London Tube Strike

January 9, 2017



A parents thoughts.



Dear London Underground,


If truth be told, I just can’t get enough of you.


Every week I swing by without fail and you greet me with big open doors and a warm and welcoming ‘mind the gap’. Like everyone, we have had our fair few ups and downs over the years. It’s not always you, but often me.


3 Little Buttons Blog, London Underground


Having said that, it’s all water under the bridge in the whole grand scheme of things. Even I can’t resist your up-beat banter on a Monday morning.


Mr London Underground Platform Announcer



And what a people pleaser, do my ears deceive me? It seems like you have hired Nanny Plum and I find myself, along with other parents, beaming from ear to ear as I catch ‘can you pleeeseee step away from the dooooorrrrsss,’ (only a parent of a Ben and Holly’s Little Kingdom fan will truly understand).



But today things are different. We are not on speaking terms. Things have turned a touch sour.




I know that times can be hard, and sometimes it can seem like you are chasing your own tail. But is that any reason to slam your doors in my face. To shut me out?



You see. I am a parent.


A parent who relies on your service.


Without you, I cannot make my speedy dash across the city to race into work and then back again in time to collect my little one. I cannot hope for the best and see if, by some miracle, that joining a mile long que to get onto one of your extra (?) buses will get me back in time. Because when you are responsible for a little human, it’s not possible to just ‘cross your fingers’, or ‘give it a try and see what happens’.



Thankfully, I am one of the lucky parents that do happen to have an amazing workplace. So I am not required to ‘do battle’ or ‘hope for the best’ in getting back in time for my little one today.



But what if I wasn’t so lucky.


-What if you going on tube strike today meant me losing my job? – a life changer perhaps?

-What if you going on tube strike today meant that no one was there to collect my child?


So, whilst you sit there and sulk in silence please do think about all those parents (well everyone really) out there that need you. That need you much more than perhaps you realise.


Was your Tube Strike worth it?



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68 responses to “London Tube Strike”

  1. topfivemum says:

    You’re so right, it’s such an inconvenience for the whole of London. But it’s a lifeline for so many people. How do the emergency services get to work for example? Sometimes I can’t help but think striking is a bit like a toddler sulk. Always wanting more. I’m on mat leave at the moment so thankfully didn’t have to do battle on the tube. But normally I rely on it as much as you for my 3hr round trip commute. Tube + South West Trains do not a good combo make for the working parent. #bigpinklink

  2. oh no that sucks! My hubby has just started a new job and is relying on our rail system now, it does make me a bit nervous about strikes and delays, but we’ll be OK. Still it would be awful if someone couldn’t get to their child. #dreamteam

    • Annette, 3 Little Buttons says:

      Good luck to the hubby with his new job. I think because we both rely on the tube to get to work, it’s pretty full on when they go on strike.

  3. Transport strikes can be so frustrating. I live in a city and don’t drive, so I rely on it to get to work and…well, everywhere. If there’s a train strike I can’t get to my office or take my daughter to nursery. #DreamTeam

    • Annette, 3 Little Buttons says:

      This is exactly why I think they should think about alternative measures to striking. It causes chaos.

  4. Lucy At Home says:

    Uh oh! I bet it was a nightmare in London when this happened! I’m glad your work were understanding but it must’ve been stressful for so many people! #DreamTeam

    • Annette, 3 Little Buttons says:

      Absolutely, even in the twitter feeds you could see footage of what was going on on the travel system. The BBC caught it all very well.

  5. Oh you are so lucky that you have such an understanding workplace – it must be awful for those who don’t – I no longer use the tube for work but it would have left me in a really tricky situation yesterday for sure #DreamTeam

  6. Life Loving says:

    There’s so much of this striking going on. I have no idea whether it is justified or not. I know people who have been held to ransom by the Southern Train Strikes which have been going on for months. It’s caused them misery. I feel for you and echo your post’s sentiment.

    Sally @ Life Loving

    • Annette, 3 Little Buttons says:

      I am sure that most people who go out on strike feel that it is an important cause. Though, on the flip side, there are so many people that would have been effected so negatively as a result. I guess the question would be was it fair of them.

