‘Outrageous discrimination’ – Tube workers strike ballot opens

RMT and TSSA Tube strikers on the picket line at King’s Cross last month
RMT and TSSA Tube strikers on the picket line at King’s Cross last month

‘IT IS outrageous that London Underground have decided to discriminate against their Night Tube drivers,’ RMT General Secretary Mick Cash said yesterday as the ballot opened for Night Tube drivers to take strike action.

Night Tube drivers are been prevented from moving into vacant full-time positions for a period of at least 18 months. All other staff, including part-time Night Tube Station Staff are eligible to apply, but Night Tube Train drivers are not! Cash continued: ‘This is a senseless and damaging policy that picks out one group of staff for negative treatment and of course the drivers are angry and that is why we are balloting for action.

‘RMT would call on LU to see sense, stop these stupid attacks on career progression and fair reward for overtime working and confirm that this discrimination against the Night Tube drivers has been lifted.’

In addition, LUL has advised that Night Tube Train Operators do not attract the overtime rate of pay until they exceed 35 hours in a week. As Night Tube Train Operators are currently contracted to only 16 hours, they are prevented from being compensated for any late finish due to, for example, service disruption.

Meanwhile guards working on the Southern railway are to begin their next phase of strike action tomorrow. The RMT has rightly accused Southern Rail of ‘bullying and intimidating’ its staff after the company sent a letter out to Southern workers urging them not to join in Wednesday’s strike.

Tomorrow’s 24 hour strike is the 29th strike since the bitter dispute to keep the guards on the trains started nearly a year ago.

Angie Doll, Southern’s passenger services director, said in the letter: ‘It would be a great shame if this progress was lost due to further industrial action. If you do participate in the industrial action you will be unpaid for any shift that you are rostered to work. I would like to remind you that taking part in strike action will put you in breach of contract. Furthermore we will consider applying additional individual sanctions should RMT call further action in which you participate.’

RMT leader Cash said: ‘Instead of getting back into serious talks, Southern Rail have gone back to a campaign of threats, bullying and intimidation of their staff who are doing nothing more than standing up for passenger safety. It is disgraceful behaviour. RMT’s action remains on and we will not bend to these kind of disgusting dirty tricks from a company that puts private profit before public safety.’