Drivers from the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union who work on the Victoria, Central, Northern, Piccadilly and Jubilee lines have been ordered not to report to work from 4.30 a.m. to protest a reorganization unpopular rotations to accommodate the return of the night tube.
Transport for London (TfL) said the class action would result in “little or no service in some places”, with the Waterloo and City line – which employs central line drivers – also likely to be affected.
Another one-day walkout is currently scheduled for Saturday, December 18 if no agreement is reached between the two parties.
The Night Tube is set to restart on Saturday night for the first time since it was suspended at the start of the coronavirus pandemic last spring, but only on the Victoria and Central lines, whose drivers are also now ordered not to work from 8:30 p.m. Saturday until 4:30 am Sunday.
TfL still expects to operate a service but admits there may be fewer trains than expected, according to The evening standard.
Other night strikes from 8:30 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. are currently scheduled for December 3, December 4, December 10, December 11 and December 17.
First introduced in August 2016, the Night Tube was opened to allow weekend revelers and evening workers to get home safely via the metro, rather than having to linger in the streets. streets of the capital after dark while waiting for taxis and buses.
While the announcement was widely welcomed by the public and businesses across the West End, RMT members are unhappy with TfL’s decision in May to permanently merge the Night Tube workforce of around 200. drivers, many of whom are part-time, with the Underground Day Staff, meaning all drivers would be required to work four weekend shifts per year.
Another union, the Associated Society of Locomotive Engineers and Firemen (ASLEF), agreed to the change, but RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said the new working arrangements “would jeopardize the work-life balance of our people. members “.
“This strike is about the dismantling of popular and family-friendly agreements that contributed to the success of the original Night Tube,” Lynch said.
“Instead, the company wants to cut costs and lump all drivers into a pool where they can be kicked from one pillar to another at the request of management.
“We have made every effort in ACAS [Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service] and direct talks from the start to resolve this dispute, but it’s clear London Underground bosses are driven only by the bottom line and have no stake in the welfare of their staff or passenger service.
Mr Lynch previously warned that the current setup risked leaving staff “toasted and exposed to intolerable pressure,” describing the pre-pandemic night tube as “a magnet for violent, abusive and anti-social behavior” where passenger antics Drunk people were placed undesirable additional pressure on the employees of Underground.
Nick Dent, London Underground Customer Operations Manager, said: “The strike action planned by the RMT is unnecessary and will threaten London’s recovery from the pandemic, despite no job losses and more flexibility and support. job security for drivers.
“While all other unions have accepted these changes and our staff have been enjoying the benefits of the changes since August, we are ready to work with RMT and review the changes after the return of Night Tube services. This review can only be successful if the RMT agrees to meet with us for talks and withdraws its proposed action so that we can all see how these changes will work in practice.
“If the RMT refuses to engage with us and executes its unnecessary action, which is timed to disrupt our clients looking to enjoy London during the holiday season as much as possible, Londoners are advised to check before traveling the days planned strike. “
Mr Khan also opposed the walkout, who said: ‘The unnecessary strike threatened by RMT would delay many Londoners having another option to get home safely at night and hold back our city at a time when our sectors culture and hospitality have been devastated by the pandemic.
Both RMT and TfL have said they “remain open to talks” and that there is still a chance that a last resort agreement can be reached.
TfL offers advice and additional information to commuters likely to be inconvenienced by the upheavals of Friday on its website.
In another potential headache for the London Underground, ASLEF also warned it could strike in the future if changes to TfL’s pension plan affecting its members are forced, Tube organizer Finn Brennan warning of “hard and sustained industrial action” if this were to happen.
Former Trade Union Congress Secretary-General and current ACAS President Sir Brendan Barber has been appointed to lead a “truly independent” review of TfL pensions and TfL’s commissioner Andy Byford has stressed that ‘there was “no predetermined outcome”.