Well it looks like the Eypytian sun has finally gone to RMT union leader Bob Crow's head as he considers the New Year's Eve strike a success in spite of the fact that only 40 out of over 275 stations were closed and many of the 4,000 RMT members he claimed went on strike, obviously didn't. I would hardly say that it showed a "united and determined stand" against the LU's "unsafe" rosters. Good to see he was united enough to go on holiday in the middle of all of it.
However, in true "Carry On At Your Convenience" "everybody out" strike style, he's now considering ballotting all members including Tube drivers "for action short of strike in the light of these blatant safety breaches" - ie he claims safety breaches were broken in getting the stations open during the strike.
Mmmmm "action short of strike," well that will tell the LU and the general public won't it Bob? I would have found this whole press release a lot less laughable if I'd known that a) it wasn't being made from Egypt (he's back on the 5th January) and b) there was more focus on averting the next strike due for the 8th January, (which he must be getting a bit worried about now) and less focus on the success of a strike that Londoners hardly noticed! Keep the comments coming in guys and gals!
January 1st 2006 - Most of the Tube running in spite of strike
Well only three more hours of the strike to go (it's almost 9am at the time of posting) and fortunately London didn't grind to a halt as about half of the station staff actually decided to stick two fingers up at the RMT leaders and open their stations so people could celebrate New Year's Eve. At the risk of being called a "union busting propagandist of whom Goebbels would have been proud" - bit of a shocker to be called that on New Year's Day morning, but there you go - I'm really pleased to see London Underground staff braving public abuse to open the stations and keep the Tube running. Only 40 stations out of over 270 actually closed. (Picture above by Diamond Geezer)
More lively comments below, including more station staff who are leaving or considering leaving the RMT as a result of all this.
As Sheriff Ken Livingstone said "I want to pay special tribute to the police, emergency services and transport workers who helped get hundreds of thousands of people home safely. The Tube strike hardly materialised. The majority of London Underground staff did not agree that it made sense to punish ordinary Londoners on New Year's Eve." see Virgin News for more.
Bob Crow, I hope you're having a good time in Egypt, London actually doesn't look too bad this morning and I hope everyone who is able to travel on the Tube this morning thanks the station staff for their actions.
UPDATE - 19.12 - December 31st - The Tube's website has been updated to show a map with the closed stations showing in red - plus a list of stations closed on the right hand side of this page.
Loads of comments still coming in, including those from RMT members who are as pissed off with the whole timing of this strike as the majority of the public and those who are re-considering their membership of the RMT. I'd like to thank the staff for making comments here. As mentioned a number of times in the comments we should thank the staff that actually decided to open the stations today, so that the strike hasn't been quite as effective as RMT union leaders were hoping.
I hope everyone has a Happy New Year's Eve despite the unhappy one that the leaders were trying to make you have, and it will be interesting to see if the next strike on the 8th January actually comes off.
Happy New Year!
UPDATE - 14.30 - December 31st - The strike is well and truly on although "some" stations are open. Which ones is anyone's guess though. However, I'm not sure how London Underground can say there is a good service on most of the lines today if you look at the realtime travel link as "good service" means "no noticeable impact to your journey". Neil has just got back from Richmond (which is open) and some stations are open but many aren't, depends if the staff have decided to open them or not. If your station is closed by striking Tube station staff the train will just go straight through it. So I would say that is a "noticeable impact" to my journey. If I were you I'd call 020 7222 1234 before leaving home.
RMT leader Bob Crow on holiday in Egypt - New Year's Eve Tube strike still on
Well I have heard it all now. Bob Crow obviously had no intention whatsoever about attending the talks at Acas with LU to try to avert the 24 hour London Underground Strike which began at noon today - 31st December. There were mutterings in the comments thread yesterday that Bob Crow was currently relaxing in Egypt and The Mirror has now confirmed this!
"Tube workers were furious last night that union leader Bob Crow was sunning himself on holiday as they were being asked to strike......
"Members of the RMT union are angry Mr Crow is enjoying a luxury break with his family at the Sharm el-Sheik resort in Egypt with dispute still unresolved.
One said of the former Communist party member: "Red Bob is swimming in the Red Sea on the day we are being asked to strike. It stinks.
"For a supposed man of the people he has not understood the mood of the union membership if he thinks he can leave us in the lurch at a time like this."
But Mr Crow, 44, who earns £63,000 a year denied the trip was a PR disaster."
Tell us what it is then Bob: "this was a long-standing family holiday. The personal message to our members is that our union is responsible for the dispute, not just individuals. I'm still involved in negotiations and liaising with our senior assistant general secretary and our press office. If needs be I can return to London."
Well he won't have the Tube to help him get to talks very quickly will he? And I'm sure that hundreds of thousands of Londoners will be thinking of you Bob when they are standing around freezing cold tonight waiting to get on overcrowded buses and standing in long taxi queues after trying to get home from what should be the party night of the year. Happy New Year and any remaining sympathy the public had for you has now been wiped away! (Keep the comments & discussion coming in and they're still coming in on the older post here too!!)
Meanwhile London Underground are still planning to try to run as much of the service as possible during today's strike, also extra buses will be put on to try to help. Check out the Tube's website before travelling after noon today or call 020 7222 1234 to see how your journey will be effected.
Thursday 29th December - One sided talks mean "unlikely resolution" to Tube Strike
Just heard RMT union leader, Bob Crow's dulcet tones on the radio saying that he's only prepared to talk to London Underground (LU), if there is something new to talk about, otherwise "it's a waste of time". Howard Hughes from smoothfm was interviewing him and asking if he was staying by the phone, as London Underground will be having a meeting with ACAS today to try to avert the New Year's Eve strike. Yesterday we had the impression that both parties were willing to talk. I quite like the idea of LU sitting in a room with the arbitrators and no one from RMT (the union had not confirmed that anyone would be attending), as it sounds like it will be a very short meeting!
We can only hope that Bob Kiley isn't going to be in the meeting otherwise there will be another large expenses claim. The Evening Standard last night reported that the outgoing London Transport Commissioner put in an entertainment expenses claim for £7,000, which LU think is justified! I'd love to know who he entertained!
And, watch this space as maybe someone from LU will be able to get Mr Crow off his rather large derriere and into the Acas's offices and perhaps there will be a last minute resolution. However, I have a sneaking suspicion that LU won't back down over RMT's demands and it will mean a 24 strike from 12 noon on the 31st December and another potential one from 6.30pm on Sunday January 8th too!