RMT members to stage strikes over grade of night Tube drivers

·2-min read

Members of the Rail, Maritime and Transport union are set to stage a series of strikes next month in a row over a night Tube driver’s grade.

The union said that the London Underground plans to abolish the grade of night Tube driver, threatening the loss of 200 jobs and affecting the work-life balance of thousands of staff.

Now staff have planned to walk out for 24 hours from 12 noon on August 3, 5, 24 and 26.

RMT general secretary Mick Lynch said: “London Underground’s proposals to rip up an agreement that protects 3,000 Tube drivers’ work life balance has caused uproar amongst drivers.

“This breach of trust by an out-of-touch management abolishes the part-time jobs of workers, mainly women, who want them,” he added.

Strike: union members are to vote on whether to take industrial action
Strike: union members are to vote on whether to take industrial action

Mr Lynch said that it was a blatant attempt to use the pandemic to start bulldozing through a “savage” programme of cuts.

He added that it was the Tube drivers who helped keep the service running throughout the virus crisis.

Nick Dent, director of customer 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 will not result in any job losses.

“Part-time drivers have been playing a vital role in keeping the Tube running during the pandemic and giving them the option to become part of the wider driver workforce means that Londoners can continue to have certainty that a near-normal service will continue, while also giving drivers the opportunity for full-time work and long-term job certainty,” he added.

He said that they have listened to the concerns of unions and have engaged with them for “some time” on the changes.

But while he and his team have been able to reach agreement with most trades unions, it has not been possible so far with the RMT, he said.

Mr Dent added: “An agreement with all of our unions would be preferable, but it is vital that we make these changes so that we can continue to operate the level of service that London needs as the city continues to recover from the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are disappointed that the RMT has chosen to announce strike dates rather than continue to discuss how these changes can benefit its members, and I urge them to continue talking to us rather than disrupting Londoners during a pivotal time in the capital’s recovery from the pandemic.”

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