RMT union says it is planning weekend strikes which will affect regular services
Return of the Night Tube may not be smooth
A dispute over pay and conditions for drivers on London’s Underground Night Tube is threatening to disrupt the rest of the network over the Christmas period.
The RMT union have announced its intention to take strike action on a number of weekends in the run up to the holiday.
The Night Tube is due to resume on two of the five lines it was originally introduced on – the Victoria and Central lines – on 27 November.
However the RMT have now instructed its members not to sign on for duty on the Night Tube from Friday 26 November and three subsequent weekends. The unions says that TfL are making “unacceptable and intolerable demands” on its members in asking them to do shifts on the Night Tube.
Before the services was suspended, around 200 part-time drivers had operated the trains but now these posts have been subsumed into the regular tube workforce. The RMT says its members are being ordered to do night shifts causing disruption to their work-life balance but TfL says that drivers would only be expected to work up to four Night Tube shifts a year.
RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said, “No one has worked harder to ensure a safe environment for women on London Underground than the RMT. While Tube bosses have axed staff and left stations routinely unstaffed, with all of the obvious risks, we have campaigned relentlessly for the front line, physical presence of visible staff on stations and platforms. We are now being repaid by the imposition of working arrangements that would wreck the work-life balance of our members.
“All of this was avoidable if the Tube management hadn’t axed dedicated Night Tube staff and perfectly workable arrangements in order to cut staffing numbers and costs. “
Plans for a boost to the capital’s night-time economy with the reintroduction of the Night Tube on the underground, along with the return of the Night Overground on 17 December, now look set to be thwarted.
A petition demanding the restart of the services had been signed by over 150,000 with many pointing out the Night Tube was particularly valuable for women needing to get home late in the evening.
The London Assembly has passed a motion from Tory member Emma Best calling for the Mayor to set dates for the reopening of the three other Night Tube lines – the Northern, Piccadilly and Jubilee.
The RMT has described the Night Tube as a ‘magnet for violent, abusive and anti-social behaviour’ and says its members have been betrayed by the Mayor and TfL.
The action planned by the RMT would include a 24-hour walkout on all five Night Tube lines - the Victoria, Central, Northern, Jubilee and Piccadilly – during the day on Friday 26 November. This would be following by a walkout on the Victoria and Central lines from 8.30pm on Saturday 27 November to Sunday 28 November.
The weekend walkouts would be staged on the Central and Victoria lines on both the Fridays and Saturdays of the two subsequent weekends, 3-4 December and 10-11 December, and on Friday 17 December.
The action would conclude on Saturday 18 December - the Saturday before Christmas with a 24-hour walkout on all five lines again, starting at 4.30am. This was expected to be the biggest shopping day of the year.
Nick Dent, director of London Underground customer operations, said, “We are disappointed that the RMT is threatening London with this unnecessary action.
“The positive changes to Tube driver rosters have provided greater flexibility for drivers as well as permanent work and job certainty, something welcomed by all other unions.
“We have been meeting with the RMT for a number of months through ACAS to try and resolve their issues and we remain open to talking further.”
Sadiq Khan, said, “I know how important the return of the Night Tube is to London’s night-time economy, to our city’s recovery and to the confidence and safety of everyone travelling home at night, particularly women and girls.
“That is why I’m so determined to re-start night services. The unnecessary strike action threatened by RMT would delay many Londoners having another option to travel home safely at night and would hold our city back at a time when our culture and hospitality sectors have been devastated by the pandemic.
“I call on the RMT to call off these strikes, come back to the table and work with TfL to bring back full Night Tube services on these lines.”
At the same time another dispute is brewing over planned changes to TfL staff pensions which the government are asking for as a condition of the financial bailout packaged for London’s transport network. Drivers’ union Aslef says it has balloted its members and received overwhelming support for industrial action.
Like Reading Articles Like This? Help Us Produce More
This site remains committed to providing local community news and public interest journalism.
Articles such as the one above are integral to what we do. We aim to feature as much as possible on local societies, charities based in the area, fundraising efforts by residents, community-based initiatives and even helping people find missing pets.
We’ve always done that and won’t be changing, in fact we’d like to do more.
However, the readership that these stories generates is often below that needed to cover the cost of producing them. Our financial resources are limited and the local media environment is intensely competitive so there is a constraint on what we can do.
We are therefore asking our readers to consider offering financial support to these efforts. Any money given will help support community and public interest news and the expansion of our coverage in this area.
A suggested monthly payment is £8 but we would be grateful for any amount for instance if you think this site offers the equivalent value of a subscription to a daily printed newspaper you may wish to consider £20 per month. If neither of these amounts is suitable for you then contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we can set up an alternative. All payments are made through a secure web site.
One-off donations are also appreciated. Choose The Amount You Wish To Contribute.
If you do support us in this way we’d be interested to hear what kind of articles you would like to see more of on the site – send your suggestions to the editor.
For businesses we offer the chance to be a corporate sponsor of community content on the site. For £30 plus VAT per month you will be the designated sponsor of at least two articles a month with your logo appearing if supplied. If there is a specific community group or initiative you’d like to support we can make sure your sponsorship is featured on related content for a one off payment of £50 plus VAT. All payments are made through a secure web site.
November 17, 2021