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Last Updated: Sunday, 1 January 2006, 15:20 GMT
Tube workers end New Year strike
Strike sign
The strike was called in a row over new rotas
A 24-hour strike by station staff on London's Tube network has ended.

About 40 out of 275 stations had closed due to a lack of staff and Northern Line services were delayed during the action, Transport for London said.

Underground bosses praised staff as about 200,000 people defied the strike, which began at noon on New Year's Eve, and saw in 2006 on London's streets.

Rail Maritime and Transport union members were protesting at new rotas. It said the strike had been a success.

The dispute involved station staff, not train drivers, so most lines ran without delays but some trains were unable to make their usual stops because of closed stations.

A London Underground spokesman said: "On a night when hundreds of thousands of Londoners and visitors were out and about in the capital London Underground staff once again showed their commitment to public service by providing a good service on all lines throughout the night.

"We would like to thank our staff, and the British Transport Police, for helping to give London the transport service it is entitled to.

"We wish a Happy New Year to all of our customers and staff," he added.

We are calling upon London to really get off its backside and come and make this event a really superb success
Dan Kirkby, New Year Parade organiser

Most of the stations that closed were outside the central area, and other stations further out and above ground were left unstaffed with their ticket barriers open.

Zone One stations affected by the strike included Covent Garden, which was closed, and King's Cross where Victoria, Piccadilly and Northern Lines were not stopping.

Extra buses helped ferry people home after the festivities in central London, which included a 10-minute firework display on the Thames and celebrations in Trafalgar and Parliament squares.

Safety fears

But the RMT's General Secretary, Bob Crow, claimed the strike was a success and said the stoppages would continue and might involve more members.

He added: "Our members have resisted lies, aggressive intimidation and blatant bribery by Tube management and openly hostile media coverage to show their determination to defend their own and the travelling public's safety.

"The company has underlined its cavalier attitude to safety not only by keeping open stations with staff insufficient to cope with an emergency, but by using managers and office staff without appropriate training," said Mr Crow.

Fears that the strike, which ended at noon on New Year's Day, would affect London's New Year Parade were unfounded.

Thousands lined the streets of London to watch the marching bands clowns and carnival queens make their way through the city on a two-mile route from Parliament Square to Piccadilly.

The dispute centres around a rota linked to the introduction of a new 35-hour week for Tube workers.

The RMT said that when it agreed to make the change it had not been shown new work patterns, which it believes will compromise safety for staff and travellers.

More strikes planned

RMT leader Bob Crow told the BBC he had offered to suspend the strike, in return for LU suspending the new rotas, but LU had refused.

He added: "We've had to try and put maximum pressure on London Underground to concentrate their minds.

"And if New Year's Eve won't concentrate their minds we're going to have to look in the new year to stepping up the action."

The RMT plans more strikes later this month.

Tube walkout 'threatens parade'
28 Dec 05 |  London


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