Latest Rail News

14.03.17

RMT votes overwhelmingly in favour of Night Tube strike

The RMT union is due to announce the result of a ballot this afternoon for either strike or action short of a strike on the Night Tube, meaning the capital’s 24-hour service could be plagued with further delays just six months after its opening date.

Night Tube members of the Aslef union are also expected to reveal the results of their own ballot on Thursday.

In late February, RMT decided to ballot its member over a “block of career progression which has been imposed by London Underground (LU)”. According to the union, “blatantly discriminatory policy” from management meant Night Tube drivers have been “prevented from moving into vacant full-time positions for a period of at least 18 months”.

All other staff are eligible to apply, including part-time Night Tube station staff, but operators are not – a move the union branded “outrageous”.

RMT also claimed that because overtime rate of pay only applies when staff exceed 35 hours in a week, drivers, whose contracts are currently listed as 16 hours, are not eligible for compensation for late finishes.

Calling the policy “senseless and damaging”, the union’s general secretary, Mick Cash, decided to ballot members whilst calling on LU to “stop these stupid attacks on career progression”.

The union’s office told us that the ballot decision is due around midday, but did not reveal what result it was anticipating.

Aslef district organiser Finn Brennan, however, told the Evening Standard that his union expects a “big yes”, but confirmed that they are in talks with management and “hope we can settle this without industrial action”.

If either union votes to strike, it could signal further trouble for a service already plagued with delay since its genesis. The Night Tube, which was originally due to start in September 2015, attracted much controversy from the unions over what they perceived was a “botched” staffing deal.

RMT, Aslef and even TSSA jumped back and forth between the Acas round table and station picket lines to discuss the details of London’s all-night rail service – until a deal was finally agreed and the scheme opened in August last year, under a new mayor’s supervision.

UPDATE

RMT members have voted by over 96% in favour of strike action, and by over 98% in favour of action short of a strike. 

The results of the ballot will now be considered by the union's executive committee, which will decide the next course of action.

(Top image c. TfL)

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