Commuters have been facing disruptions on the London transport network today as Tube workers stage a walkout over “timed toilet breaks” and “aggressive management.”
Strike action is taking place on the Hammersmith & City and Circle Lines all day today (Friday) with services expected to run less frequently and be much busier than usual.
Londoners are also being warned services could be cancelled at short notice and that first and last trains on the lines will start later and finish earlier.
Transport for London (TFL) has issued extensive guidance for travellers, warning the District and Piccadilly lines will also be much busier than usual, along with a number of key stops:
Piccadilly line between King’s Cross St. Pancras and Hammersmith
Bakerloo line between Paddington and Embankment
King’s Cross St. Pancras
Commuters using stations between Hammersmith and Edgware Road via Shepherd’s Bush Market are being told to take alternative routes as they may not be able to board trains and to expect buses to be busier than usual.
Londoners may also want to consider walking between stations, with TFL recently releasing an updated Tube Walking Map showing distances between stops.
TFL has also released this walking time information on specific stops that will be impacted:
Goldhawk Road is about nine minutes’ walk from Shepherd’s Bush (Central line or London Overground), or about 15 minutes’ walk from Hammersmith (Piccadilly or District line)
Ladbroke Grove is about 16 minutes’ walk from Holland Park (Central line)
Latimer Road is about 16 minutes’ walk from Shepherd’s Bush (Central line or London Overground)
Royal Oak is about 10 minutes’ walk from Bayswater (District line)
Shepherd’s Bush Market is about nine minutes’ walk from Shepherd’s Bush (Central line or London Overground)
Wood Lane is about three minutes’ walk from White City (Central line)
In addition to the strike action, Transport for London said two Tube stations in west London were also closed due to flooding today, while there were reports of disruption on the M4.
Flooding also caused a train to derail at Watford Junction in Hertfordshire, causing delays in and out of Euston.
The RMT union ordered the strike after talks at ACAS broke down yesterday.
The union is angry over what it calls “heavy handed and aggressive management”, including claims that staff toilet breaks have been timed on a stop watch.
“This breakdown in industrial relations should never have been allowed to happen and if agreements and processes had been adhered to from the off the package of issues at the heart of the dispute could have been resolved through the joint machinery,” RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said.
But London Underground has rejected the union’s claims.
Steve White, Operations Director for London Underground, said: “We completely understand that sometimes drivers need to take a break during their driving duties to go to the toilet.
“But it has become clear that a minority are taking breaks of an hour or more and calling them toilet breaks. This has a direct impact on customers, with some trains being cancelled, and also on their fellow drivers who are having to cover for them.
“The suggestion that we are timing toilet breaks and asking intrusive questions is absolutely not true. That would be neither dignified nor reasonable. We are trying to support our staff – offering help through our Occupational Health team if a driver has health issues which requires them to take long breaks.”