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21.05.15

Train drivers union balloting for strike over night Tube

Tube drivers are to ballot for strike action in a dispute over pay for new all-night services.

ASLEF, the train drivers’ union, is to ballot its members on London Underground in a dispute over pay and the company’s decision to try to force through new rosters which would mean Tube drivers will have to work an unlimited number of weekend and night shifts for no extra pay.

The union said it has been told that unless drivers agree to the rosters, which include all night services on Friday and Saturday nights, they will be imposed and no pay offer will be made this year.

Finn Brennan, ASLEF’s district organiser, said: “LUL has closed down the negotiations and written to us to say that they intend to go ahead and implement new rosters, with unlimited weekend and night shifts, without agreement. The only discussion they have offered are ʻworkshops’ on the fine details of their plan.

“Our members are entitled to a family life and to some sort of work/life balance. We aren’t opposed to all-night services but we want them introduced in a fair and sensible way which rewards staff for their hard work and the contribution they make to the success of the London Underground.

“Sadly, because the company refuses to negotiate seriously, we are left with no other choice than to ballot our members on industrial action.”

However Nick Brown, COO for London Underground, has disputed ASLEF’s take on events.

“We have been in discussions with our trade unions since February and we have recently invited them for further talks facilitated by Acas. To suggest that we’ve closed down negotiations is completely untrue and it is extremely disappointing the co-ordinated response by the unions has been to announce their intention to ballot members,” he said.

“Talks have not broken down and we are committed to reaching an agreement that rewards our hardworking staff that is affordable, sustainable and fair. 

“We know our employees want to play their part in delivering a world class and modern Tube service for Londoners, and reaching an agreement on this will allow us to work together to deliver a Night Tube service that works for the benefit of the people of London and the economy.”

LU also released the details of their most recent offer to the union. It includes a two-year settlement (from 1 April 2015 to 31 March 2017) with a consolidated increase on all basic annual salaries for LU employees of 0.75% for the first year and matching RPI inflation for the second.

Employees from the chief operating office and the capital programmes directorate would also receive a £500 non-consolidated payment 

Around 80% of all London Underground drivers are members of ASLEF. The last time the union took strike action on London Underground in a dispute over pay and conditions was 13 years ago, in 2002.

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