anglia overground line.

Members of the RMT and TSSA unions walked out at 9pm yesterday for 48 hours in protest at the closure of all ticket offices, with the loss of 950 jobs.

 James Maybury, 44, of Cadogan Gardens in South Woodford travelled to Highams Park to get into the city.

"I was hoping the unions would call off the strike. They’ve stated their claim, they’ve set their stall out to be as disruptive as possible.

"In principal, I wouldn’t agree with restricting their right to strike as Boris suggested but these strikes happen too often and it doesn’t happen in other cities.

"In terms of Bob Crow, you wouldn’t be able to print what I think of him."

Emma Register of Broadway Close in Woodford Green said the delays has caused her problems at work.

The 45 year-old said: "What an absolute nightmare! It took me over an hour to get to Highams Park station from Woodford by bus. There is traffic everwhere, it's ridiculous.

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"The problems I’ve had with getting in has caused me issues with work and to avoid tomorrow’s disruption, I am considering staying with a friend in the city."

Julie Slaughter, 48, from Walthamstow travelled from St James Street in the opposite direction towards Chingford to pick up a less crowded train into Liverpool Street.

"I got to St James Street and people just weren’t getting on the trains. I’m not happy, this is very inconvenient. I don’t think this will make any change, ticket offices will still close and TfL staff will lose their jobs.

I think not having ticket offices in inner London is OK but in outer London and during peak times, it could be problematic."

Owner Greg Howell, 40, of Coffee in the Park, in Highams Park Station said it has been manic this morning.

"It has been manic. Between 6am and 7am, people could not get onto a couple of the trains as they were so jam packed. It just makes everyone’s life that little bit more difficult.

"Several people have moaned to me this morning about the tube strike, but I do think there is a genuine reason for this strike."

Acting agent Tom Fitz, 32, of Sydney Road in Woodford Green said the union needs to 'roll with the times'.

"The ticket closures were inevitable. You have to roll with the times. I understand what Rob Crow is doing and what he is trying to achieve, but with the introduction of ticket machines it was bound to result in job losses."

In a statement released today, LU managing director, Mike Brown said:

"Many thousands of LU and TfL staff are working hard to keep customers informed and ensure we keep London moving and open for business today. 

"My message to the leadership of the RMT and TSSA is that they should do the right thing, call off this completely unnecessary strike and work with us to help shape the future of the Tube.

"All Tube stations will remain staffed and controlled at all times when services are operating, and we’ll be introducing a 24-hour service at weekends during 2015.

"In future, there will be more staff in ticket halls and on platforms to help customers buy the right ticket, plan their journeys and to keep them safe and secure.

"We’re committed to implement these changes without compulsory redundancies and there’ll be a job for everyone at LU who wants to work for us and be flexible."

There are minor delays on the Greater Anglia service from Chingford to Liverpool Street due to overcrowding.

Central line services are running from Epping to Leytonstone every 15 minutes in both directions.

Victoria line trains are operating from Victoria to Seven Sisters.

A second 48-hour strike is planned for 9pm on February 11.

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