Millions of commuters face travel misery after 10 hours of talks aiming to avert a 48-hour strike by buskers on London Underground collapsed.
Transport for London (TfL) described the refusal by guitarists at Camden Town station to play Stairway to Heaven as ‘outrageous’ and ‘a slap in the face for all hard-working Londoners’.
TfL bosses had proposed a compromise measure, whereby a single performance of Wonderwall would allow musicians a ten minute ‘free jazz wig out’, and a rendition of Three Little Birds would entitle them to perform ‘one that I wrote myself’. The offer was debated by Rob Mallard of the Buskers’ Union and TfL, but talks stalled over demands for a ‘five minute ear-break’ for saxophonists forced to play Kenny G.
Transport for London have promised to lay on 100 special-replacement buskers during peak times, but they have warned commuters to prepare for long stretches of silence, and advised them, if possible, to carry an emergency set of pan pipes when travelling.
Buskers on Docklands Light Railway, who are computer-controlled, will operate as normal.