Posted 25th January 2016 | 4 Comments

Underground strike called off

A STRIKE which would have affected London Underground services for 24 hours from Tuesday evening has been called off by the RMT, so that the latest offer from Transport for London can be considered.

The unions are in dispute over plans for 'Night Tube' services which should have started last September, and would have provided all-night services on Friday and Saturday nights on most of the deep tube lines, with the exceptions of the Bakerloo and Waterloo & City.

Aslef, TSSA and Unite had already suspended action by their members to consider the current state of play in their negotiations with TfL, but the RMT warned that more strikes were still currently set to go ahead on 15 and 17 February.

General secretary Mick Cash said:  "The union makes it clear that we remain in dispute and the strike action scheduled for February remains on. The union is finalising the details for the continuation of that industrial campaign and the on-going fight over the threat to jobs, services and safety."

Reader Comments:

Views expressed in submitted comments are that of the author, and not necessarily shared by Railnews.

  • Grant Wray, London

    "I don't think they'd like it if their business was impacted on by something like this."

    But it is. The impact of 24 hour working on their members is the very raison d'Ítre for the dispute.

    Put yourself in the role of a station assistant at a central London station as it is currently - get up at 3am in the early hours of Monday for the first of 7 consecutive shifts starting at 5:30am in the centre of London, and ending at 1:30pm. You live in the suburbs, about 45 minutes to an hour's drive away from your place of work. The first mainline train arrives at your local station at 4am, so you get a taxi there, then have to wait 50 minutes before your shift starts and you can open the station. You'd live closer so you could walk or cycle, but earning just £19,000 a year, rising to £24,000 maximum after you've trained and certified on all roles at your grade, isn't going to get you a mortgage in Kensington or Westminster, and as for renting in that area... Then there's the kids. Your partner has to get them up for school on those days when you are at work. OK, after 8 hours working, when you've been up for 10.5 hours, you can be in a position to pick them up from school, give them their tea, then go to bed at 7 when your other half gets home. But at least you get 4 days off, a long weekend, before you are back on a series of 7 night shifts, starting at 16:30 and finishing at 01:30 after the last mainline train has left, so it's an hour and a half's night bus.
    These changes to your working conditions are being pushed through without consultation, or at least with a twisted consultation consisting of loaded questions e.g. "Do you think your customers would be happier with (A) more trains or (B) fewer trains?"

    Then there's the economics of it all. How can extending the operating hours, which involves a similar cost per hour to run, recoup the cost when the daytime service doesn't even manage that? Are these 24 hour businesses going to pay enhanced rates to subsidise the transport? Unlikely. I see the night tube as an expensive white elephant. An unrealistic vanity project which is being used to push through staffing reforms and force a case for anti-union legislation by walking all over long standing workforce agreements thus angering the unions into strike action.

    All I see in the public comment about strikes is the politics of envy and ignorance. A race to the bottom where there are no winners.

  • James palma, London

    Isn't it possible for a collective number of people to sue the unions for loss of pay and related damages? If not it should be!
    [Interesting idea. The contract of carriage entered into by a passenger is with the operator -- in this case London Underground Ltd or possibly Transport for London. Without checking, I would expect it to include 'escape clauses' covering industrial disputes and other disruptions beyond the operator's control. Passengers have no contract with the staff nor their unions, so any claim based on contract may not get very far. Beyond that we are in deep waters. I will suggest this topic to our 'tame' railway lawyer for our March edition, when his column is next due to appear.--Editor.]

  • Charlie , Wuhan

    24 hours public transport service is absolutely needed for a such well known city in world. Strike is just a good way of asking for more pay!

  • Chris Green, Huddersfield

    These strikes are nothing short of preposterous! Don't they EVER think of how much the disruption impacts on the working people's daily business? I don't think they'd like it if their business was impacted on by something like this.