Imposed arrangements means more fatigue, more weekend working and threatens jobs
by Socialist Party members in RMT
London Underground workers in the RMT union walked out across London on several tube lines on 26-27 November. Socialist Party members joined them on picket lines in a solid weekend of strike action against the abolition of the night tube train operator grade.
In 2015, the RMT took industrial action to defend the right to a work-life balance and stop the implementation of night tube on existing rosters. RMT succeeded and a separate grade was introduced of night tube drivers to cover these weekend rosters.
Move on six years and, under the auspices of a world pandemic, coupled with Tory austerity, London Underground has fired the first shots in what will be a protracted battle to save jobs and pensions by consolidating night tube duties into normal rosters.
Working these compulsory night shifts will mean sleeping the next day to recover. That means less time with family, less time to be productive, never mind the detrimental effect on health that these mixed shifts will have. This is simply an exercise to save money at the cost of a grade and nearly 200 jobs.
The first round of strike action took place on the Central, Victoria, Northern, Piccadilly and Jubilee lines, and are set to continue with all train operator and instructor operators working on the Central and Victoria Lines instructed not to book on any duty commencing between 8.30pm and 4.29am on the following dates: 3-4 December, 4-5 December, 10-11 December, 11-12 December and 17-18 December.
Furthermore, all train operators and instructor operators working on night tube lines are also instructed not to book on for any duty commencing from 4.30am on 18 December to 4.29am on 19 December.
RMT to strike in London night-tube dispute
25TH NOVEMBER 2021
by Socialist Party members in the RMT
The RMT transport workers’ union has announced strike action on the tube in London over the imposition of “impossible and unreasonable demands on staff” ahead of the reopening of ‘night tube’.
The union says that London Underground refused point blank to consider the issues at the heart of the dispute, and that it has become clear the drive from tube bosses is all about cutting costs, regardless of the impact on staff and the services they operate.
As a result, all train operator and instructor operators working on night-tube lines (Central, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria) have been instructed not to book on for any duty commencing between 4.30am on Friday 26 November and 4:29am on Saturday 27 November.
Further, all train operator and instructor operators working on the Central and Victoria lines are instructed not to book on for any duty commencing between 8.30pm and 4.29am on 27-28 November, 3-4 December, 4-5 December, 10-11 December, 11-12 December and 17-18 December.
All train operator and instructor operators working on night-tube lines (Central, Jubilee, Northern, Piccadilly and Victoria) are also instructed not to book on for any duty commencing from 4.30am on 18 December to 4.29am on 19 December.
On Transport for London (TfL) all tube workers are facing a concerted drive to attack their pensions and conditions. After 30 years of shift work a tube worker can expect to retire on less than half their salary. Typically, this means a pension of around £16,000.
TfL is also demanding more flexible working. As if working shifts around the clock over a seven-day working week isn’t enough! Tube bosses want to own staff 24/7. They want to demand changes to shift times and rest days whenever they demand it.
Therefore the RMT has also agreed to conduct a ballot of all TfL and London Underground members over pensions, jobs and working practices (so called framework agreements). The RMT ballots and strike action should act as a beacon to others. The trade union movement must refuse to allow the bosses to use Covid to force down wages, place unreasonable demands on workers and demand a casualised workforce.
To make donations to the RMT night-tube strike hardship fund:
- Account name: Terence O’Neill
- Sort code: 60-83-71
- Account number: 89481380
- Or send cheques to RMT, Unity House, 39 Chalton St, London NW1 1JD