London 'open for business' despite strikes: Boris Johnson

Reported by Louisa Bojesen, written by Holly Ellyatt
Thursday, 6 Feb 2014 | 3:32 AM ET
London is 'open for business': Boris Johnson
Thursday, 6 Feb 2014 | 5:18 AM ET
As the tube strikes continue for a second day, London's mayor, Boris Johnson tells CNBC that the U.K. capital remains "open for business" and that investors are not scared by these kinds of actions.

London remains "open for business" insists the city's Mayor, Boris Johnson -- despite the transport strike that meant millions of people had their journey to work disrupted for a second day Thursday.

"We're always open for business and you're seeing that in the huge investments coming into London," Boris Johnson told CNBC on Thursday as strikes entered their second day.

Johnson, a member of the ruling Conservative party now serving his second term as the capital's mayor, said the 48-hour strike by London Underground staff would not impact the recovery of the U.K. economy, telling CNBC "nothing that I've seen over the last 24 hours is going to discourage that."

(Read more: UK economy records fastest growth in 6 years)

The mayor claimed that 86 percent of those commuters who use the pre-paid "Oystercard" managed to get to work Wednesday and almost 40 percent of the lines were operating.

"All the signs I'm seeing are that Londoners aren't being deterred," he said, although millions of people struggled to find alternative ways of getting around the city.

Boris Johnson on the upgraded East London Overground line
Dan Kitwood | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Boris Johnson on the upgraded East London Overground line

(Read more: London Mayor Boris Johnson: 'Stop bashing the rich')

The 48-hour strike is in protest at plans to close ticket offices and cut jobs as part of a planned modernization of the London Underground's infrastructure in order to cope with the 1.2 billion passengers it carries every year.

The strike action has prompted strong rhetoric from both sides of the debate with transport unions saying that the job cuts will have severe safety implications. However, Boris Johnson is among those who say the "Tube," the oldest underground system in the world, has to be modernized in order to cope with growing demand.

Current negotiations between the unions and transport bosses to end the strikes have been unsuccessful with both sides accusing the other of not being open to discussions. In the meantime, commuters are set for another bout of transport chaos next week as another 48-hour strike is scheduled.

Transport unions have said they will take part in talks on Friday aimed at resolving the dispute.


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