  7. Becky says:

    Living up north means I’ve only ever experienced the tube a couple of times. I do however have quite a few friends who live in London and rely heavily upon the tube. I know a tube strike causes chaos to their lives and they don’t have children!
    Thank goodness your work is understanding!

    • Annette, 3 Little Buttons says:

      Oh to be free of having to use the tube 🙂 The strikes have a huge impact on everyone, it’s not nice to see at all.

  8. Oh the tube strike effects so many people and causes so much chaos! Glad you don’t have to battle the madness today….I don’t either thankfully! #DreamTeam

    • Annette, 3 Little Buttons says:

      Hooraa for us 🙂 Though I did really feel for everyone else having to travel in. Poor hubby ended up having to walk home :-O

  9. Stacey oakes says:

    Oh god when I saw all the people queuing at Liverpool st yesterday I actually laughed because what else can you do! Absolute nightmare. Sadly I don’t think they do think of parents. Hope your journey gets easier #DreamTeam

    • Annette, 3 Little Buttons says:

      The ques were crazy, I couldn’t believe how long they were from the footage. I thought it was a joke the first time round I saw it.

  10. Cathryn says:

    I can’t imagine how annoying it must be to not be able to get to and from work. It should be such a simple thing but something like a strike can just mess it up so badly!


    • Annette, 3 Little Buttons says:

      You are right, it should be a simple thing. I think so many people need to use the underground so it’s bound to cause total chaos when it’s not running as it should. Stikes are the worst.

  11. It must be a nightmare for you. I love your illustrations and amusing witty post, but there is a serious side to this too running beneath the surface and it is really disrupting peoples lives. #BigPinkLink

    • Annette, 3 Little Buttons says:

      Aww thanks so much. Yes, there is an important issue here and whilst it’s true that the strikes are not every week, they can effect people’s lives in huge ways and I am sure it goes unseen mostly.

  12. This is really funny!
    I think the tube needs an ass kicking

  13. Lucy grace says:

    Ugh… a strike causes such a mess isn’t it? We live near brighton and the train strike has caused terrible havoc for so many. I don’t even use the trains but its impacted on life because the amount of cars on the road has dramatically increased due to people having to drive to work instead. Feel for all involved, hope it all works out for them soon. Xx #dreamteam

    • Annette, 3 Little Buttons says:

      Yes, I completely forgot about the extra cars on the road. It was jam packed. Though I don’t know anyone who would have attempted the drive in, it’s pretty ruthless at the best of times. x

  14. Petite Words says:

    Love your witty posts, and I can imagine your pain. When I was in China it was even busier, is that’s possible, I’ve literally held a box of donuts over my head just to squeeze in. You can manage that, but strikes… what a nightmare… #DreamTeam

    • Annette, 3 Little Buttons says:

      Thanks so much. Strikes are an absolute nightmare. I can do busy, it’s just when there are no trains at all it’s a problem. Can picture the donuts over your head 🙂

  15. Good post! I really struggle with tube strikes. I ‘get’ that people need fair treatment and sometimes businesses do what they want unless they are held to account. But unions feel so antiquated now. Strikes like this just feel like blackmail. Democratic forums used in many other workplaces seem to bring a better balance. There is a fine line between getting rid of people just to make profit and removing roles where the job is no longer commercially viable. I do miss having the option to talk to a person in stations when I have an issue. But otherwise I use auto top-up and beep in and out unaided. My friends use the machines to self-top-up.

    What’s upsetting is the people who are striking to save their jobs are having a massive financial impact on the economy for that single day! It’s just making the whole thing worse.

    I do love watching the news to see them hunt down the most dramatic commuters ever though. Sadly nothing has yet beaten the London snow incident (2009-10 ish). One guy they interviewed about the lack of snow ploughs came out with: “It’s disgusting. I mean it’s like living in a third world country.”. He definitely needed a reality check…. (Sorry, I digressed!)


    • Annette, 3 Little Buttons says:

      Thank you! Yes, strikes and no service because of the weather really does bring out the worst in everyone. And along with that come the inappropriate (and sometime funny) remarks. There are so many tangents to consider with strikes, I just wish it didn’t have to come down to striking in the first place.

