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Wednesday, 2 October, 2002, 05:59 GMT 06:59 UK
Second Tube strike hits London
Tube train
Three million people could be affected by the strike
Beleaguered London commuters were ploughing their way across a gridlocked capital on Wednesday, as underground drivers took part in their second strike in a week.

Services were rapidly reduced from 2000 BST on Tuesday with the last trains leaving central London by 2130 BST.

A spokesman for London Underground (LU) said "absolutely no trains" were running on Wednesday and pointed out the network would not be back to normal until Thursday, as trains are returned to their correct starting places for the timetable to resume.

It is the second 24-hour stoppage in as many weeks by two unions as part of a dispute over pay.

Getting to work
Extra bus stops provided
Free river boat taxi during rush hours from Tower Pier serving Blackfriars, Embankment, Westminster and Waterloo
Docklands Light Railway unaffected - access via Monument station

LU imposed a 3% pay rise after the unions rejected it.

The unions claim LU has refused to go to arbitration.

London Underground says it had made a good pay offer that would take the salary of a Tube driver to about 31,000.

Mick Rix, Aslef general secretary, told BBC London: "If the government made the phone call to the London Underground management and instructed them to go to independent mediation, then this dispute does not need to take place.

Strike costs

"If that phone call gets to me today I can reconvene my executive committee and ask them to suspend the dispute."

In the first strike last week, millions of commuters had to make their way to work on packed buses and gridlocked roads.

Both Mick Rix and RMT leader Bob Crow have left Blackpool, where Labour is holding its annual conference, and travelled to London for the strike.

Informal discussions between ministers, LU and union leaders at the conference failed to produce a breakthrough.

'Incalculable' impact

Business organisation London First has estimated the strike will cost more than 65m.

It has also warned that the impact on the city would be incalculable if transport continued to be disrupted.

London mayor Ken Livingstone wrote to Transport Secretary Alistair Darling asking him to intervene and tell LU management to accept mediation.

However, government sources said Mr Darling had no intention of becoming involved.

See also:

01 Oct 02 | England
25 Sep 02 | England
03 Sep 02 | England
12 Aug 02 | England
06 Aug 02 | England
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