THE trade unions have won round one of the Night Tube war.
London Underground announced yesterday that the launch date of London’s Night Tube is to be delayed ‘to allow more time’ for talks with the trade unions. RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: ‘RMT welcomes this move which is what we have been calling for ever since we went into dispute over the Night Tube issue.
‘We warned repeatedly that it would be dangerous and foolish to press ahead with bodged Night Tube plans until the very basics in terms of staffing and safety had been agreed with the unions through the long-established frameworks. This move by TfL proves that our members were right to strike and were right to warn the public about the consequences of the mad rush to introduce the Mayor’s Night Tube plans without agreement.
‘The fact that the plans have now been suspended indefinitely to some vague date “in the autumn” is clearly a massive embarrassment to both Boris Johnson and George Osborne but gives us an opportunity to now get the basics that should have been sorted months ago worked out through direct negotiation. In the meantime, our action scheduled for early September remains on.’
On Monday a further two 24-hour Tube strikes planned for this week were called off after discussions between LU managers and the RMT, Aslef, TSSA and Unite unions. Also welcoming the delayed launch, Aslef general secretary Mick Whelan said: ‘It has to be done in a way that works for London Underground, for passengers, and also for the drivers who deliver this service every day.’
LU managing director Nick Brown said yesterday: ‘Further to the progress made in recent days with the trade unions and the suspension of strike action, we believe we are not far from an agreement that protects the work-life balance of our employees and is affordable, sustainable and fair.
‘As such, we have decided to defer the introduction of Night Tube to allow more time for those talks to conclude. Our objective is to reach an agreement that ends this dispute and delivers the Night Tube for Londoners this autumn.’