Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

London Is Enraged by the 'Irresponsible' Tube Strikers

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

London Is Enraged by the 'Irresponsible' Tube Strikers

Article excerpt


BUSINESS leaders united today to condemn the latest round of Tube strikes at a time when London is on alert following the terror attacks on America and suffering the effects of a looming recession.

Business groups claimed the strikes cost London businesses up to [pound]40 million a day and said in the wake of the attacks and increased security throughout London the action was alienating the commuting public.

Travel is already being disrupted by security alerts and working to rule by some drivers, and the strikes will undermine London's ability to maintain its business profile after the attacks on the Pentagon and the World Trade Center, they say.

The RMT and Aslef have ordered stoppages over their substantial pay demands on Friday 12 October and Thursday 18 October to coincide with separate industrial action already being taken by Aslef drivers over working conditions.

Ruth Lea, of the Institute of Directors, said: "Last year there was some sympathy for them as they sold the strike as a safety issue linked to privatisation - which it wasn't really, it was about jobs for life. This time they are complaining about pay, clocking on, changing rooms, toilet facilities, and most people don't think these are things to strike about.

"It is irresponsible. Because of the heightened security, people have a feeling of uncertainty because of those dreadful terrorists attacks in the US, plus there is uncertainty about people losing their jobs and businesses shutting down, and then to be faced with a disruptive Tube system is too much.

"People's patience is wearing pretty thin; they're coming into work half an hour late and they are tired and irritated. We are a major international city. This strike is ridiculous."

Vincent Burke, of the London Chamber of Commerce, said: "It will be an added headache for everyone.

We always condemn industrial action and putting Underground passengers in the middle of a dispute at this time of heightened anxiety about security - particularly on the Tube - is particularly unwelcome. …

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