Tube Union RMT said that strike action across the network over plans by London Underground to abolish the Night Tube Train Drivers’ grade will go ahead next month after the company refused to make any serious progress in ACAS talks this week.
Following a vote for action late last month and subsequent talks that failed to resolve this issue RMT has instructed members as follows;
All LUL Train Operators are instructed not to book on for any duty:
• Commencing from 12:00 (noon) on 3.8.21 until 11.59 on 4.8.21
• Commencing from 12:00 (noon) on 5.8.21 until 11.59 on 6.8.21
• Commencing from 12:00 (noon) on 24.8.21 until 11.59 on 25.8.21
• Commencing from 12:00 (noon) on 26.8.21 until 11.59 on 27.8.21
LU propose to axe the grade in what the union says is a cash led move aimed at shunting staff around the combine at will which will threaten the loss of 200 jobs and destroy the work life balance of 3000 Tube drivers.
RMT says it entered ACAS talks in good faith this week only to meet a wall of opposition from London Underground who refused point-blank to engage with any constructive proposals aimed at resolving the dispute.
RMT General Secretary Mick Lynch said: “RMT is angry and frustrated at the Tube bosses’ refusal to engage in constructive discussions through the offices of ACAS that could resolve this dispute.
“London Underground’s proposals to rip up an agreement that protects 3000 Tube drivers’ work life balance has caused uproar in the depots amongst drivers.
“This breach of trust by an out of touch management abolishes the part time jobs of workers – mainly women – who rely on the flexibility and security they offer while they juggle other commitments.
“That is an equalities issue that the London Mayor should be taking seriously and raising directly with his London Underground senior management.
“RMT has made serious proposals and a resolution to the dispute is available through discussion. LU Management need to come back to the table this week in order to avoid the need for strike action. The union remains available for serious and constructive talks.”
Responding to the news, Nick Dent, Director of Customer Operations for London Underground, said: “The changes to how we roster our drivers to continue to provide a regular Tube service and create more flexibility for our staff have not resulted in any job losses.
“Our drivers have been vital in keeping the Tube running during the pandemic, ensuring that key workers could move around the city during the lockdowns and helping fuel London’s recovery in more recent weeks. This new arrangement means that all drivers have been given the opportunity for full-time work and long-term job certainty, while Londoners can continue to rely on the regularity of Tube services.
“These changes will allow us to operate both day-to-day Tube services and Night Tube more efficiently, and as our agreement with our other trade unions reflects they will be positive for drivers as well as for customers. It is extremely disappointing that the RMT has decided to announce strike action to disrupt Londoners and the recovery from coronavirus. We remain open to discussions to avoid this unnecessary industrial action.”
Photo credit: Transport for London