Wharfers braced for chaos on Tube

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Wharf firms and travel bosses are bracing themselves for the first in a series of proposed Tube strikes - if late talks fail to reach a resolution.

The RMT and Transport Salaried Staffs' Association unions are planning walk-outs for the beginning of next week which could cripple the Tube network.

Maintenance and engineering staff, as well as Tube drivers, signallers and station workers, are all planning to take part in the action which will see staff stagger strikes between 7pm on Sunday up until Tuesday evening.

Bosses at London Underground are working to minimise the effects and are hopeful of running some Tube services, while Thames Clippers is already making plans to put on extra river services to get commuters to Canary Wharf.

A spokesman for Transport for London said: "We're still working towards running as much of a Tube service as we can.

"But I urge people to check our website before they travel to find out what the situation is."

Although DLR trains will be running, services may be impacted at stations such as Bank and Canning Town where operations are linked with Underground facilities.

A spokeswoman for Serco Docklands said access would be dependent on whether London Underground management could open these stations.

Other companies are using the strike to push forward their services. Car sharing enterprise Liftshare is launching website tubestrike.com to help commuters share taxis.

Meanwhile, firms across Canary Wharf are already working towards contingency plans, with the London Chamber of Commerce reporting a £48million cost to the capital for every day of striking.

Candice Durrett, media relations manager at HSBC Bank PLC UK, said: "HSBC has a remote working policy in place whereby members of staff are provided with the necessary technology which allows them to work from home if they have difficulty getting in to the office.

"Members of staff will need to inform their line manager if this is the case and making up of any lost hours will be decided at the line manager's own discretion."

Hamish McDougall, Canary Wharf Group said: "We are taking a proactive approach to the Tube strikes and will help people get to work.

"We are working with Thames Clippers to put on extra river services and we will create additional bicycle parking spaces in Cabot Square. We are going to deploy staff around Canary Wharf on the strike days to help direct people to transport options that are working."

Maintenance staff at Alstom-Metro depots on the Jubilee and Northern lines will be the first to strike at 7pm on Sunday over a disagreement on pay and conditions.

More union members for the RMT and TSSA will walk out for 24 hours on Monday, with maintenance and engineering staff downing tools at 5pm and Tube drivers, signallers and station workers walking out at 9pm. This follows union upset over plans to cut 800 jobs.

Further action is scheduled for the same times on the weeks commencing October 2, as well as November 1 and November 27.