Tube strike suspended but 'we are not out of the woods'

 

Unions have called off this week’s Tube strikes after progress in talks, however the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) has rescheduled with dates in September.

Members of Unite, Transport Salaried Staffs' Association (TSSA) and RMT all announced the joint industrial actions over the Night Tube arrangements have been suspended.

However RMT has told Underground bosses that the union ‘remains in dispute and further strike action will be taken on the 8th and 10th September’.

‘RMT has also made it clear that the union will take further industrial action if there are moves to run test trains or if there is any attempt to impose Night Tube operations,’ the union said ‎

RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: ‘Our negotiators have been able to make enough significant progress in talks at ACAS over pay, jobs and Night Tube to allow us to suspend this week’s strike dates. We have still not reached a final agreement and as a result we are putting on additional strike action on next month. In the meantime, the talks process will continue.'

The train drivers’ union Aslef, which had been involved in earlier strike action had never committed to the strikes this week.

A double wave of 24-hour joint strikes had been scheduled from 18:30 on 25 Tuesday August and 18:30 on Thursday 27 August.

Union bosses had raised concerns primarily about work-life balance following the planned introduction of 24-hour services on Fridays and Saturdays from 12 September on the Jubilee, Piccadilly, Central, Northern and Victoria lines.

Unite regional officer, Hugh Roberts, said: ‘There are still some remaining sticking points, but we feel sufficient progress has been made to suspend industrial action as an act of goodwill.

‘We will continue to approach talks with London Underground in a positive manner. We trust that London Underground management seize this opportunity to reach a deal that fully addresses our members’ concerns and secures a successful future for night running on the Tube.’

TSSA leader Manuel Cortes said he was ‘extremely pleased’ with the progress but warned ‘we are not out of the woods yet’.

‘A number of issues need to be resolved before our dispute is finally settled. We will therefore announce future strike dates in due course although we remain hopeful that further talks will soon result in a negotiated settlement,’ he added.

Transport for London was not available for comment at the time of writing.

Labour’s London Assembly transport spokesperson, Val Shawcross AM said: 'Thus far the mayor has been far too absent in this dispute. Londoners will remember that Boris Johnson was quick to claim the credit when announcing the Night Tube, but the second things got tricky he was nowhere to be seen.

'There are now less than three weeks to go until the Night Tube is due to start. The mayor needs to be straight with Londoners if that date is no longer viable, as further uncertainty could well mean businesses who are expecting the Night Tube to be running for the Rugby World Cup, are left out of pocket.'

 
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