As the clock ticks down on another round of devastating Tube strike action, there are indications that the two sides are inching towards a resolution.
Any deal may come too late to prevent the two days of strike action – August 25 and August 27 – but there are more conciliatory noises coming from the quartet of rail unions – RMT, Aslef, TSSA and Unite.
There could even be a limited service on the two strike days – August 25 and August 27 – as Aslef, which represents the majority of drivers, has suspended its participation.
Talks between London Underground management and the unions broke up on Wednesday (August 19) without resolution but conciliation service Acas says they will start up on Thursday (August 20) and continue into the next day.
TSSA leader Manuel Cortes said: “The talks have been progressive so far and we hope to continue them into next week in the hope of getting a fair and honourable settlement to both sides.
“There is now a framework in place to progress all the issues which hopefully means that, in the near future, Londoners will be able to benefit from the new night Tube service.
“This will take time but with good will on both sides, there is hope at last that this may be resolved.”
Steve Griffiths, London Underground's chief operating officer, said: "Our customers and London's businesses want to see this dispute resolved."
The dispute centres on the introduction of the Night Tube service, which would cover the Jubilee line. Unions are unhappy with the “work-life” implications of a 24 hour Tube while the management has offered assurances about working hours and time off as well as bonuses for the introduction of the all-weekend service.
Workers are losing between £200 and £400 each time they take strike action and there indications that the project won't hit its Sepember 12 launch date.