Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport (RMT) union will stage a number of 24-hour walkout protests against the plans to scrap the pay grade of Night Tube drivers. Strikes will start tomorrow at noon and will continue throughout the week. The first strike is set to run from tomorrow noon until 11.59am on Wednesday. The second planned strike will take place between 12pm on Thursday and 11.59am on Friday.
Two further strikes are expected to take place on August 24 and 26.
Transport for London (TfL) has advised commuters to finish their journeys by 1pm tomorrow as the network is expected to suffer from “severe disruption”.
TfL said: “All Tube lines would run a significantly reduced service at some times and would not run at others.”
The RMT has claimed that the change in pay grade will “threaten the loss of 200 jobs and destroy the work-life balance of 3,000 Tube drivers”.
The change that is set to be implemented will mean that all Tube drivers will be expected to work a combination of normal and night shifts.
Prior to that, there were separate positions for night tube drivers.
The union has said that this “abolishes the part time jobs of workers – mainly women – who rely on the flexibility and security they offer while they juggle other commitments”.
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) is hosting talks between TfL and the RMT today in a last-minute attempt to come to an agreement.
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However, the TfL has insisted that the changes are being made in order to preserve a regular Tube service, and that it has consulted with trade unions over the changes for a number of months.
On top of that, the TfL claimed that all Night Tube drivers have been offered the opportunity to join the full-time driver pool on a permanent basis, with Night Tube duties spread across all drivers.
The organization added that a number of drivers have switched between full-time and part-time positions to help with their work-life balance.
The TfL also stated that “No driver has lost their job as a result of these changes, or will do, nor has any driver been forced to take duties that they do not want to do”.
Richard Jones, head of network operations for London Underground, said: “The changes to how we roster our drivers to continue to provide a regular Tube service and create more flexibility for our staff have not resulted in any job losses.
“Our drivers have been vital in keeping the Tube running during the pandemic, ensuring that key workers could move around the city during the lockdowns and helping fuel London’s recovery in more recent weeks.”
He added: “This new arrangement means that all drivers have been given the opportunity for full-time work and long-term job certainty, while Londoners can continue to rely on the regularity of Tube services.
“These changes will allow us to operate both day-to-day Tube services and Night Tube more efficiently.”
Mr Jones continued: “It is extremely disappointing that the RMT has decided to announce strike action.
“I urge them to withdraw this action and to return to discussions with us to avoid this unnecessary disruption to Londoners going about their daily lives.”