TUBE unions’ national executives are meeting today and are expected to announce a further three days of strike action over the Night Tube and ticket office closures.
Central to the dispute is the planned imposition of Night Tube rosters on 7th February and the recruitment of 180 part-time train drivers for the Night Tube without the agreement of the main unions – the RMT, ASLEF, TSSA and Unite.
ASLEF says its national executive is set to sanction three days of strike action ‘because of the failure of London Underground to resolve the dispute on pay and night tube’. The executive is expected to agree a 24-hour strike from 21.14 on Wednesday 27th January followed by two further 24-hour strikes from 21.14 on Monday 15th February and Wednesday 17th February which will lead to a complete shutdown of the Underground.
ASLEF District Organiser Finn Brennan said: ‘Our negotiating team last met London Underground at ACAS on 10th 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 hours culture being introduced and working conditions undermined. ASLEF wants a fair deal for existing staff and for new employees.’
An RMT spokesman confirmed the union’s executive will ‘be taking a report from our London Regional Organiser on the total break down of negotiations on the linked issues of Night Tube and pay’.
In an ‘Every Job Matters/Fit for Future’ update to members on Thursday, RMT London Transport Regional Organiser John Leach said: ‘There are a number of critical outstanding issues of principal:
‘1. There is no agreed new framework agreement
‘2. The proposed rosters do not comply with current agreements or assurances given in negotiations re comparable weekends off
‘3. LUL seek to recruit to all grades from external, in breach of agreements. Denying promotion and career prospects for thousands of tube staff and RMT members
‘4. LUL will not guarantee protection of earnings as per main agreement
‘5. Vacancies on rosters need to be guaranteed to be filled
‘Today I requested LUL put back the implementation of rosters on the three station cover groups to enable proper negotiation to be completed both on the required framework agreement and rosters. Further, we demanded that our hard won agreements be honoured and all protections for members be afforded.
‘I have to report back that the management refused all of the above and further have told me that they will impose these rosters and a new framework agreement, without our agreement on the 7th February.
‘Accordingly, I am reporting this to the RMT’s General Secretary and National Executive committee recommending that we call further industrial action to defend our rights at work and our hard won agreements.’
The RMT is also balloting 1,300 Tube Lines staff who are responsible for maintenance and upgrade work on the Piccadilly, Northern and Jubilee lines.