A 24-hour strike by London Underground staff began at 6pm on Sunday (8 January), despite Transport for London offering a deal to the TSSA and RMT unions. There were no details of the offer made to stop the strike action in protest at plans to close ticket offices.

Mass closures and disruption are expected at central London Tube stations. Up to 4,000 station and ticket staff will walk out in the dispute over job losses and the closures of ticket offices.

On Saturday, the RMT, the biggest rail union, walked out of talks with TfL being held at Acas, the conciliation service. John Leach said the talks had "failed" and the strike by the RMT would go ahead.

"The unsafe practices and pressure on staff and passengers have to be resisted and will be," he said.

Mick Cash, general secretary of the RMT said: "Despite huge efforts by the union negotiating team London Underground have failed to come up with any serious plans to tackle the staffing and safety crisis caused by the axing of nearly 900 safety-critical station jobs.

"Instead of resolving the issues Tube bosses have chosen instead to ramp up the rhetoric with threats to mobilise a strike-breaking army of 'ambassadors' with severe consequences for the current safety regime across the Tube network," said Cash.

"As a result of the management failure to face up to the current crisis the talks have collapsed and all industrial actions remains on. It is up to London Underground to take full responsibility for this situation and to come back to us with a serious set of proposals. "

TSSA union members have also rejected the London Underground offer, reaffirming their commitment to the 24-hour strike action and also leaving an overtime ban in place.

"Our reps have decided to go ahead with our 24-hour strike action at 6pm today," TSSA General Secretary Manuel Cortes said. "Whilst they accept the offer of more staff is a step in the right direction to restoring Tube safety standards, they do not believe the offer will return those standards with the urgency that is now needed. We remain committed to taking part in further talks to seek a resolution to this dispute."

On Tuesday (10 January), the RMT will ballot staff on Arriva Rail North, which operates the Northern network for strike action over a pay dispute.

An industry source told the Sunday Times that the purpose of the vote was to "soften up" Arriva for the "real battle" over driver-only trains.

Micky Thompson, RMT's chief negotiator on Northern said: "It's regrettable … unless we sit down and address this correctly in a genuine fashion it's inevitable that it will end up in a trade dispute."

Monday's strike action will "cripple" the Underground, Colin Stanbridge, chief executive of the London Chamber of Commerce warned.