  16. So good that your workplace are understanding in circumstances like this – what a total pain for everyone who relies on the service! I love the tube too but I can imagine how frustrated I would be if I’d been affected yesterday. #DreamTeam

  17. I’m lucky that I don’t get the tube, but I do really feel for parents who have to get home to collect their children but can’t because of tube strikes. Parents who have to use their precious annual leave to take the day off work just to ensure their child isn’t left abandoned at nursery/school. I get why the strikes happen, but surely there must be some other way to get their point across without disrupting thousands of people?

  18. Oh wow I can’t even imagine how inconvenient that must be when you rely on the tube to get out! I drive everywhere but if ever my car is in the garage I am completely lost, having your means of transport taken away is awful! #dreamteam

  19. it must be so hard, I can’t imagine what a nightmare it must be if you rely on the tube. Hope it gets easier soon x

  20. Lianne says:

    You should definitely send them this! 🙂 Lucky you have an understanding workplace! #dreamteam

  21. Helena says:

    I can certainly imagine how stressful it may be to travel from a – z and get there in time let alone be there for a child too. It’s great that you have an understanding work place so many are not so lucky. #DreamTeam

  22. Great post. I certainly don’t miss the daily misery of London during rush hour, especially when there is yet another strike going on. It was bad enough back when I was carefree and childless, I can’t begin to imagine how hard it is as a parent x

  23. I love taking the underground when I’m in town but they had a strike when I was there last as well! Not fun :-/

  24. Mother of 3 says:

    I can’t even imagine how awful that must be!

  25. I just cannot imagine the chaos this has caused, it must be a nightmare!


  26. Kate Holmes says:

    Strikes always leave me in two minds as so cause folks grief but then presumably folks would not go on strike if they did nto feel they were getting grief. You wrote this post in a very clever way and if those pics are yours, what a talent!

  27. Although I don’t have to get through the tube to get to meet childcare collection deadlines, I do have to battle my way through traffic like a zoomy futuristic thing in a sci-fi film. I feel your pain! Thanks for hosting #DreamTeam

  28. Ughhh it’s a tough one isn’t it? Thank goodness for your workplace being so chilled. Hate the disruption, but do understand it to *some* degree…

  29. Emma says:

    Oh goodness, so glad you’re work place is understanding and flexible so you didn’t have to suffer on Monday 🙁 I don’t even know what this latest strike is about – living in Bonnie Scotland (and not in Glasgow where the only tube operates!) in the country, I don’t have to contend with public transport – just tractors, pheasant dodging and occasionally a cow. Seriously though, I do have an hour long commute in traffic, which I have been dreading as it’s my first week back to work, but I did find myself thinking about everyone in London on Monday as it was on the radio. As I don’t have the full knowledge of the situation I can’t comment fully, but I do think it seems the strike is selfish and the effect on so many people is just not fair. The chaos, stress and knock on effects aren’t fair on the people who have done nothing wrong. Hope there’s no more to come and your commute runs smoothly! x

  30. Great post! Love the illustrations. One of the many reasons I decided to become self employed was the horrendous commute and complicated dash across London, which if any delays or strikes would mean I’d be crazy late for childminder pick up, stressed and out of pocket having to pate late fees. Gah well done for surviving this weeks strike. Yvadney #DreamTeam

  31. I thank my lucky stars I don’t live in London because every time I’ve visited in the past the Tube has completely blown my mind. On several occasions I’ve had to ask little old ladies to tell me where I am and how to get where I’m going. I can’t imaging what it’s like trying to navigate it with a small person in tow!

  32. Jeannette says:

    I don’t even want to imagine the chaos. I did a lot of work in London and would never have accomplished anything if it wasn’t for the fact that I can get around. Good luck. Hopefully it is sorted out quickly. #Dreamteam

  33. Mrs Lighty says:

    Hello! Just popping back from #DreamTeam! I’ve already told you Mr Lighty’s saga and I agree with you totally on this. I think sometimes they ought to think more on the working conditions they are imposing on others, i.e. putting them in difficult childcare positions, losing a day’s earnings if they are self employed and decide they can’t make the journey, or facing disciplinary action of they are late because of the strike xxx

