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04.08.15

Unions to go ahead with Tube strike tomorrow

RMT has rejected the latest Night Tube offer from London Underground during talks at Acas yesterday (3 August).

Strikes will therefore begin as planned tomorrow afternoon (5 August) across all grades and all lines.

Trade union representatives were “furious” to find out that the new proposals were just a “re-hash of previous plans” and would continue “along the course of smashing up long-standing agreements and destroying work and life balance in the interests of delivering the mayor’s ill-conceived Night Tube vanity project”.

RMT general secretary, Mick Cash, said in a statement that the latest offer “does nothing to tackle the core issue which revolves around staff being at the beck and call of management to be hauled in during their free time to try and plug the staffing gaps”.

He added: “RMT is also deeply concerned that the talks are being conducted by people who have no background on the Tube and no understanding of how processes and logistics work. That is deeply worrying and a major departure from when the combine was managed by people with a deep-seated knowledge of the railway.

“The Night Tube plan has been botched from the off. The basics haven’t been done and those who will pay for this shambles will not only be our members but the London daily travelling public who cough up a fortune and who will find their safety and the reliability of the service compromised from 12 September onwards.”

Despite RMT being determined to renew their campaign in an effort to inform the public of “the heavy price” that commuters will pay in terms of safety, it is also prepared to continue talking.

However they continue to question the feasibility of night services starting without ‘adequate’ risk assessments or appropriate staffing arrangements. RMT has also warned of the “potential nightmare” of having passengers head to work on Monday morning “as the consequences of running flat-out for nearly three days without a break become only too clear”.

LU said it has put forward a revised pay offer to the unions in settle the disputes over “pay, Night Tube and changes to modernise customer services at stations”. Representatives said there could not be an increase in the original pay offer, but explained they had tried to “re-shape” it to appease workers’ concerns over work-life balance.

Steve Griffiths, chief operations officer at LU, said: “After listening to the unions, we put forward an extremely fair revised offer, which addresses their concerns over work-life balance and rewards our people for the hard work they do in keeping London working and growing.

“Despite this, the new offer has been rejected outright by the union leadership, again without consulting its members. We continue to urge them to put the new offer to their members and not subject Londoners to further unnecessary disruption.”

The company also criticised the demands of the unions to hire more staff “including for ticket offices that customers no longer use”.

They have put forward a new offer including an average 2% salary increase this year and 1% or inflation for 2016 and 2017.

LU has also offered extra payments including £500 for staff on Night Tube lines and stations serving them once the service is introduced on 12 September, as well as £200 for drivers in Night Tube shifts during its introduction.  A further £500 will be offered as staff bonus for the ‘successful’ completion of their modernisation programme by February next year.

It reiterated its commitment to staff by assuring that no one will work more hours than they do today to run the Night Tube, with every worker still being entitled to two days off per week and time off between shifts. An extra 345 jobs will also be introduced to help run stations for the Night Tube.

Annual leave will remain “significantly above the national average” at 43 days for train operators and 52 for members of the station staff.  Drivers on the Night Tube will also be able to opt out of working night shifts next year.

Rail union Aslef also rejected the repackaged offer from LU, saying it lacks “firm commitments” to work-life balance guarantees for train drivers, including the number of weekend rest days they will have under the interim and long-term arrangements for the Night Tube.

As a result they will go ahead with strike action from 9.30pm tomorrow, 5 August. Members of RMT, Unite and TSSA will strike from 6.30pm on the same day.

Finn Brennan, ASLEF district organiser, said: “Vague phrases like ‘will seek to mitigate’ and ‘will explore’ are simply unconvincing. The sensible option would be to postpone the launch date to allow for an agreed way forward to be reached. But once again, management are being completely inflexible and are refusing to negotiate on their offer.”

The RMT had previously walked out of talks on 21 July after concerns over safety at both Upminster and Stonebridge Park depots. Tomorrow’s strike action will also come less than a month after four unions staged a 24-hour strike on 8 July.

Passengers are advised to complete their journeys by 6.30pm tomorrow and TfL has said there will be no service on Thursday, 6 August. Extra bus and river services will run to help commuters but public transport will be much busier than usual.

Comments

Simonj   04/08/2015 at 12:22

Nice to see the overpaid and underworked members of the RMT and ASLEEP can afford to go on strike. Meanwhile all their Union Officials remain on full pay of course.

John Clark   04/08/2015 at 12:56

Maintenance can only be carried out between approx 01.30hrs to 04.30 hrs now. Train running at night will allow no maintenance time. who brainless idea was it to trains at night.

Neil Palmer   05/08/2015 at 04:20

If this really was about "work and life balance", safety concerns, etc. why don't " Mick (all I really want is more) Cash" and his fellow union leaders simply refuse to work night tube shifts until this is settled, instead of royally pi**ing off the public yet again with an all out strike, and taking pay out of his members wages for yet another pointless strike? Of course "Mick (I'm paid by the suckers in the union so I won't lose any of my) Cash" doesn't give a toss about his worker ants losing their pay.

Scottie   05/08/2015 at 13:48

Just union bashing and slinging names around will not resolve this Dispute. I am a long suffering member of the would be travelling public with no axe to grind or political statement to make. London Underground has been planning the Night Tube for two years, they have left arrangements till the 23rd hour and are now panicking ! Just attempting to bully the workforce won't succeed, as ordinary Londoner's are paying the price. The fact is despite a growing economy there are plenty of ordinary Folk who would jump at the chance of being a tube train driver ! London Underground should have planned properly from the outset and asked which existing drivers were willing to drive the night tube. The shortfall could have been filled by new drivers recruited specifically for the night tube only. There was ample time for training new drivers if this had been planned properly from the outset. The necessary additional funding to pay for this should be found by Boris Johnson after all this is HIS pet project ! On this occasion just don't blame the trade unions, London Underground management are sadly to blame for this dispute !

Neil Palmer   05/08/2015 at 15:11

Scottie, TfL recruited 137 new drivers for the night tube: https://tfl.gov.uk/campaign/message-to-london-from-mike-bro?intcmp=29696 And now today it is revealed that the rail unions are demanding a 32-hour, four day working week, as another all-out strike looms. This IS simply about union greed and bullying tactics.

Scottie   07/08/2015 at 12:53

Neil Palmer If your comment is 100% accurate about London Underground recruiting 137 new drivers for the night tube. Two points 1) Why are the existing Tube Train Drivers being compelled/Bullied into accepting new contracts/working hours? 2) If 137 "Newly Recruited Drivers" are sufficient to run the new night Tube over the six Tube Lines there is no need to force the existing Drivers to accept new contracts. So if your statement is accurate. There would be no need for this dispute. It would appear to me that London Underground management have indeed left all the necessary arrangements till the 23rd hour and are now panicking. Once again it is the travelling Public who are solely paying the price. Come on Boris, Get off that Ruddy Bike of yours and solve this Dispute. After all, this is all of YOUR making !

Neil Palmer   07/08/2015 at 22:22

TfL have been negotiating with the unions for well over 5 months, not just at the last minute. It's not my statement, follow the link and read it, it's from Mike Brown MVO Managing Director, London Underground There IS no need for a strike over this. The unions just see it as another blackmail opportunity to extort more public money. They said the previous offer was "divisive" because it only applied to those who would work on night tube. That belies the fact they want to extort money for night tube even for employees who won't be affected by it. Pure unadulterated greed.

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