Night Tube debacle sees three more 24-hour strikes planned

 

Unions have called three days of further strike action on London Underground over the issue of pay and the planned Night Tube services.

The first 24 hour strike is scheduled from the evening of 26 January and ASLEF and the RMT unions have also called 24-hour strikes from the evening of the 15 February and again from the evening of the 17 February.

This is the latest in a wave of action against the planned Night Tube services on London Underground, which would see 24-hour services run on certain lines at the weekend.

”Local
Silent (Night) Tube: 24-hour service plans cause more 24 walk-outs

RMT has told fleet grade staff to not book shifts from 6.30pm for the start of each strike and all other grades from 9.00pm. Services are expected to be shut down from 9.00pm.

Union members have complained about issues of work life balance, and sought guarantees over working hours and conditions.

ASLEF spokesman, Finn Brennan, said: ‘Our negotiating team last met London Underground at ACAS on 10 November and since then they have refused to talk to us despite repeated requests. Our members have been extremely patient, they have waited for more than three and half years for promised talks on improving work life balance. There is still no indication when they will receive the pay rise that was due last April.

‘When an employer is simply not prepared to talk, then our only option is to take industrial action. We want to see an all-night service introduced, and we are not opposed to the recruitment of part time staff. But we will not accept a zero hour’s culture being introduced and working conditions undermined. ASLEFs want a fair deal for existing staff and for new employees.’

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: ‘This whole situation could have been avoided if London Underground, under direction from the mayor, had dealt with the Night Tube professionally from the off instead of resorting to ultimatums and imposition.

'On the station staffing crisis it is absolutely crazy to be bulldozing through and imposing new rosters linked to the axing of over 800 safety-critical jobs from early next month when there is a heightened security status and when services are dangerously overcrowded across the network. The current plans also rip up previous agreements to protect staff caught in the middle of this reorganisation.’

However, the mayor of London, Boris Johnson branded the move 'sickening and cynical' while Transport for London called the strikes absurd.

Steve Griffiths, chief operating officer for London Underground, said: `Our four year pay offer is extremely fair. As a result of hiring new drivers, who will be on permanent, part-time contracts with the same rates of pay and the same benefits as existing drivers, we've made absolute guarantees that no current driver will have to work the Night Tube unless they want to.

‘This total protection of work-life balance is precisely what ASLEF leaders asked for, so it is astonishing that they are now once again threatening strike action. The truth is that they are making excessive demands for more money, fewer hours and a four day week and expect fare and tax payers to pick up the bill.’

In a statement, TfL said its four year pay offer consists of:

- Year 1 would remain at an average of 2%;

- Years 2 and 3 would remain at RPI or 1%, whichever is greater;

- Year 4 would be RPI plus 0.25%.

- We will also offer a £500 bonus for all staff on Night Tube lines.

· TfL will not be changing any existing terms and conditions through the delivery of the Night Tube.

 

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