A planned tube strike will severely disrupt journeys in the capital over four days from Sunday, Transport for London has warned.
Two walkouts by staff in the RMT union, in a dispute over job cuts and safety, will close many London Underground stations in central London from Sunday evening.
Key stations in Zone 1 will remain closed until 4pm on Monday, and close again from Tuesday afternoon until the end of rush hour on Wednesday morning. No trains will run before 7am on Monday or Wednesday or after 8pm on Tuesday.
Talks continued on Thursday to try to avert the strike. One union, the TSSA, which represents almost 20% of the 3,700 station staff, has suspended a planned strike after TfL committed to restoring 325 posts. That may allow TfL to open some stations; a strike in early January by both unions caused gridlocked roads in central London as tube services were virtually halted for a day.
TfL said where possible it would attempt to run services between open stations, mostly at the end of tube lines outside central London. It advised passengers to allow more time for their journey and try to avoid peak times, and warned that bus services would be exceptionally busy and roads jammed.
Steve Griffiths, London Underground’s chief operating officer, said: “If the strike by the RMT goes ahead we will be working hard to minimise disruption as much as possible and doing our best to help customers travel around the capital.
“Our plan is to use the services we are able to run to get as many people as close to central London as possible. There will be posters, digital boards and announcements in stations to keep people informed of the latest level of service and all customers are advised to check before they travel using our website and live update tools.”
He said a proposal had been made to unions to end the dispute, including recruiting 325 additional roles, more than 100 of which would be supervisory, and increasing promotion opportunities.
The dispute was ignited by the closure of ticket offices when Boris Johnson was London mayor. About 800 jobs were lost.