  34. I can only imagine how chaotic things must have been? I haven’t been to London all that often but from what I’ve seen the whole city must literally come to a standstill it the tube isn’t running? Things are just so much more difficult when you have little ones that you need to get to aren’t they? Children don’t understand and childminder’s can’t make it their problem but what can you do if you’re stuck! You’ve captured this all so perfectly Annette. xx #DreamTeam

  35. what a nightmare! I hope it’s over soon. #DreamTeam

  36. I don’t know what I’d have done in your situation! I drive to/from work. Sometimes, if the traffic is bad I really freak out about not getting to nursery in time. On ocassion I’ve been sitting in stationary traffic thinking about ditching the car and just running! Not cool! #dreamteam

  37. That is such an infuriating inconvenience. I agree hugely that striking is like a sulking toddler-when you offer a service, it needs to always be on offer, through payment spats or whatever it is these people strike over! I used to be a nurse, and we were offered the choice to strike once-but not one single person from my ward chose to, because we were actual nice human beings who cared about the consequences of our actions! Like you say, the consequences of a lost job, or uncollected child, could be catastrophic. X

  38. I can only imagine your struggle but it sounds super stressful.I’m glad it had a happy ending but what a nightmare for parents.I feel anxious just thinking about it!Pass the Wine! #DReamTeam

  39. When I worked in London I could jump on the overheads to get to work. But now i work in Chelmsford I rely on a bus and this friday its forecast to snow. I dont know how that will happen as I’m pretty sure they’ll be cancelled! eeek! Fingers crossed #dreamteam

  40. I had no idea that this was going on. I suppose one never knows how much we depend on public transit until it’s not available to us! I can only imagine the enormous impact that a strike would have on the city…..

  41. What a pain for people and seeing the queues at the bus stop on the news look like a right royal pain X #dreamteam

  42. Oh, I could not imagine having to deal with such a thing. I live in a town where the only public transportation is taxis. Best of luck to you and EVERYONE affected by this. #dreamteam

  43. This must be so frustrating. As someone who is working class, I know I’m supposed to support strikes but I just can’t get on board with them. It’s like a child having a tantrum because they can’t get their own way. I always think if you don’t like the terms, don’t sign the contract. Using other people as pawns to get their own way is just wrong!
    Thanks for linking up to #BloggerClubUK 🙂

  44. Michelle says:

    My sister commutes to London from Bedford and I don’t know how she does it everyday. Its shocking how awful the service is for how much it costs #dreamteam

  45. Jaki says:

    I often wonder where I’d be now if I had taken the job in London I was offered when I was 19. Whilst I loved the hustle and bustle back then, that was in a different lifetime. I’m grateful I can dart about in my car across the countryside, to get to where I need to be these days. It must be hard being reliant on things out of your control. #dreamteam

  46. Uck poor you. The tube is one of the reasons why I could not live in London I’m afraid, i’m too much of a country girl. We have been once with my daughter in a stroller and I was pretty stressed going up and down the escalators. I am in awe of parents who do it, but I suppose if it’s all you’ve ever done you’d be used to it. #DreamTeam

  47. I’m still on mat leave so didn’t suffer from the latest strike but this is one of the reasons why I want to work from home or at a rented office nearby. As much as I can understand why people want to strike, it doesn’t mean I want the strikes to happen several times a year lol.. surely their working conditions, pay, etc can’t be that bad! #DreamTeam

  48. James Hopes says:

    So glad I don’t have to rely on public transport for work these days. At least with cars they tend not to go on strike much – although traffic jams are another matter entirely #DreamTeam

  49. I watched the news from here in Malta obviously annoyed on behalf of people who, like you were so inconvenienced, but try enduring a three WEEK strike in freezing December temperatures. Yep that was me back in 1995 in Paris. I will remember what we all went through for as long as I live. Bloody awful on multiple levels. Love the gif and the illustration! #dreamteam

  50. Totally agree how you feel on this. My daddy was stuck in London that day and couldn’t get on the buses so had to walk to appointments, making him super late and his clients angry. A bad day. Now he tries to avoid london on strike days! #DreamTeam x

  51. I can’t even imagine how much chaos the strikes cause in London. Gah! I’m stressed even thinking about it! #DreamTeam

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