3 Aug 2015

Tube strike: unions confirm new 24-hour walkout

Unions will go ahead with a 24-hour strike on London Underground stations from Wednesday evening in a row over the introduction of 24-hour train services.

The drivers’ union Aslef confirmed the strike will run from 9.30pm on Wednesday 5 August until 9.30pm on Thursday 6 August. The move is set to cause a fresh wave of travel chaos for commuters and tourists.

Aslef accused London Underground of being “completely inflexible” on the terms and conditions for the proposed 24-hour Night Tube service which is due to start on 12 September.

The Night Tube was a gimmick when Boris Johnson announced it and it remains a gimmick today. Manuel Cortes, leader of the TSSA rail union

The union said it had “no other choice” but to press ahead with this week’s walkout and suggested that the planned launch of the night service should be postponed until further negotiations could be held.

Aslef officer Finn Brennan said: “This leaves us with no other choice than to go ahead with strike action from 9.30pm on Wednesday.

“We genuinely regret the disruption this will cause, but the blame for this must rest with the pig-headed determination of the mayor to insist on a 12 September launch of Night Tube instead of allowing more time for a negotiated settlement to be reached.”

London Underground’s managing director Nick Brown said he was “hugely disappointed” that the unions had rejected the latest offer, which he considered “very fair”.

He insisted rosters for 12 September were “ready to go”, adding that the offer remained on the table. “The unions’ reasons for rejection are pretty thin,” he added.

‘Reshaped’ deal

Unions today rejected a deal put forward by London Underground that had been “reshaped” in response to concerns about the work-life balance of the staff who will operate the new service.

The changed offer included an extra £200 per Night Tube shift for drivers while the new service is introduced and a £500 bonus for station staff by next February. In addition, after a short transition period drivers will have the choice whether to work nights and everyone will be entitled to two days off in seven.

Unite, whose members include engineers and power staff, said the proposed deal did not go far enough, especially on the flexibility of working the new service.

Transport for London has urged people to complete their journeys before the strike begins on Wednesday evening, and has warned that tube services between 4.30pm and 6.30pm are expected to be “exceptionally busy”.

Extra bus and river services will run, and all other public transport services and the roads will be significantly busier than usual. Staff on the bus network, DLR, London Overground, tram and TfL Rail services will not be on strike.

This is the latest round of underground strikes against the introduction of the 24-hour tube service. Last month four trade unions staged a walk-out over pay and other terms , bringing London to a near travel standstill.