Drivers on London Underground’s Night Tube are to stage a series of strikes from later this month. The industrial action is planned already even though the service is only due to resume in part from November 27 onwards.
The action comes amid a dispute over staffing and “impossible and unreasonable demands” on workers, the RMT union said. The current plans for the reopening will “wreck work-life balance by bulldozing through additional night and weekend working.”
Mayor Sadiq Khan announced the reopening of the service with the Central and Victoria lines being first back up and running. The Night Tube has been suspended since March 2020 due to the pandemic and said resuming it was important to the capital’s nighttime economy recovery. He also added that the return of the service will help people feel more confident travelling home at night, especially women and girls. But the Night Tube strike will put some stops in the service before it fully gets going again.
The RMT union’s general secretary Mick Lynch said: “no one has worked harder to ensure a safe environment for women on London Underground than RMT. While Tube bosses have axed staff and left stations routinely understaffed, with all of the obvious risks, we have campaigned relentlessly for the front line, physical presence of visible staff on stations and platforms. We are now being repaid by the imposition of working arrangements that would wreck the work-life balance of our members.”
“All of this was avoidable if the Tube management hadn’t axed dedicated Night Tube staff and perfectly workable arrangements in order to cut staffing numbers and costs. It’s that action that has led us to make today’s announcement. RMT supports the reintroduction of the Night Tube but we know full well that prior to its suspension during the pandemic it was a magnet for violent, abusive and anti-social behaviour.”
“The Mayor and his officials cannot ignore that fact and the hard reality that it’s RMT members who made it a success in the first place. They now feel totally betrayed. We warned months ago that slashing two hundred Night Tube Train Driver positions would create a staffing nightmare and LU need to start facing up to that reality. The union remains available for talks.”
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