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Aslef drivers to stage 24-hour Tube strike in October

Tube drivers who are members of Aslef will stage a 24-hour walkout during October as part of a dispute with London Underground over working conditions.

From the 53.1% turnout, 88.4% of members voted for a strike whilst 93.5% said they were in favour of industrial action short of a strike.

The strike will take place on Thursday 5 October, and is in protest of LU “failing to improve work life balance” for drivers working on Night Tube.

Aslef, along with fellow union RMT, called strikes on Night Tube earlier this year over a similar issue – although this was swiftly called off after TfL agreed to their terms.

But if it goes ahead, this strike is likely to cause havoc for commuters in London, who are already having to deal with industrial action on Southern from both Aslef and the RMT, over a separate issue.

“Aslef members have voted by an 88% margin to take strike action in our dispute over the failure of LU to deliver on the commitments they made to improve work life balance as part of the 2015 pay settlement,” said Finn Brennan, Aslef’s organiser on LU.  

“As part of the settlement of the dispute over the introduction of Night Tube, LU agreed to introduce a mechanism to allow drivers to reduce the number of shifts they work, on a pro-rata basis, and ‘new ways of working’ to reduce the percentage of weekend shifts worked by July this year. They have repeatedly refused to make any detailed proposals to do so.”

Brennan added that for more than 18 months management have “prevaricated, stalled and delayed”, leading to deadlines being missed and promises broken while Aslef’s detailed proposals to resolve the issues were ignored.  

“Our members’ patience has finally been exhausted and our executive committee has announced strike action. As always, we are ready to meet at any time to try to find a solution, but it is long past time that LU management started to act to resolve this long running dispute,” he concluded.

Nigel Holness, LU’s director of network operations, stated that the organisation is committed to “ensuring that our employees are able to maintain a good balance between their work and personal lives, and we have been working closely with the unions to explore new ways to achieve this”.

“I encourage Aslef to continue working with us constructively rather than moving towards unnecessary strike action,” he said.

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Neil Palmer   18/09/2017 at 18:31

Am I mistaken here, or were new drivers not hired SPECIFICALLY for the Night Tube? If so it seems beyond belief that they are now planning on striking "to improve work life balance” because they are working too many night shifts.

Jimbo   19/09/2017 at 12:11

Aslef drivers are complaining about working too many weekend and/or night shifts, so instead of refusing to work just those shifts, they strike during a weekday, deliberately causing disruption. Presumably, the timing will also be starting sometime in the middle of Thursday 5th, so as to cause disruption on Friday 6th as well. Note that the vote was higher for industrial action short of a strike, but that has been ignored because the rail unions really just want to show how powerful they are. Pathetic!

Andrew Gwilt   20/09/2017 at 01:11

As commuters will always experience constant commute hell when the strikes are on.

Duncan Wilson   20/09/2017 at 16:33

This is why the Tube and all other Metro Systems need to be fully automatic. The only staff should be security personnel. It also give credence to my belief that rail services in general are an essential service to our nation and therefore strikes on railways should be banned altogether.

Paul K   20/09/2017 at 17:53

Am I correct in saying that a number of tube lines, such as the Victoria, have the requisite equipment fitted for driverless operation? This would be an ideal opportunity to demonstrate this technology working, whether passengers are carried on the day or not.

Neil Palmer   20/09/2017 at 18:01

Paul - maybe not so great an idea. Demonstrate to the RMT & ASLEF that in the future their members won't be needed, so encouraging them to cause more strike trouble now. ;-)

Paul K   20/09/2017 at 18:22

Neil, I am sure that the RMT & ASLEF are already aware of this technology. I was thinking that it would be a good opportunity to demonstrate this technology to the general public and commuters alike.

Mark Hare   25/09/2017 at 15:41

Personally I don't believe that passengers want to travel on a tube train that has no driver, only 'security personnel' There is no substitute for an experienced, professional safety-critical driver at the front of a train especially during times of disruption and with the UK's terror threat currently 'severe', a driver has never been more necessary. As I understand it, this particular dispute surrounds the amount of shifts Night Tube drivers are expected to work which are far in excess of what was agreed when the service was originally proposed and implemented, leading to increased fatigue of drivers and the associated risks that brings, so on this occasion their grievance would seem to be justified.

Sam   27/09/2017 at 16:53

Mr Palmer, you are wrong that is not what is happening at all. Full time drivers are striking after TFL breaking their promises on how certain things, including but not limited to night tube and its effects on their shift patterns, are affecting it. Easy way to tell - if night tube drivers were striking, why would they strike on days that the night tube did not run? And Paul K - it is not legal by UK law to operate trains without a driver. That will not change in a week. And if you or Mr Wilson had any idea just how potentially dangerous a train could be to everyone aboard without a competent controller, or just how easily you could be stuck for a very long time on a train or in a tunnel section without someone who knows how to properly operate a train, you would not be so keen on so called 'driverless' trains.

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