People queue for buses in the City of London. Millions of commuters face delays and frustration as a strike by London Underground station workers on Monday. -AFP
Millions of Londoners endured a chaotic start to the week on Monday (Jan 9) after a strike shut down most of the Underground network, including many city center stations. Clapham Junction, a major transport hub in the south of the capital, had to be evacuated in the morning rush hour due to overcrowding as passengers were forced onto packed overland trains to get to work. Ten of the 11 Tube lines were disrupted by the 24-hour strike by members of the RMT union, who walked out on Sunday evening in a dispute over job cuts and staffing levels.
The strike officially ended at 6.00pm on Monday (2.00am Singapore time Tuesday), although some stations remained closed and a normal service was not expected to run until Tuesday morning. Commuters' woes were compounded by rainy weather as they faced lengthy waits for overcrowded buses or tried to squeeze into packed train carriages. "It's a real pain," said finance worker Ross Kemp, waiting for a bus at King's Cross station, adding that he had "limited sympathy" for the striking Tube workers.
Mayor Saqid Khan condemned the action and said a "good deal" which ensured safety and staffing levels was already on the table. - AFP, London
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