Two more Tube strikes to take place this month
PUBLISHED: 14:33 11 August 2015 | UPDATED: 15:44 05 February 2016
PA Wire/Press Association Images
London Underground workers are to stage two 24 hour strikes this month in the dispute over all-night Tube services, it has been announced.
The Rail, Maritime and Transport union said its members will walk out for 24 hours from 9pm on August 25 and again from 9pm on the 27th.
Two strikes have already been held in the past month over plans to start new night Tube services from September 12.
Unions are unhappy over pay and shift arrangements for the new services, which are due to be launched at weekends.
RMT general secretary Mick Cash said: “Our members the length and breadth of London Underground have made it clear that they are determined to protect their work/life balance and not fall into a trap where they will be forced to wreck their home lives in order to comply with the ‘rosters from hell’ which have been drawn up to plug the staffing gaps in the night Tube plans.
“Staff are angry that their grievances are being ignored and dismissed by both the Mayor and his officials and that there has been no substantial move as of today from London Underground to make progress towards a negotiated settlement.
“That is why we have no option but to strike again. It is ridiculous that the job cuts programme for fleet, engineering and station staff is also still being bulldozed through against this background.
“The night Tube plan has been botched from the off. The basics haven’t been done and those who will pay for this shambles will not only be our members but the London daily travelling public who cough up a fortune and who will find their safety and the reliability of the service compromised from September 12 onwards. Running Tube services with fatigued and burnt-out staff is a recipe for disaster.”
The drivers’ union Aslef is not expected to make any announcement about strikes.
Its officials are set to resume talks with LU managers tomorrow (Wednesday), under the chairmanship of the conciliation service Acas.
The TSSA union announced that its LU members will also be striking for 24 hours, from 6.30pm on the same evenings.
General secretary Manuel Cortes said: “It is now time for the mayor to start getting his hands dirty and get down to serious direct negotiations to avoid a week of disruption on the Tube. He should stop playing Pontius Pilate.
“He will bear a heavy responsibility if the 48-hour stoppage goes ahead while he washes his hands of his crucial role as the democratic leader of London.
“He will blame the rail unions for the disruption but the travelling public will be asking why he has allowed these talks to drag on for six months whilst he refused to meet the union leaders themselves.
“Our members will not accept top down change being imposed on them when it comes to changes in their work-life balance.
“We accept the night Tube, but only with detailed agreement on how it will operate safely for both passengers and staff.”
Steve Griffiths, LU’s chief operating officer, called on unions to engage in “calm and realistic” talks.
He accused the RMT of making further demands for “unaffordable” pay rises and hiring more staff, as well as reversing the modernisation of customer services in Tube stations.
“They expect our customers to pick up a bill running into hundreds of millions of pounds for this through higher fares or by forcing us to cut back investment to improve Tube services in a rapidly growing city. No responsible management can give in to such demands.”
Mr Griffiths said LU had put forward a “very fair” revised offer, guaranteeing staff the same number of weekends off as they have today.
A spokesperson for Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: “The union leadership appear hell bent on strike action and the Mayor is dismayed at their continued failure to put what is a fair, sensible and generous offer on the table to their members.
“Tube workers are being offered an above inflation pay rise, cash bonuses and a commitment that no one will be asked to work more hours than they do today. The mayor continues to call for the unions to present that offer to their memberships and put an end to the completely unnecessary threat of industrial action.”