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30.06.15

All four unions vote to strike in Night Tube row

The RMT, TSSA and Unite unions have joined train drivers in voting for industrial action in a row over pay and the start of the Night Tube service in September. 

The unions are meeting with management this afternoon at Acas in a bid to avert a planned 24-hour strike by London Underground drivers on 8 July

In a ballot on Pay and Night Tube, RMT members voted 91.7% in favour of strike action and 96.5% for action short of a strike. Members of the TSSA voted by a margin of three to one to walk out. The TSSA vote in support of strike action was 76%. The vote in favour of action short of a strike was 88%, and turnout was 44%. 

Manuel Cortes, TSSA general secretary, said: “We hope that this result will show Boris Johnson just how angry our members are at his plans to try and rush the start of the Night Tube without any detailed agreement on manning levels. 

“Under plans we have been shown so far, some Zone 3 stations will be left with just one staff member on duty in the middle of the night. That is no way to run a service which prides itself on safety and security.”

Unite, which represents about 250 electrical and maintenance technicians, linesmen and signallers, voted by 70% for strike action and 84% for industrial action short of a strike in the dispute which also includes other issues such as a decent pay rise, jobs and safety. The turnout was 82%. 

Unite regional officer Hugh Roberts said: “Unite members working on the Tube have voted robustly in favour of strike action and there is a strong impetus for London Underground management to reach an equitable settlement through talks at Acas.” 

These results come after Aslef members voted 97% in favour of industrial action on a turnout of 81%. 

Mic Cash, RMT general secretary, said: “The industrial relations situation on the tube has sunk to an almost unprecedented low with all four unions united and balloting for action over pay and working arrangements due to be ushered in under the guise of the Mayor’s “Night Tube” vanity project in just 10 weeks’ time. 

“It is simply outrageous that management, in a mad dash to bulldoze through the night running stunt, have smashed apart long-term agreements and have resorted to trying to bully staff into accepting roster changes at a local level and the message from RMT and our sister unions is clear – we are not having it.” 

However, despite the ballot results, London Underground stated that Londoners and businesses overwhelmingly back the Night Tube. 

Steve Griffiths, London Underground’s chief operating officer, said: “Most of our staff will not be affected by the new services at all because it affects only five of 11 lines. Some staff will actually work fewer nights than they do now because we have hired 137 more train operators specifically for the Night Tube. 

“The train staff who will be affected are being asked to work around an additional seven nights each year on average, with no increase in their total current hours. No-one is being asked to work more hours. 

“In return, we are offering a realistic pay increase this year and next, as well as an additional payment for Night Tube working.” 

Griffiths added that London Underground is ready to negotiate. More talks at Acas are due tomorrow, the unions have said. 

Tell us what you think – have your say below or email opinion@railtechnologymagazine.com

Comments

Neil Palmer   01/07/2015 at 02:09

If Steve Griffith's comments are correct, especially the part about hiring 137 new members for ASLEF to extort union dues from, this sounds like yet another attempted cash grab/blackmail attempt by the unions. Is this simply more pure unadulterated greed by those who think they are worth more to society than doctors and nurses?

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