Workers on the London Underground were on strike Tuesday, closing many of the system’s lines and affecting about 3 million passengers.
The strike was called by two unions — the Rail Maritime and Transport Union (RMT) and the Transport Salaried Staff Association (TSSA) — over plans by London Underground to cut 800 jobs.
Many of the jobs under threat are in the underground stations, mostly in the ticket offices. New technology means passengers can now buy tickets online and can also use machines to update plastic travel cards.
About 8,000 workers took part in the 24-hour strike, and nine of the 10 major underground lines in London were affected but only one was completely closed.
Bob Crow, the general secretary of the RMT Union told Xinhua on a picket line at Euston station, a major London transport hub, that the job cuts were a threat to safety.
“You just can’t come and say ‘we need to make 800 job losses’. The jobs disappear and as a result of that London Underground gets a less safe system than what they had before,” said Crow.
He added, “When the terrorist attacks took place only a few years ago these were the same people who evacuated the traveling public and got the people to safety.”
Crow said a big percentage of people cannot get online to get their ticket, and people with bad vision cannot use the machines and people like to see plenty of uniformed staff around the network because it makes them feel secure.