The Night Tube was meant to show that London was a 24 hour city – but they have become just another vehicle for transport unions to prove they can bring the capital to a halt.
London Underground is facing Night Tube stoppages from next month by drivers on the new Night Tube, which sees the Jubilee line run all night Fridays and Saturdays.
Union leaders are believed to be recommending walkouts on two Saturdays - April 8 and 29 – in a row over jobs.
An announcement of ballot figures from Aslef members is due Thursday, March 16 while the RMT has already revealed its members are 9-1 in favour of action.
The Night Tube was delayed for many months because unions were unhappy about “quality of life” issues. In response London Underground offered more money, assurances over shifts and employed a special cadre of part-time Night Tube drivers who are contracted to work 16 hours a week.
Source of friction
Now unions have turned their own agreement into another source of friction and are complaining that Night Tube drivers are unable to take up full-time jobs across the rest of the network for 18 months after joining, calling this blatant discrimination.
Finn Brennan, Aslef’s London Underground district organiser, said: “The vast majority of Night Tube drivers took up the job because they saw it as a stepping stone to a full-time train driver’s job.
“They believed LU’s assurances that they would have opportunities to progress, not to just spend year after year working every Friday and Saturday night.”
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “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 our members have voted overwhelmingly for action.”
Keep on talking
Peter McNaught, operations director for London Underground, said: “Night Tube services have been running since August last year in line with agreements reached with the unions.
“We’ve met with the unions to discuss and resolve the new issues that they have. We have invited the unions to more talks this week and I encourage them to continue discussions with us rather than threaten industrial action.”
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