London commuters are facing significant delays across the public transport network today due to strike action on the Hammersmith & City and Circle Lines.
The stop work, which began on the lines from 9pm Thursday night, will all day 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.
The RMT union ordered the strike after talks at ACAS broke down on Wednesday.
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.
Transport for London (TFL) is warning the District and Piccadilly lines will 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 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)
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 dispute is about the basic issues of protecting working conditions of our members and defending agreements from attempts to drive a coach and horses through them,” RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said. “The management are out of control and the anger at their failure to follow procedures has boiled over.”
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.”